Learn To Sweep. Pt 1

This lesson is on the basics/fundamentals of sweeping. I've broken up the sweep lessons into 3 parts. With this lesson you will learn the basic sweep patterns (on three strings, for now) and be able to get a basic understanding on how sweeping works.

30

Sweeping Technique

To make it easier to learn the later exercises, it would be good to keep these things in mind (and begin doing asap.)
  • First, Hold your pick with your thumb and index finger, making sure your middle finger is not involved with the pick at all. EX: I keep my middle, ring, and pinky fingers extended at all times. This will come in handy in the Sweep Tapping exercises. (Keep pick angled opposite of the direction your sweeping in.)
  • Second, When doing Rolling Sweeps, remember to keep the finger that will hold the most strings down straight. This will most often be the ring or middle finger (depending on what your comfortable with.) This technique will minimize the chances of missing a note, or it not ringing out loud enough.
  • Third, When doing Rolling Sweeps, remember to lift your finger once it's served it's purpose. This will prevent the note from ringing out over the next note, and will in turn sound clean.
  • Fourth, Legato is your friend. Use legato for now when you can until you've developed your technique. When you're comfortable with sweeping, then you can begin picking out notes on the same string, but for now keep it simple.
  • Fifth, Tuning down may be something to consider because it makes it considerably easier to hit the notes, and who doesn't like that heavy tone?
  • Sixth, a sweep isn't 100% percent correct until every note can be heard clearly. This means, don't show-off, once you think you have it down chances are you still haven't got it 100% and nobody likes a show-off.

    Complex Sweeps

    It's not an official term, but I'm going to use it to describe all sweeps that aren't Basic 3-String/Rolling Sweeps.

    Basic Sweeps

    The easiest of all sweeps are the not so complicated 3-string sweeps. They are the easiest to get a grasp of, and once you have them down you can move on to more complicated sweeps. (After you finish these exercises I recommend you move on to Rolling Sweeps, they are pretty easy to grasp after you learn the motion, and it's important to learn how to use your picking hand without having to focus very much. This will allow you to concentrate on your left hand in more difficult exercises so that you don't make many mistakes.) I find it's easier to begin with the highest note of the sweep, this way it will sound cleaner going down, and you won't emphasize as much on the lower notes which tend to ring-out and hum over higher ones (this may not matter with 3-string sweeps, but in later exercises it will be good to know... until you've developed your technique that is.) Though you can begin on the lowest note and work your way up from there if you like that more. Basic Progression Major
    [---15p12------12h15~]
    [--------13--13------]
    [----------12--------]

    [---15p12------12h15p12------12h15p12------12h15p12------12h15~]
    [--------13--13--------13--13--------13--13--------13--13------]
    [----------12------------12------------12------------12--------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    Basic Progression Minor
    [---17p13------13h17~]
    [--------14--14------]
    [----------15--------]

    [---17p13------13h17p13------13h17p13------13h17p13------13h17~]
    [--------15--15--------15--15--------15--15--------15--15------]
    [----------14------------14------------14------------14--------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    Basic Progression Diminished
    [---15p12------12h15~]
    [--------14--14------]
    [----------12--------]

    [---15p12------12h15p12------12h15p12------12h15p12------12h15~]
    [--------14--14--------14--14--------14--14--------14--14------]
    [----------12------------12------------12------------12--------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    Basic Progression Augmented
    [---17p13------13h17~]
    [--------14--14------]
    [----------14--------]

    [---17p13------13h17p13------13h17p13------13h17p13------13h17~]
    [--------14--14--------14--14--------14--14--------14--14------]
    [----------14------------14------------14------------14--------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    [--------------------------------------------------------------]
    Once you have these basic sweeps down you can move on to the next section. Or you can move onto them now, seeing as though I can't force you to do anything. Just don't let me find out, lol.

    Putting 3-String Sweeps Together

    With your new found god-like abilities, I bet you're wondering, what can I do with this? Your answer, practically nothing. Truth be told, until you've gained a slight mastery over the subject, it's difficult to incorporate sweeping into songs without it being boring. For now here's an exercise to build your ability to move the Sweeps.
    [---17p13------13h17\15p12------12h15/17p13------13h17/19p15------15h19~]
    [--------15--15-----------13--13-----------15--15-----------17--17------]
    [----------14---------------12---------------14---------------16--------]
    [-----------------------------------------------------------------------]
    [-----------------------------------------------------------------------]
    [-----------------------------------------------------------------------]
    You can use this to build your speed, accuracy, and concentration. You can do a variety of these types of exercises (if you stick to your scales they might even sound good.) You can also move them around however you want on the neck. It doesn't have to be in that spot to sound good (I find that the area of the neck between frets 12-21 is the safest place to sweep.) Just practice them mindlessly and eventually you can be one of the great few mentioned above, except you'll have friends! Isn't sweeping fun!

