Shred Guitar Lesson 08. Sweep Picking

author: JacobReedShred date: 04/29/2013 category: guitar techniques
rating: 7.7 / votes: 42 
Shred Guitar Lesson 08. Sweep Picking
Hey guys. In this lesson I will teach you all the basic major and minor sweeping patterns. I will also teach you a basic diminished pattern. I will not show any scales in this lesson for the fear of it being much too long of a lesson, even without the scale. Sweep picking is a very difficult technique to learn. I remember when I was first learning I had bleeding fingers because I practiced it so much. It is very difficult, but it is the funnest technique, in my opinion. Explaining the technique is very hard, but I shall try to put my descriptive powers to good use. Sweep picking is where you pick across multiple strings in one up or down motion. Personally, I believe that sweeping is across 3 or more strings because "sweeping" across 2 strings is economy picking. Sorry, but that's the way I think. Whenever you perform a sweep you must mute the strings you are not playing, because this technique can be quite noisy. Many people will tell you that when you sweep you should also mute the string you're playing, but this is incorrect. It will ruin the sound of the arpeggio, so DON'T MUTE THE STRING YOU'RE PLAYING. Also try to make the motion very fluid and don't stop in between playing the string. It is easier to see within an example. I will show you the major arpeggios first. They will be 3 string sweeps and will be in the key of G major, which, if you remember, is relative to E minor. Take this example really slowly. I will show you the pick stroke to make it easy to understand. U=Up Stroke D=Down Stroke Ex. 1
   D  D  D  U     U U   
e|------10-15p10-------|
B|---12----------12----|
G|12----------------12-|
D|---------------------|
A|---------------------|
E|---------------------|
In that example, I recommend that you use your second finger on the 12th frets in the sweeping pattern. You have now just realized that doing that pattern was difficult so here's a trick. On the 12th fret in the above example you will have to use a technique called "barring". You use your second finger on both the G-string and B-string. When you go to play the B-string you need to kind-of callapse your second finger so that you are playing the B-string while MUTING the G-string with your second finger. It will take some getting used to, but it is an essential way to economically play these sweeping patterns. Here is a simple example that will get you into the habit of barring. Ex. 2
   D  D  D  U  U  U  
e|------12-12-------|
B|---12-------12----|
G|12-------------12-|
D|------------------|
A|------------------|
E|------------------|
In that example, you will be barring over 3 strings. You must take it really slowly and in the above example you should practice the barre with fingers 1, 2, and 3 to really help your barring for later. Ok. Now back to the patterns. Actually, I lied. We're going to get into a little theory first. Major and minor chords are made up of 3 different notes and so are our sweeping arpeggio because an arpeggio is just the notes in a chord played at different times. In the key G major the 3 notes in the chord are G, B, and D. If we start our arpeggio on the first note, like we did in Ex. 1, we get a G major arpeggio in 1st position. If start on the second note we get a G major arpeggio in 2nd position. In our next couple of examples I will show you the other 2 arpeggio positions respectfully. Here is the second pattern: Ex. 3
   D  D  D  U     U  U  
e|------15-19p15-------|
B|---15----------15----|
G|16----------------16-|
D|---------------------|
A|---------------------|
E|---------------------|
That one also involves a barre. Use your first finger to barre. Now here is the third patter which starts on the note D: Ex. 4
   D  D  D  U     U  U  
e|------19-22p19-------|
B|---20----------20----|
G|19----------------19-|
D|---------------------|
A|---------------------|
E|---------------------|
Those are all the 3 string G major arpeggios. There are also arpeggios that use 4, 5, and 6 strings. I will explain about 4 and 5 string sweeps, but I hate 6 string sweeps, so I will not explain them. Sorry. I will show you the sweeping patterns in one tab arranged by the amount of strings used. I will start with 4 string G major sweeps. The 4 string sweeps are my favorite, but when I first learned them they were really different than 3 string ones, which, in return, made them difficult to perform. Here are the three 4 string G major sweeps in order from 1st to 3rd: Ex. 5
   D  D  D  D  U     U  U  U   D  D  D  D  U     U  U  U  
e|---------10-15p10----------|---------15-19p15----------|
B|------12----------12-------|------15----------15-------|
G|---12----------------12----|---16----------------16----|
D|12----------------------12-|17----------------------17-|
A|---------------------------|---------------------------|
E|---------------------------|---------------------------|

   D  D  D  D  U     U  U  U  
e|---------19-22p19----------|
B|------20----------20-------|
G|---19----------------19----|
D|21----------------------21-|
A|---------------------------|
E|---------------------------|
Remember to play these very slowly. In the first pattern remember to use your second finger and use the barre technique. In the 5 string sweeps there are going to be a hammer-on in the beginning of the sweep. You don't have to play it, but I like the hammer-on. Here are the 5 string sweeps: Ex. 6
   D     D  D  D  D  U     U  U  U  U     
e|---------------10-15p10----------------|
B|------------12----------12-------------|
G|---------12----------------12----------|
D|------12----------------------12-------|
A|10h14----------------------------14p10-|
E|---------------------------------------|

