Starting Speed Playing II

author: CPDmusic date: 09/22/2010 category: for beginners
rating: 7.8 / votes: 5 
Intro: Hello, and welcome to day five of CPDmusic's lesson marathon. Yesterday we started this series, entitled Starting Speed Playing, and today will be part 2 of 4. I would just like to say that these lessons are for people who have minimal to no experience in speed playing, it's almost a beginners speed playing series. Also, this lesson will be rather short, so I apologize if that is a disappointment. Anyway, enjoy! Sweep Picking: As you may remember, yesterday we focused on the technique of alternate picking. Well, today we are going to look at another technique, that being sweep picking. While alternate picking was a technique used to play multiple notes on one strings, sweep picking is a technique used to play one note on multiple strings at a fast speed. So, lets get learning! How to: Sweep picking is rather difficult to explain verbally, or I guess in this case, in the form of text. Basically, what you would do is pick the first note, and then just keep the downward or upward motion (depends on which direction your sweeping), hitting all the strings you need to. It's like how you would arpeggiate a chord, by just playing each individual note in the chord slowly. The only difference is when sweep picking, you do not want to let any notes ring. The easiest way to do this is to get your hand ready, but not finger the note you want to hit until you are just about to hit it, while taking your finger off of the previous notes fret. This may seem difficult at first, but in the long run, it makes sweep picking easier. Also, as I said, it's hard to explain, so refer to the below video for some help (video not made by me; used with authors permission): Sweeping Basic Arpeggios: The best way to start sweep picking is to start off with patterns you already know. For example, sweep picking arpeggios is a good start. Try sweep picking this A major arpeggio:
     D  D  D    
E||-----------||
B||-----------||
G||-----------||
D||--------2--||
A||-----4-----||
E||--5--------||
Try sweep picking this arpeggio. Notice how every note is a down stroke. This is because you are sweeping downward, from lowest to highest. If you were going from highest to lowest, it would be all up strokes, like this:
     U  U  U    
E||-----------||
B||-----------||
G||-----------||
D||--2--------||
A||-----4-----||
E||--------5--||
Be sure that you can sweep this arpeggio going both up and down. You should be able to play this arpeggio at a moderately fast speed before moving on to the next exercise, somewhere around even sixteenth at 140 to 160 beats per minute. Also, try playing that arpeggio on different strings, so that you get a feel for sweeping on the thinner, more tense strings. Sweeping Up and Down: Another important aspect of sweep picking is being able to sweep up and down the strings. Here is the A major arpeggio again, but this time, it repeats going up and down. Pay extra attention to the picking direction indicators, and remember to sweep downwards when going up the strings, and upwards when going down the strings.
     D  D  D  U  U  D  D  U    
E||--------------------------||
B||--------------------------||
G||--------------------------||
D||--------2-----------2----||
A||-----4-----4-----4-----4--||
E||--5-----------5-----------||
This exercise is a bit more challenging then the last, so you should probably play it slower. Try to achieve of speed of at least 100 to 120 beats per minute while playing even sixteenth notes. Moving Your Sweeps: A third important aspect of sweep picking is adding more motion to your sweeps. One way to do that is to simply change where you fret the sweep. Try playing this chromatic sweeping pattern:
     D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D    
E||-----------------------------------------------||
B||-----------------------------------------------||
G||-----------------------------------------------||
D||--------2--------3--------4--------5--------6--||
A||-----4--------5--------6--------7--------8-----||
E||--5--------6--------7--------8--------9--------||
Also, make sure you can play the pattern backwards as well, like this:
     U  U  U  U  U  U  U  U  U  U  U  U  U  U  U    
E||-----------------------------------------------||
B||-----------------------------------------------||
G||-----------------------------------------------||
D||--6--------5--------4--------3--------2--------||
A||-----8--------7--------6--------5--------4-----||
E||--------9--------8--------7--------6--------5--||
Being able to move you sweeps chromatically is fairly important when it comes to speed playing. Try playing this in even sixteenth notes at around 120 to 140 BPM. Once you have that down, move on to the next set of exercises. Now, moving you sweeps chromatically is important, but what's way more important is being able to move you sweeps up and down the strings. Try starting with this:
     D  D  D  D  D  D    
E||--------------------||
B||--------------------||
G||-----------------2--||
D||--------2-----4-----||
A||-----4-----5--------||
E||--5-----------------||
Pretty easy, right? Try playing this basic pattern in different positions, and on different strings, trying to be as fluent as possible. Once you feel comfortable with that, try playing it up every set of strings:
     D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D    
E||-----------------------------------3--||
B||--------------------------3-----5-----||
G||-----------------2-----4-----5--------||
D||--------2-----4-----5-----------------||
A||-----4-----5--------------------------||
E||--5-----------------------------------||
As I said last lesson, don't feel limited by what's shown above. Feel free to play that exercise in any position you want. Just try to be as fluent as possible with your sweeps, reducing the pause between each sweep until it is no longer there. Try playing this exercise in even sixteenth notes at around 100 to 120 BPM. Also, you should be able to play it backwards as well, like so:
     U  U  U  U  U  U  U  U  U  U  U  U    
E||--3-----------------------------------||
B||-----5-----3--------------------------||
G||--------5-----4-----2-----------------||
D||-----------------5-----4-----2--------||
A||--------------------------5-----4-----||
E||-----------------------------------5--||
Once you have all of the above sweep picking techniques down, you're well on your way. Extending Your Sweeping: Encase you ever get beyond the above sweeping exercises, here are some ideas to extend those exercises. Once of the easiest ways to extend your sweeping is to use other arpeggios in your sweeping. For example, try these seventh arpeggios:
     D  D  D  D     D  D  D  D     D  D  D  D     D  D  D  D    
E||--------------|--------------|--------------|--------------||
B||--------------|--------------|--------------|--------------||
G||-----------1--|-----------0--|-----------1--|-----------0--||
D||--------2-----|--------2-----|--------2-----|--------2-----||
A||-----4--------|-----4--------|-----3--------|-----3--------||
E||--5-----------|--5-----------|--5-----------|--5-----------||
The above arpeggios are the major seventh major arpeggios, the minor seventh major arpeggio, minor seventh major arpeggio, and the minor seventh minor arpeggio respectively. Another advanced exercise you can try is combining the two moving your sweeps techniques:
     D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D   
E||-----------------------------------3--|
B||--------------------------3-----5-----|
G||-----------------2-----4-----5--------|
D||--------2-----4-----5-----------------|
A||-----4-----5--------------------------|
E||--5-----------------------------------|
 
  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D  D    
|-----------------------------------4--||
|--------------------------4-----6-----||
|-----------------3-----5-----6--------||
|--------3-----5-----6-----------------||
|-----5-----6--------------------------||
|--6-----------------------------------|| etc...
You can easily write your own exercises, and you can gain valuable experience just through that. Don't just stop once you think you've mastered sweeping, always try to improve (I know that sound clich). Outro: Well, that's all for part two of starting speed playing, and day five of CPDmusic's lesson marathon. Hopefully you enjoyed this lesson, and learned a lot from it as well! Part three will resume tomorrow, so don't miss out! Support CPDmusic'S Lesson Writing Marathon By Joining This Group! Also, special thanks to Dolphin Street for giving me permission to embed the video into this lesson!
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