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Basic movements of sweep picking

Rating: 0 user(s) have rated this lesson Posted by: DanielKaczmarczyk, on May 03,2012, in category Guitar Techniques Views: this lesson has been read 1888 times
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Sweep picking is one of the most jaw-dropping techniques ever invented. It’s really hard to master and needs a lot of practice. Most people get scared away after few tries of sweeps, mostly because they start five, or even six string sweeps. Today’s lesson will cover basic movements that will help you to develop chops needed for more complex sweeps. The term “sweeping” comes from the movement of the right hand ( picking hand ). It basically sweeps the pick over the strings. Remember to mute all the unwanted string noise and make all the notes clear.

The pick movement is not the hardest part in the whole sweeping style. Coordination of both - picking and fretting hands is crucial. This is why you have to start really slow and with really simple exercises. We’ll start with picking hand.

Sweep picking exercise 1:

Mute the strings with your left hand, so they don’t ring at all and sweep up and down, just as the tab shows. V - downstroke (to the floor) n - upstroke (to the ceiling)

    V   V  V  V  V  V       n  n  n  n  n  n
E |-----------------x----|--x-------------------|
B |--------------x-------|-----x----------------|
G |-----------x----------|--------x-------------|
D |--------x-------------|-----------x----------|
A |-----x----------------|--------------x-------|
E |--x-------------------|-----------------x----|

Start with this kind of exercise till you’re sure with your picking hand. Start with the four strings, then try five and six. Sweeping movement should be really smooth. Don’t pick the strings separately !

Sweep picking exercise 2:

After you’ve got the no.1, try adding left hand workout. This guitar lesson is going to be a purely technical one, so the exercises are going to be really non-musical. They don’t hurt ears, though :). This one involves fretting hand work. Start slow and build coordination first.

Firstly - downstrokes

     n  n  n  n  n  n  n  n       n  n  n  n                
E |----------------------------|-----------4----------------|
B |-----------------------4----|--------3-------------------|
G |-----------4--------3-------|-----2----------------------|
D |--------3--------2----------|--1-------------------------|
A |-----2--------1-------------|----------------------------|
E |--1-------------------------|----------------------------|

Secondly - upstrokes

  V  V  V  V  V  V  V  V       V  V  V  V

Sweep picking exercise 3:

After combining both hand work, let’s try sweeping in both directions.

     n  n  n  V  V  n  n  n       V  V  V  n  n  n  V  V
E |----------------------------|-----------------4----------||
B |----------------------------|--------1-----3-----3-------||
G |-----------------------4----|-----2-----2-----------2----||
D |--------3-----------3-------|--3-------------------------||
A |-----2-----2-----2----------|----------------------------||
E |--1-----------1-------------|----------------------------||

If you know how it works, make up your own exercises of that kind. Be creative in it - remember, only your imagination is the limit. If the exercise is too easy for you, make it difficult.

Sweep picking exercise 4:

Legato techniques just like hammer-on and pull-off are very helpful in more complex sweeps. Including them in this workout is a must, so try that exercise.

     n  n  n  n           V       V  V           n  n  n    
E |----------------------------|----------------------------|
B |----------------------------|----------------------------|
G |-----------4h-3h-2h-1-------|-----------------------4h---|
D |--------3--------------2----|--------------------3-------|
A |-----2----------------------|--3--------------2----------|
E |--1-------------------------|-----4h-3h-2h-1-------------|

           V  V  V                n  n  n        V  V    

  V  V           n  n  n

Again, make your own exercises in that manner, combining sweeping in both directions and legato techniques. When you will start with sweeping musical stuff, just like arpeggios, trying to be next Yngwie, you will be really ready for them!

Remember - if something is starting to be too easy, make it really hard and awkward. When you will conquer the challenge, you will feel a great progress. If it gets boring, try some musical sweeps, just as simple three-note arpeggios. Have fun!

Thanks for reading and I wish you luck!

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