Learn To Sweep. Pt 1

author: cleptobismal date: 02/06/2009 category: guitar techniques
rating: 9.1 / votes: 34 

Sweeping Technique

To make it easier to learn the later exercises, it would be good to keep these things in mind (and begin doing asap.)
  • First, Hold your pick with your thumb and index finger, making sure your middle finger is not involved with the pick at all. EX: I keep my middle, ring, and pinky fingers extended at all times. This will come in handy in the Sweep Tapping exercises. (Keep pick angled opposite of the direction your sweeping in.)
  • Second, When doing Rolling Sweeps, remember to keep the finger that will hold the most strings down straight. This will most often be the ring or middle finger (depending on what your comfortable with.) This technique will minimize the chances of missing a note, or it not ringing out loud enough.
  • Third, When doing Rolling Sweeps, remember to lift your finger once it's served it's purpose. This will prevent the note from ringing out over the next note, and will in turn sound clean.
  • Fourth, Legato is your friend. Use legato for now when you can until you've developed your technique. When you're comfortable with sweeping, then you can begin picking out notes on the same string, but for now keep it simple.
  • Fifth, Tuning down may be something to consider because it makes it considerably easier to hit the notes, and who doesn't like that heavy tone?
  • Sixth, a sweep isn't 100% percent correct until every note can be heard clearly. This means, don't show-off, once you think you have it down chances are you still haven't got it 100% and nobody likes a show-off.

    Complex Sweeps

    It's not an official term, but I'm going to use it to describe all sweeps that aren't Basic 3-String/Rolling Sweeps.

    Basic Sweeps

    The easiest of all sweeps are the not so complicated 3-string sweeps. They are the easiest to get a grasp of, and once you have them down you can move on to more complicated sweeps. (After you finish these exercises I recommend you move on to Rolling Sweeps, they are pretty easy to grasp after you learn the motion, and it's important to learn how to use your picking hand without having to focus very much. This will allow you to concentrate on your left hand in more difficult exercises so that you don't make many mistakes.) I find it's easier to begin with the highest note of the sweep, this way it will sound cleaner going down, and you won't emphasize as much on the lower notes which tend to ring-out and hum over higher ones (this may not matter with 3-string sweeps, but in later exercises it will be good to know... until you've developed your technique that is.) Though you can begin on the lowest note and work your way up from there if you like that more. Basic Progression Major
    [---15p12------12h15~]
    [--------13--13------]
    [----------12--------]

    [---15p12------12h15p12------12h15p12------12h15p12------12h15~]
    [--------13--13--------13--13--------13--13--------13--13------]
    [----------12------------12------------12------------12--------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    Basic Progression Minor
    [---17p13------13h17~]
    [--------14--14------]
    [----------15--------]

    [---17p13------13h17p13------13h17p13------13h17p13------13h17~]
    [--------15--15--------15--15--------15--15--------15--15------]
    [----------14------------14------------14------------14--------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    Basic Progression Diminished
    [---15p12------12h15~]
    [--------14--14------]
    [----------12--------]

    [---15p12------12h15p12------12h15p12------12h15p12------12h15~]
    [--------14--14--------14--14--------14--14--------14--14------]
    [----------12------------12------------12------------12--------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    Basic Progression Augmented
    [---17p13------13h17~]
    [--------14--14------]
    [----------14--------]

    [---17p13------13h17p13------13h17p13------13h17p13------13h17~]
    [--------14--14--------14--14--------14--14--------14--14------]
    [----------14------------14------------14------------14--------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    Once you have these basic sweeps down you can move on to the next section. Or you can move onto them now, seeing as though I can't force you to do anything. Just don't let me find out, lol.

    Putting 3-String Sweeps Together

    With your new found god-like abilities, I bet you're wondering, what can I do with this? Your answer, practically nothing. Truth be told, until you've gained a slight mastery over the subject, it's difficult to incorporate sweeping into songs without it being boring. For now here's an exercise to build your ability to move the Sweeps.
    [---17p13------13h17\15p12------12h15/17p13------13h17/19p15------15h19~]
    [--------15--15-----------13--13-----------15--15-----------17--17------]
    [----------14---------------12---------------14---------------16--------]
    [-----------------------------------------------------------------------]
    [-----------------------------------------------------------------------]
    [-----------------------------------------------------------------------]
    You can use this to build your speed, accuracy, and concentration. You can do a variety of these types of exercises (if you stick to your scales they might even sound good.) You can also move them around however you want on the neck. It doesn't have to be in that spot to sound good (I find that the area of the neck between frets 12-21 is the safest place to sweep.) Just practice them mindlessly and eventually you can be one of the great few mentioned above, except you'll have friends! Isn't sweeping fun!

    Incorporating Diminished and Augmented Sweeps

    Diminished and Augmented Sweeps are very dissonant. They are arpeggiated versions of their Chromatic counterparts. The best way to incorporate them into your sweeping is to play them apart from one another, or keep them separate as long as possible. 2 negatives make a positive but 2 dissonants do not make a consonant. Diminished sweeps sound best after Major sweeps, and Augmented sweeps sound best after Minor sweeps. Keep practicing these patterns until you think you're ready to move on to the next lesson. If you'd like me to submit more exercises, just contact me and I'll see what I can do, thanks. key: ~ Vibrato b Bend r Release from bend t Tap p Pull-off h Hammer-on Lesson by Cleptobismal
  • More cleptobismal lessons:
    + Learn To Sweep. Pt 3 Guitar Techniques 03/16/2009
    + Learn To Sweep. Technique Guitar Techniques 03/13/2009
    + Learn To Sweep. Pt 2 Guitar Techniques 02/18/2009
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