#1
Both Slash and Kirk Hammett don't sweep pick (probably because they cant do it very well) and they're famous and have played for many years.

Is the technique itself really that hard to get down?
#2
the technique isn't that hard and Kirk has done some sweep or close to sweep style picking early on in the RTL days. It's mostly a matter of control and getting the mechanics of it right. There's tons of videos all over for it now so it's easier to learn than it used to be. I taught myself in the days before youtube and it took me a year to get decent on my own.
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#3
There are many players that are considered to be the best in the world (not just famous for their image) that don't sweep pick. And it's not because they can't. In my opinion it's a gimmicky technique that, if overused, makes the lead sound juvenile. It can be fun to learn and play around with, but it's a little over done. Same with Van Halen type tapping licks, just sounds childish to me.

More to the point whats hard for you may or may not be hard for others and vise versa. Try for yourself.

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#4
Sweeping requires very precise coordination between your picking and fretting hand. That coordination usually doesn't come to most players early on in their days of playing guitar.

So to your question i'm gonna say..

It depends entirely how experienced you are with the guitar
If you've been playing 5 years, it wont be too difficult to pick up
If you've been playing 5months, it's gonna be hard as **** and will likely take you years and years to get right.

And if players don't sweep it's not because they can't do it. Something tells me you think sweeping is an extremely impressive and difficult technique and therefore must be utilized by all lead guitarists?
Personally i think sweeping is one of the easier techniques a lead player should learn. Fact is every second teenager these days with a guitar knows how to sweep.
Now someone playing some shredding legato.. That to me is impressive. Legato i believe is 100 times harder to play correctly opposed to sweeping.
Last edited by vayne92 at Feb 28, 2012,
#5
I've been playing for 5 years, and it wasn't too bad. I'm 16 and I can 5-string sweep major, minor, and diminished triads.
#6
Is sweeping hard? Of course. If it wasn't hard it wouldn't be worth doing .

It's not like "OMG this is the hardest thing in the world!" hard, but it can be challenging. There's really only 3 things you need for it - hand synchronization, muting, and a metronome - but you need really work at it sometimes. To some it comes easier than others. I personally found it to be very hard initially. My left hand could fret the notes perfectly - playing piano for over 12 years helped with that - but my picking was lacking. So I had to go back and start at 40 bpm and work through it. Eventually, you get used to it and then you start to get good at it. Just like everything else, all it takes is practice.
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Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
#7
It's also important not to get too used to playing the same shape and to branch out into different shapes; muscle memory can be a b**** to break from. Once you learn A sweep pattern it's important to know that all sweep patterns will not come as easily, so don't get cocky when you get a 3 string c major pattern down; ther's a whole WORLD left to discover.
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#8
Its hard, but practice it. Im doing like 3 weeks, and it gets better and better with the days.

btw, kirk does some sweep, listen to creeping death solo. its the one i remember right know that have a sweepicking part
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#9
Sweep picking is difficult for most players, and there are, in many if not most cases, "better" alternatives to play arpeggios such as string-skipping and tapping in certain contexts.
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#10
Quote by Junior#1
There's really only 3 things you need for it - hand synchronization, muting, and a metronome - but you need really work at it sometimes.


So the same things as everything else anyway then?


Anyway:

If you can do it it's easy, if you can't it's impossible. It's as easy as anything else to learn, it just takes good practice and time.

Frankly any other answers are meaningless.
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#12
The problem seems to be this: most people learn sweep-picking as purely up/down patterns for an arpeggio. This is why it so often becomes cliche in rock and metal - because when many amatuer players who know how to sweep pull it out, they tend to be imposing a rather bland pattern onto the music, and many of them are playing the same few patterns as each other. So sweep picking, in such a case, isn't being used as a general technique with which to express musical ideas - it determines, in a narrow way, the musical ideas (a purely linear arppeggio pattern).

I believe there of course are more interesting ways to use sweep picking. That's where the pro's come in (*cough* Gambale) - and the non-metalers, for the most part.

So yes - go forth and learn sweep picking, but try not to do it in such a way that it places you in a musical rut or box. Try variations - and non-arpeggios.
Last edited by Brainpolice2 at Feb 28, 2012,
#13
Quote by X-plorer88
There are many players that are considered to be the best in the world (not just famous for their image) that don't sweep pick. And it's not because they can't.


Totally agree with this. Not everyone likes the way they sound. It doesn't necessarily fit every style. I can't imagine BB King sweep picking diminished arpeggios up and down the fretboard.
#14
Quote by jsepguitar
Totally agree with this. Not everyone likes the way they sound. It doesn't necessarily fit every style. I can't imagine BB King sweep picking diminished arpeggios up and down the fretboard.

Not necessarily diminished arpeggios or straight linear arpeggios for measures on end, but I could see some rakes and Gambale-inspired pentatonic sweeps coming into play in BB Kings music. I've definitely worked some to incorporate sweeping into bluesy solos in a musical way.

