Okay.. Sweep picking exercises for beginners is the second part of the sweep picking for beginners lesson. Please start with reading sweep picking for beginners lesson first.
How to learn sweep picking starts with simplicity. Forget about the monster, full neck, six string sweeps for now. Start with three or four note chord configurations or scale patterns. The following sweep picking for beginners exercises should help you to understand associations while providing a dexterity challenge as well.
Sweep picking exercise #1, below, represents a popular rock chord progression over which a three-string sweep will sound great! First, play an Em barre chord in the seventh fret. The Em sweep in the exercise is an abbreviated, or short-form, voicing of the full, seventh fret barre chord. Played on the upper three strings, it contains the first, third, fifth, and eighth degree chord tones in order – perfect for a sweep picking arpeggio. Likewise, the D, C, and B major triads are abbreviated barre chord shapes, and they are voiced the same way. The light purple color in the diagrams indicates the root notes.
Beginning on the lowest note, and using all down strokes, slowly pick each note and lift each finger off as you go. Now, using upstrokes, reverse the flow by replacing each finger and, again, pick each note individually. Start slowly at first to reinforce finger memory and gradually speed up the pace until you’re finally sweep picking the arpeggio. Relax both hands and strive for accuracy and fluidity – the speed will come as you practice. Use the sweep picking technique over a power chord rhythm and transition to an E minor or pentatonic scale. The flashy sweeps should always connect to scale solo patterns so they don’t sound disjointed or out of place.
Sweep picking exercise #2 changes the sweep picking for beginners mood a bit to more of a jazz or rock ballad feel. First play a C barre chord in the eighth fret and pay attention to the second, third, and fourth strings (a C triad). Notice that adding your fourth finger to the chord shape in exercise #1 changes the chord from an Em to a Cmaj7. The B on the top string is the fifth of the Em chord and the seventh of a Cmaj7. In the exercise, a ninth has been added to the major seventh chords to add a little zest to the lick. The chromatically descending chord progression leaves you in perfect position to end the sweep picking arpeggio over each chord with a major or pentatonic scale passage.
Sweep picking exercise #3 focuses on the sweep picking technique for scale patterns, which can be more difficult since the target chord tones are not in a familiar chord shape. This exercise should be played over a ii – V – I progression (don’t include the bonus Am rock lick, though.) Having some knowledge regarding how to solo with modes, especially the Ionian, Dorian, and Mixolydian, will be very helpful for this exercise. To play the rock lick, sweep up and down and bend the G on the second string. Of course, you can modify any of the pattern exercises to your liking. Experiment!
How long does it take to learn sweep picking? That’s a tough question. Obviously, having innate musical talent and a natural affinity for the instrument helps immeasurably, but perseverance is the key. Playing for fifteen minutes every other day won’t cut it. Playing for two hours per day will unlock a lot of doors. If you’re practicing sweep picking technique or designing new sweep picking arpeggios, don’t spend an hour playing power chords. Focus on the subject at hand!
Sweep picking for beginners may seem like an arduous, monumental task, but it’s not. Once you get the hang of sweep picking, and you will, you’ll embark on a new musical journey. Enjoy the ride!