robertwilliam9
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#1
For whatever reason I've never been able to get the hang of sweep picking. I've been playing guitar for over 16 years, and for some strange reason, sweep picking has never felt right to me.

I think it definitely has an effect on my ability to play lead guitar, as I've always been more comfortable in a rhythm role.

Does anyone have any suggestions or relatable experience with this?
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Zaphod_Beeblebr
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#2
The real issue is identifying why you've never been able to get it. Obviously no one here can answer that and until you know the only information we can give you would be the same stuff you can find anywhere.
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robertwilliam9
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#3
That's true, but I was still hoping for some suggestions and possibly some tips from people who have struggled with it like I have. Maybe I just need to dedicate a few months of practicing to it.

Obviously I'm not asking you to look into the context of my entire guitar learning experience haha.
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Zaphod_Beeblebr
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#4
Again, the tips we come up with will be nothing different from what you can find anywhere else: go slow, make sure you get it right, make sure you're sweeping as one connected motion rather than individually picking each string, mute properly with both hands. It's all the same unless we know what you have trouble with.
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robertwilliam9
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#5
Ok, I'll try and be more specific. What happens most of the time, is I'll pick through a movement and for some reason my fretting hand is always a split second behind my picking hand. So what ends up happening is that half or more of the notes come out as muted or partly muted.

It's really bizarre, because I can go pretty slow and still have this problem. Like you said, there probably isn't a magic fix for this, but I was just hoping somebody would have some insight, because in most videos people are able to blaze through sweep picking patterns pretty quickly, and I can barely crawl through them.
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shabtronic
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#6
Quote by robertwilliam9
Ok, I'll try and be more specific. What happens most of the time, is I'll pick through a movement and for some reason my fretting hand is always a split second behind my picking hand. So what ends up happening is that half or more of the notes come out as muted or partly muted.

It's really bizarre, because I can go pretty slow and still have this problem. Like you said, there probably isn't a magic fix for this, but I was just hoping somebody would have some insight, because in most videos people are able to blaze through sweep picking patterns pretty quickly, and I can barely crawl through them.


Hi rob - I had major problems with sweep picking also - eventually the trick that worked for me was to completely tense up picking hand's wrist - so it was all a arm movement in the picking hand. I started really really slowly - I imagined my picking hand to weight like a 100 ton hammer and move very slowly but without pause thru the strings. Once I got that fluid movement in muscle memory, I then worked on syncing with fretting hand, and eventually I relaxed pick hand so it become a part arm part wrist movement, all in all took around 6 weeks to sort out.

hope that helps

Shabby
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#7
Might wanna try alternate picking all of your "sweeps" until you can alternate pick the arpeggios at a decent speed. Gives you a lot of coordination between the hands so that when you economy pick them (or sweep them) it's much easier to contain your control.

That's what helped me a lot. I used to have that fret hand/pick hand delay thing too.

Also, I frequently see instructions that say to start with 3 string sweeps.

I say start with 5 string sweeps (Am shape is probably the easiest to start with); they're more musical sounding, they're more impressive to do, and you're less likely to be bored out of your mind doing them.
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Last edited by rlheart at Mar 15, 2013,
bustapr
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#8
i had this problem like just about every other lead guitar player out there that starts learning sweep picking. I recommend you try doing 2 string sweeping first instead of 3 string. this is a good lesson to practice:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkG3vSMBOO4

work on syncing these arpeggios until you are hapy with the sound. then move on to 3 string, then 5(or 4, but that one never felt natural to me), then 6. learn arpeggio shapes/notes.

also, when you get syncing sown, you might notice that it doesnt sound clean. for this, I recommend you dont move your palm on your picking hand over the strings even to mute them. palm muting doesnt help a whole lot.

*one more note, I get fairly good results by only picking with my thumb and index finger while leaving my palm immobile. my hand is completely relaxed while sweep picking.

this is all my tips based on my style, you may very well develope your own and it may very well be better than mine.
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Last edited by bustapr at Mar 15, 2013,
robertwilliam9
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#9
Thanks for the responses guys, and Shabby, I think that could definitely help me. It's not at all a fluid movement when I do that, but I'll try your method and see what happens.
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vIsIbleNoIsE
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#10
You could try to loosen your grip on the pick a tiny bit. That way, your packing hand has more leeway between feeling the pick reach the next string and actually picking the string.
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#11
A few hours doing it very slow and precise will absolutely help
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#12
Quote by robertwilliam9
Ok, I'll try and be more specific. What happens most of the time, is I'll pick through a movement and for some reason my fretting hand is always a split second behind my picking hand. So what ends up happening is that half or more of the notes come out as muted or partly muted.


Ok, first of all -

Practise right hand to the metronome, so just hitting muted strings in time.

Then practise adding left hand notes.

It's important to understand that if you have bad left hand technique, sweeping wont fix it. If you normally play loose and sloppy... sweepings gonna suck. You must develop absolute precision.


The major misunderstanding pupils of mine have is that it's NOT a bunch of connected downstrokes... it's ONE downstroke. One push. It's usually easier to do with the elbow as it's quite a wide motion, but wrist is fine too.


