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Sweep Picking

by Veqq

18 May 2008
Views: 12420

Sweeping is used primarily for play Arpeggios. (There is an Arpeggio tool, for making Arpeggios, on this very website.)

It is basically an extension of Economy picking, you alternate pick but when changing strings you pick in the direction of that string, so if you were to play:


(Which is a C Major Arpeggio, C E G are the notes.)

You would pick down until you get to the E (12th on the E string). You would pick up until you get to the 15th fret on the A string (c). However, do not pick individual strokes, do it as if strumming a chord, but very slowly, and right before you play a note, remove you finger from the one playing before it. I would suggest playing everything as 16th notes at about 50 bpm, if you can manage to do it slower then do it! Also, once you are able to synchronize your picking and fingering you will be able to make extreme jumps in speed. When I fir st started trying this, I was under 60bpm for a few months, and then when I was able to pass that cleanly I was able to progress 20-30 bpm a day, until I stopped trying to speed it up at 220. Yes, it will be boring to do it that slowly, but if you want to be good, do it!

Here is the basic practice routine I would suggest:


This is a Basic A minor sweep. Once you can do this fairly well progress to this:


This is basically the same thing, except you are tapping the A on the string (17th fret). Almost every time you hear someone sweep they will do this. Kai Hansen of Gamma Ray and the guy from Necrophagist often add multiple notes on the tap, for example:


(This also happens to be an expanded form of the A minor which I just showed you.)
But don't start trying to do this, yet. Instead begin to play the first Arpeggio I showed you:


After you can play this nicely (at 50ish Bpm) I would suggest you start making some Arpeggio progressions like:


Just make some simple thing like this, so you won't get board, and sweep! The more you do it (and the slower) the better you will get. And use a metronome, the first 3 years of playing I never used one... I could play all this awesome stuff, but if I were to just play a simple riff a few times in a row, I would get faster and faster or slower. Now, you don't want to do this. Although, when first doing simple things without tapping notes you can do it without a metronome, well watching T.V. or whatever. But if tapping, use a metronome or else you will speed your taps up big time compared to the sweeping, and your not trying to tap now are you?


Sweep Picking

by Guitarslinger124

I\'m pretty bad at sweeping and could use some tips on how to improve my sweeps...



Correction your A Minor sweep is actually an F Maj 7 sweep and atleast in my experience I wouldn't do a multiple tap I'd use my pinky or ring finger to hammer on the 15th fret then tap on the 17th and so on.


well, found what I needed.
Thanks man, I'll try and make sense of this if I can.
But really, this may very well help me.


How do you know when your picking and fingering is synchronized? is it when you can pick and lift your finger at the same time and it makes a banjo-like guitar sound?


In order to synchronize it so multiple notes don't ring out at once, I look at the strings and make sure only 1 ever vibrates.

You could also throw on allot of distortion so that playing any 2 notes at once will sound like utter crap. And thus you can hear if you make a mistake.

And when practicing slowly, I like to play it slightly staccato, so for example, I'm playing 16th at like 50bpm. But the length of those is a dotted 32nd.

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