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Sweep Picking for Guitar

Sweep Picking for Guitar

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Published by guitargremlin
A complete guitar lesson on sweep picking for your enjoyment. In this lesson we'll take a look at how to get started sweep picking, and then slowly work our way up to perfection. Enjoy!
A complete guitar lesson on sweep picking for your enjoyment. In this lesson we'll take a look at how to get started sweep picking, and then slowly work our way up to perfection. Enjoy!

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Published by: guitargremlin on Apr 01, 2009
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08/10/2015

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Sweep Picking Guitar Lesson

If you're salivating at the mouth because you desperately want to learn how pull off the awesome technique known as sweep picking, then you've come to the right place. It is here where I will show you how to get started, the RIGHT way. We'll start small, grow big, and conquer mountains together – ready?

WHAT IS SWEEP PICKING?
Sweep picking is a more economical way to play a series of notes, either fast or slow, but keep in mind that sweep picking can also help a guitar player produce notes at very fast rates of speed. Sweep picking is used with arpeggios, which is when a musician plays the notes of a chord, one by one, either ascending or descending. As long as it has at least three notes, it is technically an arpeggio, but this doesn't really matter, because you can apply the sweep approach to just two strings, which would be economy picking. Economy picking is very similar to sweep picking and they both use the same approach. Lets say that you wish to play a B minor chord, and that you are going to play it like an arpeggio, picking out one note at a time, ascending. Instead of using alternate picking like you would for repeating patterns, and guitar runs, it would be more beneficial to use sweep picking. When sweep picking is used, the guitar player brushes through the strings with only down strokes for ascending, and up strokes for descending, but there is a trick to it.

Incredible Sweep Picking Lesson HERE >>

HOW TO SWEEP PICK
Sweep picking is one of the most highly desired techniques to master out their in the world of guitar, and for good reason. Sweep picking is a highly economical way to play notes, but it also can bring a great deal of variety to your playing.

PRACTICING SWEEP PICKING
Sweep picking is not the easiest technique to master that is available to a guitar player. Sweep picking can be very frustrating when first starting out, because it requires the most amount of control probably over all guitar techniques. That being said, let's take a look at how we can practice sweep picking in a way that will deliver results. You've got two hands that are working together in a way that they never have before. The right hand which is going to handle all of your picking must perform with absolute precision and grace, while the fretting hand must also act with this same kind of accuracy. So, let's break it down.

THE PICKING HAND
Sweep picking uses only down strokes to ascend through strings and up strokes to descend through strings, and yes you can indeed add hammer ons and pulls offs in key areas. However, when I say picking, I'm not talking about picking movement. Sweep picking is like a controlled strum, or a string rake. This means that you cannot strum all the strings at once, or else it would sound like a chord, but at the same time you cannot pick the strings out in the way that you would pick notes with alternate picking, or any other kind of picking. So what do we do then? Think of your picking hand as dead weight. It also helps to imagine that there is a string that is controlling your picking hand. This string is controlled by a mechanism, perhaps a small motor, that releases the string, and therefor your hand with perfect timing and control. Incredible Sweep Picking Lesson HERE >>

The same goes for descending. The string is raised and your picking hand has no say so in the matter. It simply moves with the timing and control of the string. The idea is to let the pick fall through the strings as it wants to, eliminating how your hand wants to control it. Let the weight of your hand push the guitar pick through each string, but do not use any tension to actually push the string. The weight of your hand alone is enough.

THE FRETTING HAND
The fretting hand can be equally tricky, because you cannot hold down all of the notes at once, or else the sweep will ring together as a chord. You have to master the coordination of lifting your fingers up and placing them upon new notes, just as the picking hand brushes through the correct string.

THE METHOD OF PRACTICE
This isn't exactly the only way to get started practicing sweep picking, but this method has worked for many guitar players. Assuming that you practice consistently every day for at least a small amount of time, it will probably take you about a week or two to get down the basic coordination. Keep in mind that when I talk about the basic coordination, I'm not talking about being able to breeze through a guitar sweep pattern at insane speeds. Getting the coordination down is step one, working on speed development is step two. Focus on step one for now. For a week or so, only practice with isolated hands. What I mean is practice the picking hand independently of the fretting hand. Experiment with getting the pick to brush through the strings OPEN. Leave the fretting hand out. Set aside time to work on the fretting hand with a small pattern. I will provide you with one in just a second. Get your fretting hand use to lifting up and moving the fingers around into new positions. Remember, you're going to have to do one finger at a time. You shouldn't have more than one finger on the fretboard at any moment in time with this particular sweep pattern that I am about to show you.