   D     D  D  D  D  U     U  U  U  U     
e|---------------15-19p15----------------|
B|------------15----------15-------------|
G|---------16----------------16----------|
D|------17----------------------17-------|
A|14h17----------------------------17p14-|
E|---------------------------------------|

   D     D  D  D  D  U     U  U  U  U     
e|---------------19-22p19----------------|
B|------------20----------20-------------|
G|---------19----------------19----------|
D|------21----------------------21-------|
A|17h22----------------------------22p17-|
E|---------------------------------------|
Those are all the 5 string sweeps in G major. Now we will look at minor sweeps. I'm just going to list them like I did in the examples above starting with 3 string up to 5 string sweeps. We're going to be in the key of E minor. The notes in E minor are E, G, and B. Here are the 3 string sweeps: Ex. 7
  D D D  U   U U  D  D  D  D     U  U  D  D  D  D     U  U    
e|----7-12p7-----|------12-15p12-------|------15-19p15-------|
B|--8--------8---|---12----------12----|---17----------17----|
G|9------------9-|12----------------12-|16----------------16-|
D|---------------|---------------------|---------------------|
A|---------------|---------------------|---------------------|
E|---------------|---------------------|---------------------|
Now, here are the 4 string sweeps: Ex. 8
  D D D D  D   U U U  D  D  D  D  U     U  U  U  D  D  D  D  U     U  U  U  
e|------7-12p7------|---------12-15p12---------|---------15-19p15----------|
B|----8--------8----|------12----------12------|------17----------17-------|
G|--9------------9--|---12----------------12---|---16----------------16----|
D|9----------------9|14----------------------14|17----------------------17-|
A|------------------|--------------------------|---------------------------|
E|------------------|--------------------------|---------------------------|
Finally, here are the 5 string sweeps with a hammer-on in the beginning of the sweep. Ex. 9
  D    D D D D  D   U U U  U     D     D  D  D  D  U     U  U  U  U     
e|-----------7-12p7------------|---------------12-15p12----------------|
B|---------8--------8----------|------------12----------12-------------|
G|-------9------------9--------|---------12----------------12----------|
D|-----9----------------9------|------14----------------------14-------|
A|7h10--------------------10p7-|10h14----------------------------14p10-|
E|-----------------------------|---------------------------------------|

   D     D  D  D  D  U     U  U  U  U     
e|---------------15-19p15----------------|
B|------------17----------17-------------|
G|---------16----------------16----------|
D|------17----------------------17-------|
A|14h19----------------------------19p14-|
E|---------------------------------------|
There are all the minor sweeps in E minor. Now we will look to expand our sweeping knowledge to include a tap. I will show a minor one and a major example. At the top of the sweep you hammer-on the notes, then simply tap and pull-off as usual. Here is a G major example with the E minor right next to it: Ex. 10
   D  D  D              U  U  D D D            U U  
e|------10h15h19p15p10-------|----7h12h15p12p7-----|
B|---12--------T-------12----|--8-------T------8---|
G|12----------------------12-|9------------------9-|
D|---------------------------|---------------------|
A|---------------------------|---------------------|
E|---------------------------|---------------------|
There you go. Now all you have to is apply the tap-sweep to any position you want and use as many strings as you want. It's a really fun thing to do. Try making your own tap-sweeps. Now we will move on to the diminished sweep shape. It is a really simple shape. To move it up the positions all you have to do is shift the entire shape up 3 frets! It has a really cool sound to it. I will use a 4 string example starting on E and I will add a position above it, so you know how to move the shape up. Here is the sweep: Ex. 11
   D  D     D  D  U     U  U     U   D  D     D  D  U     U  U     U  
e|------------12-15p12-------------|------------15-18p15-------------|
B|---------14----------14----------|---------17----------17----------|
G|---12h15----------------15p12----|---15h18----------------18p15----|
D|14----------------------------14-|17----------------------------17-|
A|---------------------------------|---------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------|---------------------------------|
Notice that the hammer-on is in the middle of the sweep. This can make sweeping it more difficult, but it will come with practice. I'vve only scratched the surface with the sweep technique, so go out and learn more. I will have some of my favorite, odd-sounding sweeps in my lesson "Creative Shred Ideas 02. Arpeggios". I have no idea when my next lesson will be up as I am very busy. Remember to start out painfully slow when sweeping, then build up speed. Just keep practicing. Until the next lesson, see ya. :) Oh ya! I have uploaded one of my original songs. It is a sample, but I think it's pretty cool. Don't forget to check it out and rate. See ya. ;)
More JacobReedShred lessons:
+ Building Speed 02. Legato and Tapping Guitar Techniques 07/23/2013
+ Shred Guitar Lesson 10. Eight Finger Tapping Guitar Techniques 07/10/2013
+ Building Speed 01. Alternate Picking Guitar Techniques 06/21/2013
+ Shred Guitar Lesson 09. Computer Tapping Guitar Techniques 06/11/2013
+ Creative Shred Ideas 03. Putting It All Together Guitar Techniques 06/07/2013
+ Creative Shred Ideas 02. Arpeggios Guitar Techniques 05/10/2013
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