What Is Sweep Picking?
This sweep picking lesson is aimed at the beginner, but it is designed in such a way with the intention of maximizing your efforts. In case you don’t know, a sweep is a way of playing an arpeggio. An arpeggio is when you take a chord and pick out the notes individually. Alternate picking works fine, but if you want your arpeggios to sound fluid, clean, and fast – sweep picking is the way to go.
How Do you Do Sweep Picking?
As I mentioned before, alternate picking isn’t very efficient for these patterns, so we need something more economical with our movements. Sweeps are like a strum, but very controlled. When ascending through the strings you should use only DOWN STROKES, and when descending through the strings you should use only UPSTROKES.
Practicing Sweep Picking
For this sweep lesson we will start off with a 3 string pattern and then slowly add a string at a time until we are doing a 5 string sweep. The coordination is very tricky between the right hand and the left hand, so its important that you take this first pattern and work with it for as long as you need to, at a slow rate of speed. In all honesty, it took me a very long time just to get the pick to push through all of the strings, even played slowly, so don’t beat yourself up.
It is very important that you make sure that your hammer ons and pull offs are loud and clear, as they are the driving force for the sound and the timing of this sweep. Use a metronome if you have one available. Guitar Speed Trainer is ideal.
Sweep Picking Exercise One
Sweep Picking Exercise Two
Sweep Picking Exercise Three
Sweep Picking Exercise Four
This next step isn’t as crucial as working on the other ones. This involves connecting down to the low E string in a fluid form, which involves hammer-ons and pull-offs. This means that you should put extra emphasis on making these sound clear and worry about speed second.
Sweep Picking Exercise Five