Getting Fluent Sweep Picking

author: RMNT date: 12/03/2009 category: guitar techniques
rating: 7.1 / votes: 16 
Sweep picking isn't for beginners in my perspective. You MUST learn an abundance of scales and different chords in those scales to get sweep picking. Sweeping is pretty much, insted of picking, your hand moves down and up the string in one solid motion, sweeping scales or single notes. Every note is sounded out seperately. Some scales you can sweep are the Eminor scale in Aeolian mode, Ionian, or Dorian. I forgot which one but it's one of them so try all? :) Or for practice, you can sweep these tabs I found on another site. Please start Very slow! d = down stroke u = up stroke
  d  d  d  u  u  u
e|--------12-14--------|
b|-----13-------13-----|
g|--14-------------12--|
d|---------------------|
a|---------------------|
e|---------------------|
Trying sweep picking with hammer-ons and pull-offs are very melodic-metal like and are used A LOT without you even knowing. Try this VERY slow.
  d     u  d  d  d        u  d  d  d        u     
e|--15p12----------12h15p12----------12h15p12-----|
b|--------13----13----------13----13----------13--|
g|-----------12----------------12-----------------|
d|------------------------------------------------|
a|------------------------------------------------|
e|------------------------------------------------|
My theory is, and probably many other guitarist's theory also, is that you must play on clean first. No distortion. IF you can master this technique on clean, and make each not sound out perfectly, you have mastered it. Here is another sweep I found on a site that you could practice also. I love this one, of its simplicity, and the fact it combines both sweeping, AND hammer-ons and pull-offs!
    d     u  u  d  d  d  d        u  u
e|--19p15----------------15h19p15--------|
b|--------17----------17----------17-----|
g|-----------16----16----------------16--|
d|--------------15-----------------------|
a|---------------------------------------|
e|---------------------------------------|

    d  d  d  d        u  u  d  d  d  d        u  u
e|-----------13h17p13----------------13h17p13--------|
b|--------15----------15----------15----------15-----|
g|-----14----------------14----14----------------14--|
d|--13----------------------13-----------------------|
a|---------------------------------------------------|
e|---------------------------------------------------|
Sweep picking is something you HAVE to practice if you're going to get it perfect. I say practice each of these three tabs 20 minutes to get the motions down, then increase the speed. Every time you run through all these, increase your tempo. Soon you will get sweep picking like a pro!
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