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sweep picking EXPLAINED

 

The technique of sweep picking is similar to the way a violinist will sustain a note with the bow. The bow is moved in both directions at a consistent speed and upon reversing directions, is done so smoothly that the note never wavers.

Like the violinist, a guitarist "sweep" picks each string in a smooth downward and upward motion. As the down or up motion progresses with the right hand, the left hand fingers the proper notes at the proper time on the proper string.

Sweep Picking is also referred to as Speed Picking and Economy Picking.

The Sweeping Technique Is The Same For All Of The Arpeggios In This IGC
(except one)

Again, we'll use the first arpeggio presented in this clinic as an example.

Here's the left hand pattern...

...And here's the right hand sweeping motion...

String

Sweep Direction

Notes Being Played

6th

Down

E

5th

Down

G#

4th

Down

B

3rd

Down

E

2nd

Down

G#

1st

Down

B

1st

Up

E pull-off to B and continue up. Keep the pull-off in time. Your right hand will need to pause while you execute the pull-off.

2nd

Up

G#

3rd

Up

E

4th

Up

B

5th

Up

G#

6th

Down

E (Beginning of another sweep.) You'll notice that I sometimes end my sweep with an upstroke. It's just personal preference.

Hold Your Pick Firmly

Don't let it "topple" over the strings. As you'll see in the videos, I hold my pick with the point sticking straight out from my thumb and index finger.

Notice too, that I also attack the strings with my pick at an angle. This allows me to dig into the strings with enough force to get a good sound but not get "stuck" or "bogged down" in between them.

Support Your Arm With The Guitar Body

This will help stabilize your hand as you execute the sweeps. You'll also notice in some of the videos, that I muffle the strings with my right hand the same way you would muffle a heavy metal rhythm. This is just to get you thinking about other techniques that can be combined with sweep picking.

Timing Is Everything!

I'm playing to a "click" track in all of the examples for a reason. You must, must MUST learn to play these arpeggios in time! Force yourself to practice with a metronome. All of the arpeggios in this clinic are played as triplets or sextuplets.

 

 

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