Warming Up: Sweep Picking Exercise

I've been playing guitar for about 5 years starting with playing songs by FOB, Offspring, Breaking Benjamin and Foo fighters etc, etc which playing consists of strumming. It was only about a year ago since I started getting into Prog metal bands like Protest the Hero and Between the Buried and Me. I'm a guitar autodidact, don't know much of basics but I've been coming up with random exercises what I think it'd be good for getting my (and your) fingers ready for prog metal, and much more.

Ultimate Guitar
It is very important to feel confident with all four of your fingers on the fretboard. One thing I've noticed with many guitar beginners around me is that they looked over the importance of training their fingers. I've been thinking what would be good for the training and I came up with a few practices:
Fig) 1
    (D) U  D  U (D) U  D  U   
 (D) U  D  U (D) U  D  U    (D) U  D  U (D) U  D  U   
Now, I know what you are thinking. 'ugggh another chromatic scales..' but it is important. It is so important that makes me think this is the thing that separates guitar experts from beginners(I'm not trying to imply that I'm good at guitar or anything, I suck). It is the basic exercise that literally getting your fingers used to the fretboard. As for holding a pick, I really don't have anything to say as I change my holding shape from lead playing to rhythm playing. I find Paul Guilbert pick holding shape, where you minimize the string contact surface of pick as well as a firm grip of it, very versatile for both lead and rhythm play but then again, everyone's style varies so be patient and try to spend a lot of time finding your right shape. Instead of just playing these notes plainly, try to accentuate picking on (D) and play softly on the rest so that beat pattern would be like: * o o o * o o o Da! da da da Da! da da da Getting the idea? This pattern builds both picking sensitivity and finger strength. Try both ascending and descending pattern one after another, starting from 80 BPS. It takes amazingly long time to get used to it. If you feel comfortable and confident picking them, increase the speed by 5 or 10 BPS. After mastering the pattern, try these as well..
 D (U) D  U  D (U) D  U   : o * o o  o * o o
 D  U (D) U  D  U (D) U   : o o * o  o o * o
 D  U  D (U) D  U  D (U)  : o o o *  o o o *
(D) U  d  U (D) U  d  U   : * o x o  * o x o 
(play softer on d than (D) but louder than the other)
These are evened out up and down picking patterns. Alternate picking is what I find confusing the most... So try these as well:
Fig) 2
    (D) U  D (U) D  U    (D) U  D (U) D  U   
 (D) U  D (U) D  U                
Fig) 3
  (D) U  D (U) D  U 
 (D) U  D (U) D  U    (D) U  D (U) D  U   
Alternate Patterns: 
 D (U) D  U (D) U   : o * o   o * o 
 D  U (D) U  D (U)   : o o *   o o * 
(D) U  d (D) U  d    : * o x   * o x 
More you do these exercise, better you would get at it. More importantly, try to get away from 1 to 4 frets and move up and down. I usually go up to 12 fret from the first fret in 1~4 2~5 3~6 pattern. After doing these exercises, you would feel pain in your left fingers but try not to crack them. Massage them gently ;) Sweep picking After finishing the chromatic exercises, you should feel confident with both your right and left hand. Sweep picking really does not come together until both your right and left hands synchronizes perfectly so do those exercises above more often. I usually train myself with simple exercises at very slow speed and speed it up gradually. Try the followings at 75 BPS and reach upto 120 BPS: D : Down U : Up p : Pull off h : Hammering on
Fig) 4
G Major pattern
     D  U  D  U  D  D  D   D   U  p  U  U  U   U  D  U  D
Fig) 5
G Minor pattern
     D  U  D  U  D  D  D   D   U  p  U  U  U   U  D  U  D
Fig) 6
G Half- Whole scale 
(tell me if I'm wrong, I dunno what the hell this is called)
     D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U   
  D  D  U  p  U  U  D  U     D  U  D  U  D         
This thing is especially important if you are intending to get into Metal as you can find these type of positioning a lot. Bonus! This is an intro from 'Backwards Marathon' by Between the Buried and Me. this is pretty hard stuff but once you get it, it will put a smile on your face!
BPS 145
      PM PM PM PM PM PM PM PM           PM PM PM PM  
      D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D       U D  U  D  U   
E ||------------------------------------------------|
B ||--------------------------3h-6p-3---------------|
Repeat that three times and:
               PM PM PM PM PM PM PM            
 D         U D U  D  U  D  U  D  U  D       U
This is my first time writing a lesson, so I might have mistakes. I hope I helped you readers with my lesson. Enjoy and keep the notes coming!

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    the title is misleading... it's got nothing to do with sweep picking. you did have info on some arpeggios but those aren't really the type that are conventional to sweep. nothing i don't already know, but might be good for a bare bones beginner.
    This really helped me. After doing these exercises for about 10 minutes I was able to sweep pick almost perfect. (I normally blow at sweep picking) Thanks!
    and they cut my lesson on one of the most iconic punk guitarist's ever... this is good info but they're just warmups man. Cheers though!
    jam man83
    hey that first chromatic exercise is great, but a nice variation is to do hammer-ons and pullofs for a while (i know the point is sweep PICKING, but it never hurts to get those hammerons warmed up ). man it hurts tho xD