Advanced Sweep Picking Arpeggiation

author: Brad204 date: 10/01/2010 category: guitar techniques

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In this lesson, I'm going to show how to pull more sweeps out of any arpeggio, by using a bit of chord theory. I recommend understanding triads before tackling this lesson. Now if you've dabbled in 5 string sweeping, you probably know a few sweeps, maybe one major and one minor, but can't connect them without leaping through large position shifts across the neck. I'll show you a couple of ways of dealing with this. First of all, lets take a basic Major sweep. If you haven't learned any Major sweeps that look like this, just try and follow along.
This sweep is made of all the notes in a major triad, so it has the First, the Third, and the Fifth of a major scale. The root note of this sweep is the very first note, a G. So therefore we have the notes G (First), B(Third), and D (Fifth) making our G major triad. Now lets say you wanted a G major sweep, but for some reason you didn't want that particular sweep. Maybe you were just doing a higher or lower sweep, and you can't shift positions fast enough, or maybe you just didn't like that particular sounds. Well there's more options, and these are called "inversions". Just like with chords, you can make different inversions of any sweep by rearranging the order in which the chord tones appear (IE If you had a C major chord/sweep, you can have either C-E-G, E-G-C, G-C-E, ect.ect.). This can be done simply by making the second note in our G major sweep the first note, and moving all of the notes up one respectively. This is what you get:
Now instead of the order G-B-D (1-3-5), we moved it to B-D-G (3-5-1), Moving each note in the position up one respectively. This gives us the same arpeggio, but in a different position higher on the neck. If we move our original arpeggio down one note instead we get this:
Same idea, but now we`ve gone from G-B-D (1-3-5) to D-G-B (5-1-3), lowering the position of our arpeggio. This is the last 5 string major sweep of this type. Since there are only three notes in a major triad, there can only be 3 different bass notes, making the different inversions fairly easy to figure out for any triad. These inversions can be done with any sweep you can think of, although some might not be easy to play. I recommend learning all of the Minor inversions as well, just to give yourself more of a "vocabulary" with sweeping.
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