I don't know how many times the question "What shapes to sweep?" comes
up. The question pretty much reflects a total lack of understanding of how
to construct arpeggios. Once you actually understand what the notes are, it's
very simple to make up your own. I'll go thru just a couple of very simple steps,
pictorially, which ought to demystify where all those "common shapes" you
might already know come from. If any of this goes right over your head, you
REALLY should bone up on basic theory.

is 3 notes composing the root - 3rd - 5th and is also the major chord. For the
purposes of sweeping, we'll build our triads on 3 adjacent strings -- 1 note of
the triad per string. One more piece of knowledge about triads to know is that
they can be *inverted*. That means they can be reordered on the 3 strings thus:

1st Inversion = root - 3 - 5
2nd Inversion = 5 - root - 3
3rd Inversion = 3 - 5 - root

So, Here is a picture of G major triads on the top 3 strings in it's 3 inversions:

You really should know that by heart. It's REALLY important for chord construction
and improvising.

Now, I'm going to fill out the picture on all 6 strings. Take the EXACT SAME TRIAD.
Lower it an octave. And stick it on the lower 3 strings and you get:

What you now have is the 3 PRIME DIAGONALS for constructing any and all of your
swept arpeggios. Each diagonal is composed of 2 triads of the same inversion
pasted on the lower 3 strings and upper 3 strings.

You could sweep those diagonals as is, but it's common to add "turnaround notes"
to each end so you can turn around and reverse direction easily in the sweep.

Here's an example of a 6 string sweep where the turnaround notes are taken from
the upper and lower diagonals (this keeps it strictly a major arpeggio, but you
could choose other turnaround notes for different flavors):

You can make sweeps out of any 3, 4, 5, or 6 strings along the diagonal. Another
interesting way to look at this is that ANY 3 ADJACENT strings along ANY of the
diagonals are just major triad inversions:

There's also no reason you can't construct sweeps that go between diagonals, but
most of the common shapes, some of which you probably recognize, come right
from those 3 prime ones. Plus it's just a handy way to remember them and how
they're laid out.

That's about all you need to know about the core structure of arpeggio shapes.
By adding some notes you can get a wide variety of flavors -- 7ths is common. You
should also visualize this with in the context of a scale so you can add in other
scale notes. This is just basic structure, so you're on your own for that.

Finally, here's the minor and diminished versions (for G). Exactly the same
things apply and they were built in the exact same way as G Major by lowering
the 3rd (minor) or lowering both 3rd and 5th (dim). Armed with all these, you should
be able to sweep through any scale diatonically up and down the entire neck.

You should probably post this as a lesson. It's quite useful!
Professional Mixing available at request.

Everton FC
i cant see the pictures!!!
I see pictures fine.
Call me Batman.
Thank you edg, you have done the forum a huge favor by potentially cutting down on the "what sweep shapes?" threads.
Quote by edg
Every time I've tried submitting a lesson it goes into a black hole so I don't try
any more.

Do the pictures not show up for everyone?
That's too bad. This is such a better explanation(and answer) to what people ask all the time. Please, for the sake of this forum, try again. That way you can link it in your sig and say in every post "follow the sig n00B!"
Gear:
Inflatable Guitar
Digitech GSP 2101/Mosvalve 962/Yamaha S412V
My Imagination
Your inversions are named incorrectly. It should be :

Root Position: Root 3 5
First Inversion: 3 5 Root
Second Inversion: 5 Root 3
Quote by edg
Hm. Could have sworn I've seen it both ways, but maybe not...

Nope. Third inversion is only used when a seventh chord has the seventh in the bass.