Sup UG?
Exp: 11+ months guitar'n.
I had a big ass paragraph written earlier... but I was like nahh y'all aren't trying to read all that.

Basically I tried learning this before but I paused for 3 months to learn many songs and stuff. I'm back at sweep picking and I won't stop til I nail it, no matter how long it takes.

Can I get any tips on how you guys learned? Words of encouragement ?
Sweep picking is a technique many guitarists struggle with, but its actually quite easy once u learn it. Make sure you keep the notes separated, and you use an almost ovular picking motion. Practice VERY slow first. Lastly, watch great sweep pickers on youtube, and watch how they move their hands.

EDIT: ALSO, 5 string sweeps seem easier to most people than 3 strings, try both, and work on whatever comes easier first, because it will give u motivation to keep learning.
Last edited by awesomo41894 at Jan 27, 2013,
Okay so the "la la la la la LA la la la laaaa" i've been doing on this 5-string sweep is what I SHOULD hear til I get the whole motion mastered right? Cause it doesn't sound like that crazy video game solo sounding stuff yet, if you know what I'm saying.

Thanks for the help, I'll keep it up. Going as sloowwww as possible.
thanks man! And im not sure what u mean exactly, BUT If u mean u hear the notes seperately, then yes you are on the right track.
If u wanna see how I sweep pick, fast forward to about :20 in this vid. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_esBDEV2N0k&list=UUM7FppDNJQq8Auj6vKkiTNg&index=15
I believe I do the technique correctly, hopefully that can help you more.
IF u see my hand, u can see how i kinda use my picking hand palm to mute the strings that were played slightly before i play the others to make sure u only hear the note being picked, its hard to explain.
Last edited by awesomo41894 at Jan 27, 2013,
Practice slowly to a metronome. Be patient. Start playing as fast as you can play cleanly and accurately and then put the metronome up a few clicks. Practice at that speed until you can play it cleanly and accurately, then up the click again. Repeat the process. If you notice that you're playing sloppy and can't seem to play accurately to the click after 5 minutes or so then bring the speed back down.

Also, you may be tempted to practice sweeps nonstop for an hour or two nonstop. I wouldn't recommend this. Practice sweeps for a maximum of 20 minutes at a time, then take a break and either: a. get up and take a quick (2-3 minute) walk and stretch your legs and get something to eat/drink or whatever.
b. spend 10-15 minutes just playing for fun or running different exercises. Just keep your fingers limber while staying away from the metronome. I'd recommend this because when I first started to try and perfect my sweeping i made very slow progress. I wasn't sure why until I started taking little breaks between shorter practice sessions. What was happening, is that I would just sort of zone out and start playing off beat a bit and not really working to keep everything tight and clean. It doesn't matter how motivated you are, after a certain amount of time of running the same exercises to a metronome you will get bored with it and start to practice sloppy. Always remember that sloppy practice is worse than no practice. It's much harder to break a bad habit than to prevent the bad habit from developing.

Good luck with your sweeping!
Quote by ErikLensherr
Shitting isn't a perk. Shitting is a hassle.
also make sure your muting is up to par

use your pcking hand to mute the strings above the one thats supposed ot be ringing out
and your fretting hand to mute all the strings above the one thats ringing
and i can tell oyu this is very important rom playing a couple impromptu shows plastered
if you dont...it WILL be noisy

but its important to practice slow and keep the notes seperated
Practice all variations of sweeping. Include legato lines, two-handed tapping, harmonics, and vary between doing 2 string, 3 string, 4 string, 5 string and 6 string sweeps regularly. Doing the same arpeggio over and over with the exact same fingering will stunt the development of your technique.
How long you've been playing guitar isn't too relevant to how long it will take you to get decent at sweeping. Could take you anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple years. I personally started with 4 string sweeps, then moved to 3 then to 5 and now i'm not really troubled by the technique itself, but instead by the complexity of the shape that i'm sweeping.

Personally i think a good song to start sweeping with is Bleeding Mascara by Atreyu;


It might be a bit too fast for you to start with (I don't know how good you are at sweeping already though) but you can always slow it down significantly. As far as i remember it's a very generic and basic sweep aswell.

