Advanced 5 String Sweep Exercise with Chris Zoupa

Hey guys. For all you shredders wanting to take your sweeping to the next level... I have a challenging sweep exercise for you!

Ultimate Guitar
This exercise is pretty Jason Becker and Alex Skolnick (Testament) inspired. I find that the majority arpeggios I see are either 3 string noob ones or five string arpeggios being lead by the pinky. I put this exercise together to tackle the bigger and more challenging arpeggio sweeps. The chord progression for this sequence is: Am G F E7 into G#dim7
The "A" minor, "G" major and "F" major arpeggios can all be addressed similarly. The first thing to point out is the hammers on the 5th string from the root (1st note of the arpeggio) to the 3rd (major or minor). After that we ascend through the sweep and we'll have another hammer on that will occur on the first string. When incorporating hammer ons into sweeps, you must be wary of how much time it takes for the hammer on or pulloff to finish before your picking hand can restart the gliding/sweeping motion again. It might sound silly, but there's a moment of hesitation where you'll need to "waste a bit of time" so your hands can sync up again. A common problem is that the hammers will slow down the whole arpeggio or you'll see players carelessly and sloppily sweeping through which will generally sound awful. Players that do this need to take a shower and "wash off their shames." The next thing the mention is the flat finger rolls. In the minor arpeggios you'll need to roll through 2 notes with the ring finger and in the major arpeggios you'll roll through 3 notes with the middle finger. Get your head around the arpeggio shapes slowly before you start sweeping them. You can do this quite simply by just picking the individual notes. When you come across any of the flat finger moments in the arpeggio, you'll need to roll that finger to avoid any notes sustaining into each other. The most delicious of arpeggios sound like many awesome, fast notes 1 after the other. An awesome sweep can be totally mucked up when 2 to 3 notes start ringing together like a mini chord. Once again if you rush this and don't do it properly you'll need to "wash off your shames." Finally I wanted to talk about the E7 into G#diminished7 arpeggio at the end of the exercise. The sweeping on this on this last arpeggio uses the same hammer on principles from the first 3 arpeggios, but you also need to make allowances for the slides. When the hammers and slides have finished you can restart the gliding/sweep motion again on your picking hand. Be patient with this diminished sweep as it's a bit redonk. Have fun with this one guys. If we can all get good enough at sweeping, maybe we can all become janitors...
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By Chris Zoupa

25 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Does it work the other way around to? If I would work as a janitor, will I be able to sweep?
    Justified Death
    This is a great lesson, good beginner sweeps...but can he play them slow? That seems to be the problem with a lot of shredders. They can play them light speed, so even if they do mess up, you cant hear it over layers of distortion and the other notes. Take Jason Becker or Alex Skolnick for example (the two famous references this article is based upon); they could execute sweeps, yet be able to play them slow enough they became arpeggios instead. Don't get me wrong, I love shredding, and this guy is an amazing teacher, as I have learned many things from him. Just witnessing him play the sweeps at the same lightning speed throughout brought this...revelation to mind. Great job Mr. Zoupa, and congratulations on your award.
    Great lesson! I've got alot of practice (and subsequent showers) ahead of me, but maybe one day I'll make a good janitor too
    Wow that was clean. I am very impressed. This is definitely going into my practice file. Very good lesson. That diminished sweep makes me need to go homes and takes a showers though.
    This guy makes the front page every day. I wish I was as good at guitar as him!! You're the best teacher on youtube
    So many of your video lessons are short, concise, and easy to follow. I am still a beginner, but your videos give me hope that all these techniques and theory are very doable. Keep up the good work, and thank you.
    This lesson mentions Alex Skolnik and Jason Becker... two ok sweepers I guess. The real king of the sweep is not even mentioned here... Ralph Macchio! Learn the beginning of the Crossroads solo for another great exercise in 5 and 6 string sweeps. That Macchio really tears it up!
    It's a good lesson, explained the concepts very well and precise. I wish the display was a lot cleaner. The sweeps in the video are done fast and sloppy instead of precise. The key to sweeping isn't about how fast you can do it, it's about how clean you can make those things sound and make each note ring out. Fast sloppy sweeps are terrible to listen to, while slightly slower and precise clean sweeps are a ****ing beauty. You can listen to the beginning of Alaska or the end of Selkies: The Endless Obsession by Between the Buried and Me for some examples of extremely clean sweep riffs, that while not insanely fast are very clean, and a beauty to listen to. If you want to hear some insanely fast sweeps you can check out pretty much anything from Jeff Loomis' solo project. That guy is impossible. I saw him live at a small local venue earlier this year with Soilwork, and he pretty much stole the show.
    the lesson is great, however the barre using patterns seems to be too advanced for my current guitar playing level.
    I'm having trouble, I end up tremolo picking everything, what is the picking like when you sweep? It looks like hes just playing a couple notes,is the rest tapping?
    The demo is very badly done. It needs to be shown slower. It's a single down stroke for the notes going down, and a single upstroke for the notes going up.
    Ha.... ya, totally tongue-in-cheek. It never gets old watching Ralph Macchio out shred Steve Vai, lol.
    you are one of the coolest guitarist i ever see man thanks for the lessons