Incredible Sweep Picking Lesson HERE >>

This is what you should practice with just the picking hand.

PUTTING SWEEP PICKING TOGETHER
It would be totally unfair for me to tell you exactly when to start putting them together. You will have to use your own judge-meant, but here are some key points that may alert you to when the time is ready. 1. Does your picking hand feel relaxed? 2. Are you able to move the pick through the strings in even timing? 3. Can you get the pick to snap through all of the strings without a particular string giving you issues? 4. Does your fretting hand feel relaxed? 5. Do the fingers of your fretting hand move fairly independently of one another 6. Can you keep your fretting hand fingers from tripping over each other? This small list may also help you to define what you need to focus on for improvement. Now let's take the right hand and left hand exercises and put them together.

Incredible Sweep Picking Lesson HERE >>

BARRE SWEEP PICKING
In the last example we were working with sweeping across 3 strings, but what if we want to sweep across 5 strings, or even better - all of the strings? Perhaps you are familiar with barre chords. These chords are generally taught to guitar players who are about ready to step into the intermediate level of their studies. A barre chord is when you take your index finger and barre all of, or most of the strings across the same frets, and then use your other fingers to add in the remaining notes. Barre sweeps are not the only way to perform a sweep across all six strings, but it is important to learn these next, because a lot of sweep patterns that encompass all the strings will require you to add a barre in at some point. Take a look at this next exercise, and then I will give you some advice on playing it, because barre sweeps can be a little tricky.

HOW TO PLAY A BARRE SWEEP

Bm BARRE CHORD

Incredible Sweep Picking Lesson HERE >>

The barre sweep that I just showed you is a B minor barre sweep, and if you compare the notes of it with this B minor barre chord, then you will hear the similarities and recognize visually the notes.

MASTERING BARRE SWEEPING TECHNIQUE
Before you jump in and start practicing this thing, there's something that you need to understand first. Remember, if you hold down any of the notes at once, it will not come out sounding like a sweep. This is tricky when doing a barre sweep, because you are going to have to barre several notes together, and yet you cannot hold those notes down at the same time, which is tough when you're using your whole finger and not the tip of your finger. That is to say, that there is less coordination when using the finger this way. For this barre sweep you will want to use your Ring finger for the 9th frets, and your Index finger for the 7th frets. The best way to get this down, is to rock your finger forward as you brush through the notes. The tip of the finger should come out and away from you as you move up to the next notes. This works with ascending, but with descending you will need to do the opposite, and bring the tip of your finger towards you. This is why it is very crucial to start practicing your sweeps slowly. You have to give your hands time to get the coordination down, because there's a lot going on here. Keep in mind, that the more patient that you are, the sooner you will get to a point where you don't have to think about these things and they become automatic.

GUITAR SPEED SECRET.COM
Did you enjoy this lesson on sweep picking? if so, then you may want to check out GuitarSpeedSecret.com, which has my book The Essential Guide To Guitar Virtuosity. The book contains a ton of examples and insider knowledge about sweep picking, legato, tapping, alternate picking, economy picking, phrasing, harmonics, speed development, and mindset. It also shares a lot of information about KNOWING how to Incredible Sweep Picking Lesson HERE >>

train, because that is honestly 50% of becoming a great guitar player.

The Essential Guide To Guitar Virtuosity
• Over 100 exercises designed for progress – no fluff! • A sweep picking lesson that will turn you into a master. I'll take you by the hand and show you from start to finish how you can blaze through those arpeggios! • Master multi-finger tapping with my formula for success. • Comes with a companion guide on mastering left hand technique (legato). This will develop the dexterity that you need, make your hands stronger and improve your speed reflexes. • Plus you will also learn LOADS about how speed actually works. I'll show you the true science, get you into the right mode of practice, mindset and give you the keys to unlocking the door for total guitar wizardry.

Read The Book Now >>

Incredible Sweep Picking Lesson HERE >>

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