Hello all.

It is my first post on this forum. I put my guitar in its coffin, sorry, hardcase in 2002 and it almost laid there for 9 years. Really occasionally I took it in my hands.

I used to be a lead guitarist in a thrash metal band, I never developed an amazing techinque, I dropped guitar for completing my piano studies.

Now one of the reasons I dropped guitar in 2002 was that I felt stuck. I felt there was a technique wall, I couldn't improve anymore.

All these years spent on piano made me learn an important lesson: I had timing problems. So everytime in the past I tried to play very fast I was hitting a speed wall. Of course timing problems are there also at slow speeds, but if you play in a band the drummer can become your "timing crutch", so the evidence of the problems are there expecially when you play fast.

Now I have kids and cannot devote time to practice. I even don't have a guitar project (a band or anything).

Anyway I decided in these days to master the basics of sweep picking. Instead of watching tv or reading a book at night I would like to make my old dream of mastering sweep picking true (there are worst things one can do). My alternate picking also sucks, lot of things suck, but it is a kind of challenge, I want to focus only on sweeping, since I have no time/energy/desire to practice a lot (I have other priorities).

Not being able to sweep it has been a very frustrating thing for me in the past. Now I realize that I was not able because of my timing problems. I was not mastering tempo in my mind as I do now (at least I do it better than before, I am aware of it).

Yesterday night (when everyone was in bed) I tried to learn sweeppicking from scratch. Simple 3 strings minor chord pattern with 8 notes (3 notes downstroke sweep 14(3)-13(2)-12(1), one hammer on 17(1), 3 notes upsrtroke sweep 12(1)-13(2)-14(3), 1 pulloff 12(3)... and looping). After 30 minutes of practice (and consider I was not playing the guitar for 9 years) I was able to make it sound decently at 140bpm (4 notes per beat).

I immedaitely realized how many hours of bad practice I did in the past.

I was simply not counting, I was considering sweep like an "indefinite run across the strings", but without accents after the 3rd note i was quite lost.

This said with the pattern I "invented" I focused on which where my 2 problems:
the hammer on was done by me with no control of time (i mean i am sure that if i could go back in 2002 and "assign to myself" this exercice I would have screwed the time on the four note) and moreover the first Upstroke for sure wouldn't have been intime, but with no time control.

This is why yesterday I was able to speed up up to 140. Ok 140 was an experiment, I tried 180 too. But also at 180 I felt I need some practice but that now I got the key: timing.

I concentrated 90% of time betwwen 100 and 120 bpm, but the good news for me were that I solved my problem, at least I found the major cause.

This said, I write this to ask you advice:

In all the internet free sweep picking lessons there is not much focus on the importance of time.

Do you agree with me that what "i discovered" is very important? Could you comment on this?


This said could you suggest the definitive guide to sweep picking, which is your favourite? Basically there are 3 million guides out there, do you have one that have exercises in a graduated fashion (not 3 exercices like: 1) 3 strings D minor, 2) 5 strings Aminor7, 3) super mega impossible sweep picking exercice with tapping, handbanging and singing ?).

Edit: Please suggest a free online guide (either text based or "youtube-style video series).

Last edited by dustedguitar at Jul 1, 2011,
Thanks, I already saw that lession, it is very good for the basics, but I am looking to some more "comprehensive" series of exercices. I mean ore stuff.

Of course I could invent my ones, but why reinventing the wheel?
^ well, the main idea with sweep picking is to play arpeggios very fast. If you don't already know your arpeggios, why are you learning to sweep? And if you do know your arpeggios, sweep em.
ok, what I am asking for is

"is there a predefined series of arpeggios?", or shuold I work on a single arpeggio until I master it, after that all the others will come with a minimum practice?
I personally find sweep picking a pretty binary skill, you can do it or you can't. Once you have the technique down it's pretty much the same thing for every arpeggio, so I'd suggest you practice one shape until you have it comfortable, and then start working on arpeggio sequences and learning all the different usable shapes.
i got the binary concept, thanks. I will try as suggested, practicing a few patterns only until I can change the status from 0 to 1.