#1
Until this year I never really took sweeps seriously. I'd try them every now and again out of boredom (I'm mainly a strict alt. picker with occasional legato thrown in), but could never speed up because the picking motion seemed so awkward. For some reason however, after 7 years it's finally starting to feel more natural.

For 3-string sweeps I've nailed my downstrokes to perfection, and I always do a smooth hammer-pull on the top note to cheat a bit (as I first learnt to do with 2-string legato patterns), but on the way back up there's still some awkwardness - especially on the upstroke-downstroke turnaround for the bottom note.

Now, onto the actual cheating: just do away with upstrokes altogether! All I do is hammer the middle string on the way up, and the whole thing turns into one big economy-picked downstroke loop like in my 2-string example above. So the sequence would be D-D-D-H-P-H...

e|-----8h11p8--------8h11p8--------8h11p8--------8h11p8----|
B|---9--------h9---9--------h9---9--------h9---9--------h9-|
G|-8-------------8-------------8-------------8-------------|
   ^ ^ ^         ^ ^ ^         ^ ^ ^         ^ ^ ^


... and it works a charm! I feel like such a sneak. Has anyone else gone this route?
Last edited by DaFjory at Jun 16, 2013,
#2
I've seen people go that route, however, you shouldn't cheat it, because with a poor technique like that, there will be a lot of sweeps that you'll never be able to do, like this;

e 15------------12-15-12
B ---12-----12------------
G -------12--------------


On top of that, a majority of guitarists can play a three string minor sweep, so you'll effectively have to relearn the technique, which is never worth it. Besides, while it may work like a charm for an inexperienced sweeper, an experienced sweeper would be able to tell that it was 'cheated', if you will, as the tone won't be even, and in sweep picking, you want to keep the tone as even as you can.
#3
Quote by CelestialGuitar
e 15------------12-15-12
B ---12-----12------------
G -------12--------------


For that, I would just avoid the 'rolling' part and play an alternative shape instead...

e|----------15----------|
B|-------17----17-------|
G|----16----------16----|
D|-17----------------17-|


Fucking hell, I hate that rolling thingy. I always try some other sequence of the same notes to avoid it. Cheating again, I know.

Quote by CelestialGuitar
On top of that, a majority of guitarists can play a three string minor sweep, so you'll effectively have to relearn the technique, which is never worth it.


There is that, to some extent. For 4 strings my above method still works reasonably, but it starts to fall apart at 5 strings due to the unevenness of the motion. I'll probably still end up forcing myself to learn the upstrokes at some point (right now they're OK, just not as fast as my downstrokes), but right now I'm having fun playing the shorter, 3-string 'sweepies' as I call them, for the first time at speed.

in sweep picking, you want to keep the tone as even as you can.


Not so sure about that. I know Batio's sweeps are mechanically even, and that sounds awesome for his style, but personally I quite like mixing in the legato tonal quality amongst the pickstrokes. It's like how I use a combination of pounds and kilograms - it works for me, but nobody else.
#4
How you describe it is actually how I was taught to sweep. At the same time I was encouraged to not do it for 4 strings and more.

The purpose of only downstroking for 3 string sweeps is to save you a lot of effort as the motion can be so quick that you're only going to make yourself sound more sloppy. I'm sure many would disagree with that. With enough gain (of course not overdoing the gain) and a good enough hammer you can't notice the fact you're not upstroking.
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#5
it's cool to do things differently on purpose, but doing it differently because you're unable to do it the "proper" way is naturally less satisfying, isn't it?
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#6
Quote by Lavatain
How you describe it is actually how I was taught to sweep. At the same time I was encouraged to not do it for 4 strings and more.

The purpose of only downstroking for 3 string sweeps is to save you a lot of effort as the motion can be so quick that you're only going to make yourself sound more sloppy. I'm sure many would disagree with that. With enough gain (of course not overdoing the gain) and a good enough hammer you can't notice the fact you're not upstroking.


I don't mean to be rude but... What. If you can truly sweep, you can do it on a clean channel, and you're only sloppy if you've practiced it poorly, or are going too fast.
#7
^ Admittedly the clean channel part is a definite downer on this cheat, which I only just realised. I know I'll also have to perfect the upstrokes at some point, since gain is the only way to make this kinda 'economy sweeping' sound passable. Take away the gain, and the hammered note in the middle becomes too obvious.

In a way, it's like a cheap n' nasty way for someone to play 3-string sweeps if they're feeling impatient, but the reality is that one still has to learn their upstrokes as well once they're done messing around. I wasn't actually promoting it as a replacement for proper sweeping, but rather a li'l tip for anyone needing quick gains.
Last edited by DaFjory at Jun 16, 2013,
#8
if at any point you feel like you're incapable of doing any technique, you should focus all your energy on developing that technique properly. the hammer-on trick will restrict your sounds heavily, make it more difficult when you venture to 5+ string sweeps, and will make your life miserable muting.

don't be such a lazy pussy, TS. i sweep on a bass and i don't even use a pick
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#9
Thats exactly why I would not recommend starting with 3 string sweeps, they don´t really have an upstroke sweep, just a single note upstroked. There is no reason not to hammer that note if the pattern allows it btw. You can see pros do it all the time.
Starting with 5 string patterns seems smarter for learning purposes.
#10
for some sweep patterns, hammering on the way down is advised really, so not really cheating. But good to master both ways so that you can do a variety of patterns in the end
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#11
Quote by Facecut
Thats exactly why I would not recommend starting with 3 string sweeps, they don´t really have an upstroke sweep, just a single note upstroked. There is no reason not to hammer that note if the pattern allows it btw. You can see pros do it all the time.
Starting with 5 string patterns seems smarter for learning purposes.