I very much agree with the above post though. Practice all variations of sweeping, not just the same sweep over and over and over.
Personally i wouldn't also focus just on sweeping until you "master" it. First off, you'll never master it and secondly there's a lot more to worry about than sweeping. It's just a flashy technique that'll impress those with no musical sensibility and it isn't all that difficult once you eventually get the hang of it. Before i get flamed though it's only flashy for about 95% of players. Some people do some incredible innovative things with sweeping.
I just feel like it's not the kind of thing you should focus 100% of your efforts into until you can do it. I didn't learn to sweep by doing it over and over. I learnt songs i liked and eventually after doing enough sweeping licks over time it finally just happened i guess.
Start with Altitude sweeping part ... best exercise.


Or not. :P :P
"Sans la musique, la vie serait une erreur" Nietzsche
Some basic tips;
While practicing, never use any of the following, even if your are going to use it in
the "end product".

-Neck pick up
Quote by Syndromed
Start with Altitude sweeping part ... best exercise.


Or not. :P :P

Honestly, this would have been my recommendation for a practice passage. It's got most of your basic arpeggio shapes in 3- and 5-string varieties and it's a good example of how to use arpeggios alone to imply a melody.

Some basic tips; While practicing, never use any of the following, even if your are going to use it in the "end product".
-Neck pick up

Gotta disagree here, especially as TS gets more practice with the technique. Once you learn the rudiments of a technique, it's important to practice that technique the way you're going to be performing. It's important to practice on a clean tone to make sure you're hitting each note fluently, but you want to also practice with effects like distortion to make sure that your muting is up to par. Practicing on a clean tone won't make muting such an issue.

As for which pickup, I'm not going to recommend either way (it's up to preference) and it's silly to insist that you practice opposite how you're going to be performing.
The trick to successful sweep picking is patience, practice and consistency. As others have suggested in the thread, start slow, maybe throw on a metronome if it helps you but most importantly keep it clean and consistent. If you are struggling you may want to cheat a bit and use a string dampener, a hairband around the headstock and then over the first fret usually works well. Once you are warmed up a bit and you feel you have the fingering positions on the frets then take the hairband off and try as normal. Sooner or later with sweep picking you're just going to have to give it a shot and do your sweep at full speed and see how well it sounds, if it doesn't sound clean and accurate then go slower, rinse and repeat.

It is pretty easy once you've got it down, I've only been playing for about a year and a half and I have a firm grasp of the sweep picking technique (i practiced A LOT, it's the only sure way).


This is a simple sweep used in many songs, approach it slowly, only 3 strings at a time with a single upstroke. Downstroke the 17 so you are in a position to begin your upward stroke of 13,15,14,15,17. Don't tackle this all at once, like I said, 3 strings, then when you have that done clean and accurate go to 4 strings, then 5 strings then all the way back down. String by string.

Patience is the key, my advice: don't get bogged down doing just sweeping, be sure to keep your other techniques in fresh practice, the worst thing that can happen is that you get bored practicing your sweeping and then you lose motivation.

Hope I helped a bit this was just from my experience, I'm sure others have a different experience.
Last edited by DarkShot08 at Jan 28, 2013,
You won't get good at any technique without appropriate repertoire, unless you consider arpeggio noodling a "song". Pick out some actual music with sweep-able passages and practice along with the recordings. Doesn't have to be something that makes a big deal of the technique, either; my first sweep picking song was Phish's "You Enjoy Myself".

Sweeping is also just a small subset of legato technique that you should develop. Don't ignore legato picking on your scales, it's a must-have technique for most fast music.

People talk about sweep picking because it's all over fast metal stuff, but you can apply it to literally any style. Don't get discouraged because the examples you hear are all 200bpm shredding, that stuff is a challenge even for experience players that don't sweep often.
So many good points and tips... thanks guys.
Different Songs/Patterns
But man... I haven't even started on legato yet o__O.
Basically, what you need to do is get a pattern you like, then figure out how to play all the notes and figure out how to best sweep it, then practice it VERY slowly and very gradually increase the speed, I figure since you've tried to learn before that you already know the basic mechanics of sweeping, so just try and get it nice and clean. Good luck with it bud.