Here is the Technique section for my lessons, I didn't realize until now but I didn't put
down the technique, so here's a lesson on it.

What is Sweeping?

Well, basically boys and girls, sweeping is the notes of an arpeggio played
separately. Among other things, it is one way that a seasoned guitar player can get
from one note to another very quickly, without leaving a gap. You'll find there are
many different ways to sweep, but every way you do it, the concepts behind them
are very much the same.

Sweeping: a Very Brief History.

Sweeping is one of many techniques developed on the grand old electric guitar. Many
guitarists you know, use this technique quite frequently, and utilize the unique
patterns to the key they are playing. Examples of guitarists: Yngwie Malmsteen,
Jason Becker, Brandon Smalls, Chris Brodericks, Marty Friedman, Buckethead, Jeff
Loomis, and many others.

How to Sweep.

Sweeping is done by playing the notes of an arpeggio, one by one, with a “rolling”
hand/finger motion. This being done you use your picking hand to move WITH
your playing hand to pluck every note individually in one direction.

Focusing on your Playing Hand.

Because the motion of playing the notes whilst picking them in sync with each-other,
is difficult, we will separate the two.

Your playing hand is very important (as is your picking hand) because it must play
quickly and accurately. After your playing hand is finished playing the note, you must
quickly remove it from the string. This will stop from creating a chord.

Focusing on your Picking Hand.

Your picking hand is the most important in relation to sweeping. It is best to learn
the notes for your playing hand, so that you can focus solely on your picking hand.

Your picking hand has to move in perfect synchronization with your playing hand, lest
it not play all the notes, making it sound “unclean.” The easiest way to learn is by
using a metronome (I'm told, I personally never used one) and practicing often.

Your picking hand must go in one direction, playing every note until you get to a string
that has more than one note. Here you play the first note in the direction you were
picking, you then go the opposite direction hitting the second note, pulling-off to the
first note, and continuing on through your sweep.

Along with releasing the fingers of the playing hand, you must also use the palm of
your picking hand in a gentle motion along with the picking pattern muting the notes
you've already played, this wil prevent the lower notes from sounding out over the
higher notes. The higher notes, especially the highest, are the most important notes
in the sweep, so must have a lot of emphasis placed on them.

Beneficial Tips for Sweeping.

-Make sure that if your playing hand has a finger that has to hold down more than
one note, keep it STRAIGHT! This will prevent you from missing those notes, making it
sound more “clean.”

-Keep the pick angled away from the strings, opposite the direction your picking in.

Ways to Practice Effectively

Sweeping is a very advanced guitar technique, so many people just give up. You
clearly don't want to be that person, so here are some practicing tips to keep you

-I said it earlier, and though I never used one, it is very beneficial. Use a
Metronome! Metronomes will keep you on time, start at 50 BPM and work your way
up. The biggest problem people have with sweeping is synchronization. Using a
metronome will make practicing much more effective.

-Warm-up before going into sweeps. If you haven't played guitar all day, you'll
probably find that your grip is weak. If you begin practice with sweeps, then you'll
just be wasting your time, and will probably start doubting your abilities. The
number one reason people give up sweeping is because they doubted they could
ever really learn it.

-Build your finger strength. Whether you do it by constantly fast finger motion, or by
speed trainers (grip bar things, not sure what they're called, never used them) they
will be very useful, and you will have more stamina to practice.

-Maximize the distance you fingers can stretch while playing effectively. By playing
notes very far apart (hammer-ons, pull-offs), and building your finger strength, you
will be able to sweep much easier.

-Dedicate at least 10 minutes to sweeping. I know it's hard to find time in your busy
lives to practice, because I barely have any time at all to myself. I don't practice very
often, but when I do, I sweep it out, and I only practice for about a half-hour every
other day.


The only thing that gets in the way of actually doing it, is You! If you find after
practicing slowly, that you just can't do it, chances are A) you didn't practice long
enough to remember the sweep, or B) you're thinking about it TOO MUCH!

Believe it or not, the brain memorizes patterns subconsciously. If you think too much
about what you're doing, then your brain can't concentrate on the task ahead. If
you just, do it, your brain will most likely remember the pattern, and relay the
message to the fingers.

Remember, your fingers move faster than you can think about them moving faster.

Thanks for reading my lesson, there are still exercises to come out, so be patient,
and above all, have fun.

If you have any questions, or you want more exercises PM me and I'll see what I can

If you have any tab requests (particularly for Bb tuning to D tuning) just PM me.

My E-mail is cleptobismal@hotmail.com.

Lesson by cleptobismal
Last edited by cleptobismal at Feb 16, 2009,