This was the most helpful post so far IMO. A while ago I realised that 3-string sweeps feel very different to 4- and 5-string ones. I don't know if it has something to do with the note groupings changing up each time, but I feel as though 2-string economy picked sweeps and 3-string sweeps (with maybe a hammer thrown in) are very similar to each other and provide more legato opportunities than their 4- and 5-string brethren, which feel more like 'genuine' sweep patterns due to the amount of pickstrokes that can be crammed in.

Quote by Shredx
for some sweep patterns, hammering on the way down is advised really, so not really cheating. But good to master both ways so that you can do a variety of patterns in the end


Very much so. Even Tony MacAlpine once showed in an interview how he sometimes 'cheated' his sweeps by hammering on the way down, or simply doing all-legato with no pickstrokes (obviously large amounts of gain needed). Plus I love the legato-esque sound of his sweeps overall, so I don't think there's much wrong with what I'm doing right now, providing I eventually get my upstrokes sorted out.
#12
Quote by DaFjory
This was the most helpful post so far IMO. A while ago I realised that 3-string sweeps feel very different to 4- and 5-string ones. I don't know if it has something to do with the note groupings changing up each time, but I feel as though 2-string economy picked sweeps and 3-string sweeps (with maybe a hammer thrown in) are very similar to each other and provide more legato opportunities than their 4- and 5-string brethren, which feel more like 'genuine' sweep patterns due to the amount of pickstrokes that can be crammed in.


try not to think of 3-string arpeggios differently than 5-string. what's stopping you from hammering your way down from a 5-string arpeggio? and if you dissect it, the little upstroke on your way back down from a 3-string arpeggio is no different than the last upstroke you do on a 5-string arpeggio - you have to quickly change directions all the same. and it's not like you don't know how to do it, it's just a quick alternate outside picking (at least for me, you could do inside if you want). i think part of learning technique is convincing yourself that it's simple, that everything boils down to the same basic movements.
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#13
... and it works a charm! I feel like such a sneak. Has anyone else gone this route?


Yeah, I sometimes do this kinda thing, but more importantly I think Rusty Cooley used to try to NEVER sweep descending, to always hammer it. Martin Goulding does this with diminished arpeggios as well.
#14
Quote by vIsIbleNoIsE
it's just a quick alternate outside picking (at least for me, you could do inside if you want).


I had to re-read this part a few times at first, but I found it really interesting once I figured out what you meant. Just now I tried it for myself, having never thought of doing it that way before. I'm an outside picker most of the time (inside only for 2nps pentatonics), and like you said it gives the sweep a kinda alternate picking feel, which I like.

So I think you might be onto something there. For a 4-string sweep, the sweeping motion is retained in that you're still going U-U-U, but then there's an outside-picked jump from the 3rd string to the 4th, rather than the (IMO) awkward inside-picked transition. Nice! Can anyone else vouch for this?

Quote by Freepower
Yeah, I sometimes do this kinda thing, but more importantly I think Rusty Cooley used to try to NEVER sweep descending, to always hammer it. Martin Goulding does this with diminished arpeggios as well.


See I always had this feeling that I hadn't discovered anything new, and that some pro guitarist would've used it, even just for messing around. MacAlpine certainly does it all the time, as I mentioned above, but Cooley as well? And when you say "used to", does that mean he doesn't anymore?
Last edited by DaFjory at Jun 18, 2013,
#15
Goulding's cool. Here he highlights the MacAlpine method...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG9gjfSoVe8

See? Hammers all the way down on 5 goddamn strings. It's good to cheat. Fuck upstrokes.
#16
Being that I pick sideways and very differently from any other guitarist I've ever seen, I double stroke each sweep note (hit the first and miss the second) as if tremolo picking.

Not easy to do, but the sideways style I self-taught makes it work for me. I can't pick like normal players, but I look cool while I sweep. Like I'm a flailing fish. 8)
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#17
You can definately do that but as an option not as a necessity.You should be able to do both.A good way to get good at upstrokes too is to make it a goal to pick every single note.... that means no hammerons or pullofs at any point(ascending or decending)....basically you ll try to economy pick everything.....

That ll make it a bit awkward at first but you ll get it pretty soon and you ll find out that it locks you into position more and doesnt disrupt your sweep picking motion.Also practise those rolls mate...they are not that hard plus you ll need them for even pentatonic playing not just sweeping .
#18
Cooley as well? And when you say "used to", does that mean he doesn't anymore?


I know Cooley was big into this years ago, I don't know if he is any more. We're talking like 5+ years ago so I didn't want to say how he does it now.
#19
Quote by DragTheWaters11
Being that I pick sideways and very differently from any other guitarist I've ever seen, I double stroke each sweep note (hit the first and miss the second) as if tremolo picking.

Not easy to do, but the sideways style I self-taught makes it work for me. I can't pick like normal players, but I look cool while I sweep. Like I'm a flailing fish. 8)


Not a sweep then is it?
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#20
So! Just over 3 months later and I can definitely say it was good not to cheat. I still occasionally mess around with the no-upstrokes thing per my OP, but perseverance has managed to make my upstrokes match my downstrokes in terms of speed and fluidity. It's great to have them feel pretty damn natural now.

The only part which still feels a bit clunky is the inside-picked transition from U-D on the lowest 2 strings of a pattern. I've heard that 3-string sweeps are the hardest to get it right, which is why I've really concentrated on doing those instead of 4- or 5-stringers. I've noticed that Batio does an outside-picked jump, but then favours inside picking for string-skipped patterns... Weird!