    Incorporating Diminished and Augmented Sweeps

    Diminished and Augmented Sweeps are very dissonant. They are arpeggiated versions of their Chromatic counterparts. The best way to incorporate them into your sweeping is to play them apart from one another, or keep them separate as long as possible. 2 negatives make a positive but 2 dissonants do not make a consonant. Diminished sweeps sound best after Major sweeps, and Augmented sweeps sound best after Minor sweeps. Keep practicing these patterns until you think you're ready to move on to the next lesson. If you'd like me to submit more exercises, just contact me and I'll see what I can do, thanks. key: ~ Vibrato b Bend r Release from bend t Tap p Pull-off h Hammer-on Lesson by Cleptobismal
  • 30 comments sorted by best / new / date

    comments policy
      cleptobismal
      Ub3rDork wrote: sorry to sound like an idiot. but is there a way for an audio file to be added to hear examples/speeds etc etc?
      r u asking for me to add an audio track, or that you want to add one of your own?
      Wolfinator-x
      On the Basic Progressive Minor exercise, you put "17, 13, 14, 15, 14, 13, 17", and on the one right after, demonstrating the full exercise, you put "17, 13, 15, 14, 15, 13, 17". Basically, you swapped the 14s for 15s.
      cleptobismal
      Wolfinator-x wrote: On the Basic Progressive Minor exercise, you put "17, 13, 14, 15, 14, 13, 17", and on the one right after, demonstrating the full exercise, you put "17, 13, 15, 14, 15, 13, 17". Basically, you swapped the 14s for 15s.
      huh, that's weird... o well.
      Steiger
      Thanks for the lesson, could you please explain picking direction for these three string exercises. When I pick downwards I tend to also pick the thrid string which makes it a bit of a struggle missing it on th eway up to the second string?
      FrankZappa09
      Good lesson, i used a four string sweep in 'Fur Elise' without even noticing..... Just gotta speed it up slowly now.....
      Ub3rDork
      sorry to sound like an idiot. but is there a way for an audio file to be added to hear examples/speeds etc etc?
      cleptobismal
      thunderbird2007 wrote: Er am I thick? What the hell is sweeping. Your instruction doesn't really tell me what it is.
      Sorry, I submitted a lesson that actually explains what sweeping is and how it's done, this one only covers exercises. PICSel hasn't been on for like 53 years, if he logs on sometime this decade, he might approve it, not sure tho. LOL
      Teo56
      I find it quite useful. I was focusing on coordenating both hand but I forgot the small detail about the right hand fingers. And u've put a lot of exercises, gonna do them Thanks
      waal
      Phe4rTheGod wrote: You should show picking direction, I know when I first started learning sweeps I had a hard time changing my picking on the third string to down instead of up...it feels easier at first to sweep through the third string and come down on the second, but it isn't... If that made any sense...
      YA this made sense to me. Thank you for the comment!!
      MattyPS
      I've been playing the guitar for a bit more than a year, is it too early for considering sweeping? I mean, would it be a waste of time or can I try ?
      ElmoFTW.
      This is awesome, i've been wanting to learn how to sweep for ages now, thanks, dude.
      xShogunx
      This will take a while, but i think I finally found the lesson that will work for me.
      floydrose09
      could you show what fingers hit what notes on the fretboard??? that would help so much so i know what im doing w/ my fingers!!
      ML7
      Thanks, helped me, im fairly new to sweep picking and starting to get the hang of it.
      new_guitar
      Well, arpeggios and sweeps help your technique, but they are really boring. If you are using them, don't overuse!!!
      cleptobismal
      Idoless_ wrote: i hold my pick with my middle finger too and i can sweep as well dude
      the sugestion is for people to keep one of their tapping fingers open for use in later exercises. I didn't specifically mean the middle finger. Sorry about the wording.
      Phe4rTheGod
      You should show picking direction, I know when I first started learning sweeps I had a hard time changing my picking on the third string to down instead of up...it feels easier at first to sweep through the third string and come down on the second, but it isn't... If that made any sense...
      gradian
      Good read, to me sweep picking is the hardest. My left and right hand just want to work together sometimes.... I will be practicing this like crazy.
      cleptobismal
      rlheart wrote: i liked it. Helped me quite a bit. Can you do one on 4, 5, and 6 string soon?
      Theres 2 more parts to come. pt 2 will be added next week, it's on 4 and 5-String sweeps.
      Idoless_
      the sugestion is for people to keep one of their tapping fingers open for use in later exercises. I didn't specifically mean the middle finger. Sorry about the wording.
      i see it doesn't matter btw very good lesson can't wait for the next one
      cleptobismal
      For those giving it a bad rating, it looks unatractive to people who want to learn. I'm guessing that the people who are doing it, probably already know how to sweep and think it's bad because it's easy. It's easy for the fact that beginners need to start out at a slow pace. I'll have harder stuff up eventually, just be patient
      Life Is Brutal
      Good lesson. I also Disagree with the middle finger position. I wouldn't have your middle finger out and extended if I knew I was playing something without sweep tapping, And would only do that if I was playing a piece with sweep tapping. You didn't explain how to sweep at all, just gave them a few sweeps. Good lesson though, 10. BTW people, Ive got a lesson with some more arpeggios labeled "Sweep Arpeggios" If you want some more before his next lesson.
      Ezek-ial_7
      quite impresssed by this shane.. if only you put this much effort in music theory haha.. but seriously.. pretty helpful set of exercises.. recognize some of them from when you were showing me some the other day.
      cleptobismal
      andrewAnimosity wrote: thought i already left a good comment guess not but this is like the 4th time ive looked at this great lesson dude
      thanks
      andrewAnimosity
      thought i already left a good comment guess not but this is like the 4th time ive looked at this great lesson dude
      rlheart
      i liked it. Helped me quite a bit. Can you do one on 4, 5, and 6 string soon?