anyone got any tips on sweep picking?

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danny_jem86
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Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2004 2:55 pm

i been trying for ages 2 master it and i just can't seem to get it plzzz help if you can
Skyscraper
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Hey,
If you look at the second page of threads for this parts of the forums you'll find another thread about sweep picking. One of the mods also gave links to other threads about it. It's there, but in any case I've copied and pasted what I posted in that thread below for you. Hope that helps.

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Hi,
The problem isn't so much finding shapes, it's disciplining yourself to do the early part. I still haven't made it yet!

Anyway, the most common shape is a three string sweep using the last three strings of the D major shape - it looks like this when you do it on the 12th fret (so in C major):

|-------------12------(15)-----(12)------------------------------------
|-------13-------------------------------------(13)---------------------
|--12----------------------------------------------------------(12)-----
|------------------------------------------------------------------------
|------------------------------------------------------------------------
|------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's 12 (G) - 13 (C) - 12 (E) for the upward sweeps, then the bracketed notes are if you want to do a repeating pattern. To do it you can hammer on the 15 (G) and then go back down the arpeggio (the other bracketed notes indicate this). You can go down the other notes by pulling them off at first and then when you feel more confident maybe just hammer on the 15 and sweep down the rest of them. For a minor shape, just change the top E 12 to an 11 (Eb) and you have a three string sweep arpeggio minor pattern which you can make into a repeating pattern in the same way by coming down again with the 11th fret Eb instead of the 12th fret E on the top E string.

For a five string arpeggio Yngwie recommends this one to try:

|------------------------------------------------12---17---12------------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------13--------------------------------13-------------------------------------|
|--------------------------14-----------------------------------------------------14--------------------------|
|----------10---14-------------------------------------------------------------------------14---10----------|
|--12-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12-|
|--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

Again it's a repeating pattern, up and down all of the notes. You can pick the 17 (A) here if you want. It's an A Minor two-octave arpeggio. That's the trick for finding shapes, you just have to think of chord shapes mostly, since you're going to be arpeggiating a chord or at least something to fit over a chord progression, so what those chords are should suggest what you might find more appropriate to use. You can do different scale runs as sweep arpeggios, but mainly just arpeggiating the chord/progression that is backing you up will produce the best results.

Don't forget that when you sweep slowly on these kinds of exercises you want to pick in such a way that you're raking across the strings rather than picking the notes individually (picking them individually would be lifting up the pick after each note, you want your sweep picking to resemble a strum instead), even though you're only playing slowly. That way when you get faster you'll be able to use the motion you've mastered slowly and sweep properly, rather than your action being more like trying frantically to pick notes individually across strings. That might sound confusing, but if you think that you should be raking/strumming rather than just picking, that's the idea. For sweep arpeggios you might even want to practise your right and left hands independently as well and then try to bring them together, so for example with those three string patterns you could use your right hand to mute the strings and just hammer on the patterns to practise your left hand motion (keeping it slowly enough that you can do it without mistakes of course), then you could practise your right hand picking technique while muting the strings with your left hand, so that you're not worried about notes, just picking accuracy. This way you might find an efficient pattern, for instance for the five string arpeggio you might want to go down (12) - up (10) - sweep down (14-14-13-12) - up (17) - sweep up (12-13-14-14) - down (10) -down (12, so that you can repeat the pattern). Your picking hand will probably develop more quickly with these examples since it has an easier job to do but try practising each hand independently and bringing them together at a speed that's comfortable for both hands.

I'm at the beginning just like you, but I have looked into it and these seem to be the best starting points, after that it's just a question of finding positions to arpeggiate chords over three, four and five strings, or however you want to do them. I would suggest using a metronome and starting slowly to get accuracy first and then build up to speed later, otherwise you could end up with a sloppy technique or not mastering it at all if you try to go quickly too soon or get carried away through enthusiasm and lack of discipline into a world of widdly, which is pretty much what I do. :D Hope that helps.

Steven.
danny_jem86
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Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2004 2:55 pm

thx alot man n thx 4 takin the time 2 reply :D it shud b a gr8 help
kpxmikey89
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Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 7:32 pm

also.. u mite consider choosing the right pick to picksweep
it only took me a week to get the hang of sweeping tho
its reallly fun if u know how to use it well
espguitarlord
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It is just a case of practice. I found it unnatural at first to just let the pick 'fall through' the strings, but it does come together eventually.
thrashjazzassasin
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Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 5:36 am

I (hate to) agree with kpxm89, but I really struggled with sweeping at first because of my pick size. I used to play with these fairly fat picks. I now play with super thin wobbly picks, and the thinnest possible hard ones depending on what im playing. I have no problems with sweeping on either; give me a fat one and its like trying to fit a lead jack into a headphone socket...
Experiment abit
Skyscraper
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Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 4:37 am

You're welcome Danny. The most important thing though is to make sure that what you're doing is accurate before you rush it. Set yourself goals, but modest ones, like aiming to increase your metronome tempo by five beats per minute each month or every three weeks. I wouldn't really look at putting much more pressure on yourself than that, since you will after all have to keep up practising other aspects of your playing - the legato exercise idea for the shapes you're sweeping is useful for legato practice as well. Sometimes you might not always transfer what you're sweeping to a legato practise - the Yngwie five-string exercise would be a real bugger to hammer on for instance, since you have the 14-14-13 thing going on there - but some shapes could be used for sweeping and legato practice like the three-string exercises I mentioned.

Set yourself accuracy goals before you move up a gear as well, like saying you'll not allow yourself to raise the tempo unless you can comfortably play the sweep ten times consecutively at the speed you've been practising - make yourself do that over a period of about three or four days just to be sure that you're ready to move on to a new increased tempo.

Also, never start your guitar practice with sweeping exercises as not only is it not good for you without warming up first, but you'll also play much worse than if you started with some stretchy chord shapes, an easyish song and at least a couple of alternately picked scale runs at a reasonable tempo. You should be easing your way into the faster exercises, that way they won't seem as difficult or as far removed from other aspects of your playing.
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