That said, finding a good local teacher is probably the best way to sort this out, it's very difficult to teach online.
robertwilliam9
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#13
Quote by Freepower
Ok, first of all -

Practise right hand to the metronome, so just hitting muted strings in time.

Then practise adding left hand notes.

It's important to understand that if you have bad left hand technique, sweeping wont fix it. If you normally play loose and sloppy... sweepings gonna suck. You must develop absolute precision.


The major misunderstanding pupils of mine have is that it's NOT a bunch of connected downstrokes... it's ONE downstroke. One push. It's usually easier to do with the elbow as it's quite a wide motion, but wrist is fine too.


That said, finding a good local teacher is probably the best way to sort this out, it's very difficult to teach online.


Thanks man. Definitely helpful stuff. I do tend to play much more "loose" and my time is much better as a rhythm player than it is as a lead player. I think the one downstroke concept is just hard for me to grasp.
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Renots024Young
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#15
Ok, I'll try and be more specific. What happens most of the time, is I'll pick through a movement and for some reason my fretting hand is always a split second behind my picking hand. So what ends up happening is that half or more of the notes come out as muted or partly muted.

This is opposite for me. I need help with quite literally, the actual PICKING technique, rather than the fretting. Do I I keep the pick parallel with the string or do I angle? Obvioulsly it's all one motion, NOT individually picked
StuartBahn
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#16
Sounds like a timing issue. How accurate is your timing (be brutally honest with yourself)?

Also, the solution to many technical issues lies in working on a simplified approach to what you're trying to achieve.

Try sweeping just the three thinnest strings like this:


------9-12po9-------
---10----------10---
-9------------------
--------------------
--------------------
--------------------


This is a triplet lick so put on a metronome (start slowly) and focus on viscously accurate timing. Gradually increase the speed maintaining this accurate timing. Be sure to have a downstroke on the first note every time too.

Sweeping is quite unintuitive, but I am sure, from what you've said, that focusing on timing in this way will help.

You can of course move on to shapes that use more strings but I suggest that you ensure they have a number of notes that can be fitted easily and accurately to a beat, e.g. 6, 8, 12, etc.
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Last edited by StuartBahn at Mar 20, 2013,
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#17
Try a shape like

||--------------------9----||
B||--------------10---------||
G||--------11---------------||
D||--12---------------------||
A||-------------------------||
E||-------------------------||


So your fingers are "in order" as well, that can help a lot. At the end of the day, can you sweep muted string accurately to a metronome? If not, right hand is the problem.
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#19
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#20
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robertwilliam9
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#21
Quote by Freepower
Try a shape like

||--------------------9----||
B||--------------10---------||
G||--------11---------------||
D||--12---------------------||
A||-------------------------||
E||-------------------------||


So your fingers are "in order" as well, that can help a lot. At the end of the day, can you sweep muted string accurately to a metronome? If not, right hand is the problem.


Yeah that's what I've usually started with.

I can definitely sweep muted strings with a metronome or even a random drum beat. My rhythm and timing have always been pretty good (I'm more of a rhythm player anyways).

So that's probably not it. Whenever I add the left hand, things get painfully slow.

I think that video is pretty helpful as well.
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Andy Pollow
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#22
Maybe its the left hand position? When I used to play fingers parallel to the frets I could sweep big arps all day like Jason Becker with no problems. But when I switched to playing with angled fingers I would stumble fingering big arps. Yngwie dosent sweep 6 string arps very often. Paul Gilbert plays angled too and when he used to sweep he usually did 4 string shapes mostly. And he looked a little awkward with the left hand while sweeping even up and down 4 strings. I think parallel to the frets is best for chords and arpeggios and angled is best for everything else. Now I tune my strings EADGCF all 4ths so that works best to me for always angled fingers for everything.
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Last edited by Andy Pollow at Mar 28, 2013,
robertwilliam9
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#23
Quote by Andy Pollow
Maybe its the left hand position? When I used to play fingers parallel to the frets I could sweep big arps all day like Jason Becker with no problems. But when I switched to playing with angled fingers I would stumble fingering big arps. Yngwie dosent sweep 6 string arps very often. Paul Gilbert plays angled too and when he used to sweep he usually did 4 string shapes mostly. And he looked a little awkward with the left hand while sweeping even up and down 4 strings. I think parallel to the frets is best for chords and arpeggios and angled is best for everything else. Now I tune my strings EADGCF all 4ths so that works best to me for always angled fingers for everything.


That's an interesting point, although I don't angle my fingers very much. Typically they'll be straight up and down, staying vertical with the fret separators.
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Renots024Young
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#24
Nobody answered the question lol. I'm curious too. Should you keep the pick parallel, or angled?
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#26
It's weird, for me, I've never really had problems sweep picking. It's just a technique that came naturally. Except for muting, which dosn't really count. But I changed my technique and my muting was pretty good after that. I found I was using my arm, not my hand. My pick was going straight up and down, but I found if I move my hand in a arch, my muting is really good.
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Last edited by Dr Sixstring at Mar 30, 2013,