Tips On Sweep Picking

author: hippiemetalguy date: 11/06/2008 category: guitar techniques
rating: 6.7 / votes: 26 
Hey everyone, i've been working on some sweep picking lately and i thought i might share a few tips and tricks to help. First off mainly like everyone always says DO NOT play fast enless your confortable with the speed and you can play it perfectly. The longer you practise sweep picking at various speeds the easier it will become to mix it up. Do not sweep pick if your not warmed up. You won't be able to if your not extremely familair with it and you could easily discourage yourself from progressing. It's very important to always practise with a metronome of some sort.
Fig 1
e|--------------X--|
b|------------X----|
g|----------X------|
d|--------X--------|
a|------X----------|
e|----X------------|
In this figure only pick down and let the pick mainly slide across the strings. Make sure it still gives the effect of a normal picking of a note tho.
Fig 2
e|----X------------|
b|------X----------|
g|--------X--------|
d|----------X------|
a|------------X----|
e|--------------X--|
Same rules apply for figure two except only picking up. Again though ALWAYS practise with some sort of metronome. Once you get used to the picking method of this combine figure 1 and 2. Do not proceed without being confortable doing these picking methods. Alright, well now its time to add the fretting hand into the picture. Again you ALWAYS want to make sure your warmed up before you start. Anways you always want to start small when learning this so were guna start off with just a short three string sweep.
Fig 3
e|-------11h15-11------11h15-11------|
b|----13---------13--13--------13----|
g|--12-------------12------------12--|
d|-----------------------------------|
a|-----------------------------------|
e|-----------------------------------|
Practise this over and over.Also remember sweeping not alternative picking or anything like that. Start slow and slowly build up your speed. NEVER think just because it looks easy it is because i'm telling you right now it's not. This will take ALOT of practise to get down. Once you get this down with a pretty good tempo and it's confortable then it's time to switch it up a bit. Heres two figures that you can add in when your playing this exercise to get used to switching frets while sweep picking.
Fig 4
e|------13h17-13------13h17-13-------|
b|----15--------15--15--------15-----|
g|--14------------14------------14---|
d|-----------------------------------|
a|-----------------------------------|
e|-----------------------------------|

Fig 5
e|-------15h19-15------15h19-15------|
b|----17---------17--17--------17----|
g|--16-------------16------------16--|
d|-----------------------------------|
a|-----------------------------------|
e|-----------------------------------|
Slowly practise all of these. There all the same finger pattern but going at the speed your guna want to then you will want to practise them. Once your confortable with them then practise all of them consistantly switching from one to the other not stopping. So when you get confortable with that then your going to want to add another string into the picture. But instead off writing eight other figures, i'm just going to write down the full sweep and you can see what your going to want to add next. Alo the figure 3 the one you started with is not going to be the end sweep. Figure 5 is going to be part of it thp.
Fig 6
e|------------------15h19-15------------------|
b|----------------17--------17----------------|
g|--------------16------------16--------------|
d|---------14h17----------------17p14---------|
a|-------14--------------------------14-------|
e|--12h15------------------------------15p12--|
Also this is a pretty advanced sweep so DO NOT move onto the full thing until your confortable with the fingering and different speeds. Here is something many like to call a cheat sweep it is only a five string sweep though. Again though DO NOT move onto this until you are confortable with the fingering and different speeds. I'm sorry but that just cannot be said enough.
Fig 7
e|-------------12h17-12--------------|
b|-----------14--------14------------|
g|---------14------------14----------|
d|-------14----------------14--------|
a|--12h16--------------------16p12---|
e|-----------------------------------|
This is called a cheat sweep because for the three note on D F and B you can just bar one of your fingers across it. The last little tip i'm going to give before I go is and this is pretty obvious not to do but don't hold your pick to hard because you get a really ugly tink sound. Well that's all for now and if your having any trouble with speed just check out my other lesson on speed building and finger strength. Well bye bye for now and rock on!
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