The problem seems to be this: most people learn sweep-picking as purely up/down patterns for an arpeggio. This is why it so often becomes cliche in rock and metal - because when many amatuer players who know how to sweep pull it out, they tend to be imposing a rather bland pattern onto the music, and many of them are playing the same few patterns as each other. So sweep picking, in such a case, isn't being used as a general technique with which to express musical ideas - it determines, in a narrow way, the musical ideas (a purely linear arppeggio pattern).

I believe there of course are more interesting ways to use sweep picking. That's where the pro's come in (*cough* Gambale) - and the non-metalers, for the most part.

So yes - go forth and learn sweep picking, but try not to do it in such a way that it places you in a musical rut or box. Try variations - and non-arpeggios.

I agree with this post. A lot of metal artists took the idea of sweeping and really turned it into a blase sort of technique that you whip out to impress other guitarists; it has become the EVH-style tapping lick of our day.

That said, not every metal artist uses arpeggios in boring ways when sweeping. I feel like Luke Hoskin of Protest the Hero, AJ Minette and Dean Herrera of The Human Abstract, and Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring of Between the Buried and Me do some really interesting stuff with sweeping, creating some really cool implied melodies with sweeping.

Part of it, I think, is that arpeggios really aren't all that interesting on their own, especially not standard and second inversion arpeggios (which are the ones you encounter in most sweeping passages). Historically, arpeggios are used as a means of providing a chordal context for melodies instead of playing straight chords. In rock and metal, people get into the habit of using arpeggios as the focus of their lead and solo lines without any kind of melodic considerations, which is where things start to get boring.
#15
Both Slash and Kirk Hammett don't sweep pick (probably because they cant do it very well) and they're famous and have played for many years.

Is the technique itself really that hard to get down?


The reason they don't do it is because they don't want to. Those guys have put more hours into their instrument than almost anyone here, they just put it into different areas.

Hammet actually does sweep a bit, and I'm sure if he was interested in doing it to a high standard he could have it down in no time.

It's hard as far as particular "techniques" go but there are many harder.
#16
That said, not every metal artist uses arpeggios in boring ways when sweeping. I feel like Luke Hoskin of Protest the Hero, AJ Minette and Dean Herrera of The Human Abstract, and Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring of Between the Buried and Me do some really interesting stuff with sweeping, creating some really cool implied melodies with sweeping.


Granted, I do not mean to overgeneralize to the point of denying that there are some players who utilize it more creatively.

Part of it, I think, is that arpeggios really aren't all that interesting on their own, especially not standard and second inversion arpeggios (which are the ones you encounter in most sweeping passages). Historically, arpeggios are used as a means of providing a chordal context for melodies instead of playing straight chords. In rock and metal, people get into the habit of using arpeggios as the focus of their lead and solo lines without any kind of melodic considerations, which is where things start to get boring.


That sounds about right. One thing that can make arpeggios more interesting is some variation in how they are expressed; it doesn't have to be straight up and down. The countour of the arpeggios can be more broken up and varied. It then does become a little more melodic in content, because one is focusing on note selection more. But then, a lot of that will call for more than just sweep picking, or might not utilize it at all. There are lots of ways to play fast arpeggios without sweeping.
#17
Definitely agreed on that one. I'm actually currently experimenting with using linear sweeps as a background for low register melodies and solos on the guitar and bass. It's a bit unorthodox, but it's an idea I've been wanting to toy with for a while.

I'm also working of learning to use string skipping and tapping more fluently in my playing. There are definitely a lot of options out there that sweeping can't do nearly as well as string skipping and tapping can.
#19
When I actually think about it, while sweep picking is of course useful for certain things, it can be a pretty limiting/limited technique in terms of the combinations of notes and degree of rythmic complexity that it allows for.

Sweep picking naturally lends itself to a rythmically unbroken sequence of notes, and to relationships of notes relative to adjascent guitar strings. The more you rythmically and melodically vary and complicate the musical ideas in question, the more you are pushed toward some overall combination of techniques, and hence abandon sweeping. As soon as any string skipping is introduced, the sweep-function is broken.

It is mostly useful for arpeggios and sequences that stay relatively linear. Otherwise, I think it's a technique that a lot of (mostly younger) players have overblown/hyped. That doesn't mean I'd discourage anyone from learning it in general, but I'd caution against overeliance on it.
#21
Quote by Freepower
Hybrid picking bro. It's like sweep picking but useful.

I only sweep pick if there's a guitarist watching.

I've actually been inspired to give it a shot after watching Eric Johnson use hybrid picking pretty extensively on Cliffs of Dover. It looks like hybrid picking + legato is gonna be a good method for playing some unusual arpeggios in the future.
#22
Quote by Geldin
I've actually been inspired to give it a shot after watching Eric Johnson use hybrid picking pretty extensively on Cliffs of Dover. It looks like hybrid picking + legato is gonna be a good method for playing some unusual arpeggios in the future.


Combining all three can get you to some very very crazy places: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igMUrCofBOs
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#24
I had an acoustic guitar for one year then an electric. Its been one month since I got that guitar and I can very successfully sweep pick certain arpeggios. Just practice your butt off and anything in guitar world becomes easy very quickly