Easy Sweep Picking Techniques

author: ProgJazzMath date: 09/24/2010 category: guitar techniques

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Exercise 1: Standard Tuning for all exercises. Strings from bottom to high in this order, E A D G B E for all exercises.
In a "down stroke pattern", play each one of those notes INDIVIDUALLY. That is the art of sweep picking. You aren't playing it as a chord. The strings shouldn't ring out. Play it slow first, just hitting one note at a time, muting each one as you get to the next. For the second part of that exercise, reverse the order, and start on the 15th note descending to 12. With this you will use an upstroke. Down stroke for the first, upstroke the next. Do you see the pattern? It's obvious why it was called sweep picking because when you Sweep a floor, you sweep from one direction, then back to another. Ask your mom she will give you a demonstration if you are unsure. This pattern is used for all Sweeping material, otherwise it wouldn't be a sweep. Down, Up, Down, Up, Down, Up. Practice this simple exercise until you can descend and ascend with ease. Exercise 2 Now once you have mastered the first exercise, you realize what you must do in order to become a successful "sweeper." In this exercise, we will use a more musical pattern. Most artists who "Sweep" live by this pattern and use it very often. Of course they throw in variations such as playing it in a different key and in different positions on the fretboard. But this simple exercise, once mastered, will have you owning all of your friends in a guitar battle.
|-------12--15--12--------| From notes 12 to 15 high E, a simple hammer between notes
|----13------------13-----| will make it sound all the better. Picking it is fine too.
Just like the first exercise use downstrokes for the ascending notes and upstrokes for the descending. This is a very easy exercise once you have mastered it. On the high E with the notes as follows, "12---15---12", You will use the hammer on to get a nice effect on the sound. Exercise 3 This is the ultimate sweep exercise to build your chops. It will incorporate the exercise from lesson 2, and an all new exercise using 5 strings. A, D, G, B and the E.
This is a 4- part process. First thing is on the A string. For the "12---15" notes, I recommend a hammer on because it gives it a smoother sound, but pick away. As soon as you hit the 15th note, start with the downstroke ascending until you hit the 12th fret on the high E. Once you have reached that point, you will hammer on from the 12 and 15 back to 12, descending back now with an upstroke. Formula = hammer on, downstroke, hammer on while going back to original note, and coming back up with an upstroke to complete the sweep. Hope you enjoyed this lesson as much as I did, this is my first ever on UG. Honestly, I think it will help you out a ton, because when I first learned, there weren't lessons like this that just got straight to the point. These 3 exercises, once mastered, will have you stepping your guitar game on so many levels. Play with a metronome at a slow BPM rate, then gradually increase. Cheers guys! Thanks for using my lesson, I hope you learn something from it. ProgJazzMath (c) 2010
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