Sweep Like Becker

author: becker89 date: 06/17/2009 category: guitar techniques
rating: 9.6 / votes: 14 
I assume the reader knows about sweep picking, as I focus mostly on the positions in this lesson, and not on just on the technique itself. First of all, I apologize if the title misleads, because there is no such lesson that will make you play like becker. In this lesson I will show you the positions he used in his sweep picking. By applying these shapes, you can advance very fast in sweeping, and maybe some of you will manage to pull-off serrana. SIDE NOTE: I`ll be focusing on 5&6 strings shapes, as 3&4 strings shapes can be derived from the big shapes. Remember those are shapes, meaning you can move them around the neck! Just memorize them and you`ll be fine.

The Major Shapes

There are 3 basic shapes for pulling off major arpeggios. I`ll show them in the key of A.
SHAPE 1
E||----------------9h-12p-9---------------|
B||-------------10----------10------------|
G||-----------9----------------9----------|
D||--------11--------------------11-------|
A||--7h-12--------------------------12p-7-|
E||---------------------------------------|
We have here a nice A major. It may be strange that we don't start the arpeggio with the root, but we can do anything we want. This only issue here is the strech on the A string, but after a while it would become easy. Make sure you use hammer-ons and pull-offs where noted, as you are sweeping, all down, then all up.
SHAPE 2 (GOOD)
E||------------------12h-17p-12-----------------|
B||---------------14------------14--------------|
G||------------14------------------14-----------|
D||-----11h-14------------------------14p-11----|
A||--12--------------------------------------12-|
E||---------------------------------------------|
This one is a bad boy! The problem is of course barring 3 different strings on same fret, and making sure that they wont ring out together. The technique used here is "rolling", you use your third finger, and kinda roll it with the direction you pick. your target is to make sure every note is sound seperatly. A note about this shape: I've seen another shape for this thing, which is just BAD:
SHAPE 2 (BAD)
E||------------------12h-17p-12-----------------|
B||---------------14------------14--------------|
G||------------14------------------14-----------|
D||---------14------------------------14--------|
A||--12h-16------------------------------16p--12|
E||---------------------------------------------|
There are some reasons I hate this shape: 1)it's not comfortable! 2)it's harder, and we want it nice and simple. 3)I quote jason: "you get a bonus lick" (by using Shape 2(good)) What he meant:
E||---------------------------------------------------|
B||---------------------------------------------------|
G||------------14--------12-----------14--------12----|
D||-----11h-14----14p-11-------11h-14----14p-11-------|
A||--12---------------------12------------------------|
E||---------------------------------------------------|
That's something you can't play if you use the bad shape, while it's easy to pull off on the good one. Side note: "throw in a 7th"
SHAPE 3:
E||---------------------17h-21p-17--------------------|
B||------------------17------------17-----------------|
G||---------------18------------------18--------------|
D||------------19------------------------19-----------|
A||-----16h-19------------------------------19p-16----|
E||--17--------------------------------------------17-|
Nothing special about this guy, aside the fact it covers all strings. Same deal like with shape 2, use the shape that has one note on the lowest string, and have two notes on the next one (and hammer-on them). Conclusions: 1)if difference between 2 notes on the lowest string is exactly 5 frets or more, play it as it is (see SHAPE 1) 2)otherwise play like Shape 2/3 3)make sure to have two notes on the highest string, so you could get a "push", the ability to execute the arpeggio fast without getting stuck.

Minor Shapes

Basically just like major, just flatten the 3rd half a tone. Here are the shapes anyway:
SHAPE 1
E||----------------8h-12p-8---------------|
B||-------------10----------10------------|
G||-----------9----------------9----------|
D||--------10--------------------10-------|
A||--7h-12--------------------------12p-7-|
E||---------------------------------------|
SHAPE 2
E||------------------12h-17p-12-----------------|
B||---------------13------------13--------------|
G||------------14------------------14-----------|
D||-----10h-14------------------------14p-10----|
A||--12--------------------------------------12-|
E||---------------------------------------------|
SHAPE 3
E||---------------------17h-20p-17--------------------|
B||------------------17------------17-----------------|
G||---------------17------------------17--------------|
D||------------19------------------------19-----------|
A||-----15h-19------------------------------19p-15----|
E||--17--------------------------------------------17-|
And Finally, Some Actual Music To Practice: The following is from the song go-off!, by the band cacophony. This part has 2 guitars harmonized, I`ll just put one of them:
---------------------15h-19S---17p-14--------------------
------------------15------------------15-----------------
---------------16------------------------14--------------
------------17------------------------------16-----------
-----14h-17------------------------------------17p-12----
--15--------------------------------------------------14-

---------------------12h-15S----14p-10-------------------
------------------12------------------12-----------------
---------------12------------------------11--------------
------------14------------------------------12-----------
-----10h-14------------------------------------14p-9-----
--12-------------------------------------------------10--

----------------------8h-12S----10p--7-------------------
------------------8--------------------8-----------------
----------------9-------------------------7--------------
------------10-------------------------------9-----------
------7h-10------------------------------------10p-5-----
--8---------------------------------------------------7--

----------------------8h-12S---14p--10-------------------
------------------8--------------------10-----------------
----------------9-------------------------11--------------
------------10-------------------------------12-----------
------7h-10------------------------------------12p-9------
--8---------------------------------------------------10--
Check out the gp file for this lesson here. Well, that concludes our lesson, next time around I`ll look into diminished shapes, augmented (black cat anyone?), and some exotic stuff. Happy sweeping!
More becker89 lessons:
+ Sweep Like Becker. Part 2 Guitar Techniques 11/12/2009
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