sweep picking

What's Hot
John_PJohn_P Frets: 1585
I'd like to sort my sweeping - tbh it's rubbish and I don't have the knack down to play cleanly.    I could probably do with sorting my arpeggios at the same time (I comfortable with my alternate picking and legato so my playing and melodies are more scale based).

So any tips for technique or tunes would be appreciated. 

I had even thought about a couple of Skype type lessons but I'm not sure this type of technique would come across well that way. 
0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Comments

  • vizviz Frets: 4864
    Skype is absolutely fine for technique. Frank Gambale used to do skype lessons, not sure if he still does.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6976
    Tunes - sweep section of Altitudes by Jason Becker, it is a cool section plus the shapes aren't too tough at slow speed (full speed will take a lot of practice).

    Tips - use the minimum amount of pick possible, just the very tip. If you want a physical training aid get a stylus pick. They force you to use the very tip only. They helped me.

    http://styluspick.com/description/

    Use a low action and play with a light touch.

    When using a normal pick (not the stylus) go for one with a sharper point so you get minimal drag.

    Only speed up when you can play it super clean. It has much more impact when the arpeggios are clean and even.

    You'll need to be practicing it often to get better and then to maintain it. Sweep picking requires fine control that takes work to achieve.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • DLMDLM Frets: 1799
    John_P said:
    I could probably do with sorting my arpeggios at the same time (I comfortable with my alternate picking and legato so my playing and melodies are more scale based).

    So play your arpeggios using legato and alternate picking!

    Marty Friedman says he regrets putting so much time into practising sweeping. Also, my fave Twitterist offered this gem recently: https://mobile.twitter.com/bumlaser/status/623299703673745408?p=p

    If I've not put you off, some ideas:

    I got quite a lot out of Gambale's book, Speed Picking, I got an NOS copy:

    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51pLIDe1C6L._SL1600_.jpg

    That gets right into sweeping 7th chords, where most rock players don't seem to progress much beyond triad arpeggios. For that sort of stuff, perhaps start with the free lessons on Martin Goulding's website: http://martingoulding.com/lessons/sweeping/

    If you're following Cracking the Code, there has been a bit on sweeping already in the free content on YouTube.

    Also, paging @Vibetronic , who was a regular winner of the sweep wars on GuitarWar.com back in the day.

    0reaction image LOL 1reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 1585
    Thanks chaps,      I know altitudes, although it's years since I listened to it so I'll put that on the "to learn" list.  


    DLM - that site looks interesting thanks .
    ,  I just had a quick blast through some of the exercises and I can see a big flaw in my playing.  Keeping the notes clean and muting previous notes when I move across the strings.      Hammering and pulling off to move across the neck is fine and if there are two or more notes on the same string I can pick cleanly but hopping to the next string sounds messy - especially with a lot of gain.

    Nick's quote is probably bang on too.     but I'll persevere even if it's just to give more irritating soundcheck runs ;-) 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • VibetronicVibetronic Frets: 274
    yo. I guess as with most things, it's a case of starting slowly and cleanly then building up speed. The muting is a bit part of it too like you said and possibly the hardest thing to get right; working out how each hand is going to mute different strings as you move across. If I'm doing a sweep across all 6 strings, while I'm playing the notes on the lower strings I'll mute the top E, B & G strings with the fleshy bit of my left hand first finger; as I move across, I'll then mute the low E, A & D with the palm of my right hand. Despite practicing it cleanly, it does sound better without masses of gain too; less chance of tons of noise. It's quite hard to explain without showing but I hope that makes sense :) 

     I found it's one of those techniques that seems hard to get, but once you start to understand how to do it, it comes reasonably quickly. I generally use it for moving from one bit of the fretboard to another by linking a few up, or more slowly as part of a more musical phrase. On the other hand, you can just rip them out to show off, but best done sparingly. Examples; I found a transcription of the first part classical bit from the Crossroads film (Eugenes trick bag) helpful - can't remember if it is actually swept, but that's how I did it - and ditto with a transcription of Paganninis 24th Caprice, an old one from Guitar for the Practicing Musician. Worth looking out if you can find it (and no, I didn't learn the whole thing, just that first bit as it was the only bit I knew the sound of !).
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 4864
    Vibe your sweeps are superb.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 2933
    another big thing with sweeping is the timing between both hands
    the neck hand has a sort of 'timed roll' over the fingerboard as the pick sweeps across the strings
    the idea is that the finger and pick land on the sting that is supposed to be sounding at the same time..
    you have to practice this slow at first to get the feeling of it..
    but once you nail it, it actually makes more sense when you play if more quickly..
    but you have to go through the pain of the slow stuff to lock the timing of the two hands together and get used to the way it feels
    play every note as if it were your first
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ElectroDanElectroDan Frets: 547

    @Vibetronic Any clips or recordings of you sweeping that you could link to? It's one of those techniques I've always been intrigued by, and practiced for years, but rarely ever use.

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 2933

    @Vibetronic Any clips or recordings of you sweeping that you could link to? It's one of those techniques I've always been intrigued by, and practiced for years, but rarely ever use.

    why don't you use them? is it cos a technical or taste reason?
    play every note as if it were your first
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ElectroDanElectroDan Frets: 547

    I use smaller sweeps to link positions, and I use economy picking for certain licks (which is I suppose using sweeping). I don't really have an instinct for where I could use bigger, perhaps Gambale style sweeps. I'm not a great improviser, and I'm not very musically minded.

    I have managed to build up my technical ability, to where I can play almost anything I would want or need to. And whilst I like what I hear and get complimented on my tone. I have very little idea of what's going on underneath. So fitting sweeps into the pop/rock band context would always be a challenge I suppose.

    I suppose It's not one of those techniques I feel I can rely on as much as others in the bag too. I've been trying to analyse the picking involved lately. Specifically where the change-over occurs between Downward and Upward slanting of the pick. It amuses me whether I use it live or not, I never force myself to practice anything.

    :)
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • DLMDLM Frets: 1799

    @Vibetronic Any clips or recordings of you sweeping that you could link to? It's one of those techniques I've always been intrigued by, and practiced for years, but rarely ever use.


    Old school cool: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=474494
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • frankusfrankus Frets: 4705
    the trick to sweep picking is to choose the greyest puppet, who makes a squeaky noise and has black ears.
    A sig-nat-eur? What am I meant to use this for ffs?! Is this thing recording?
    2reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 2933

    I use smaller sweeps to link positions, and I use economy picking for certain licks (which is I suppose using sweeping). I don't really have an instinct for where I could use bigger, perhaps Gambale style sweeps. I'm not a great improviser, and I'm not very musically minded.

    I have managed to build up my technical ability, to where I can play almost anything I would want or need to. And whilst I like what I hear and get complimented on my tone. I have very little idea of what's going on underneath. So fitting sweeps into the pop/rock band context would always be a challenge I suppose.

    I suppose It's not one of those techniques I feel I can rely on as much as others in the bag too. I've been trying to analyse the picking involved lately. Specifically where the change-over occurs between Downward and Upward slanting of the pick. It amuses me whether I use it live or not, I never force myself to practice anything.

    :)
    I think the biggest danger with passages containing sequences of huge sweeps is that they can sound too much like exercises
    it was a trap I fell into myself when I first learned the technique.. you can get seduced into technique over content..
    now if I use them I try to build them in as a part of a much bigger lick.. so for example, a lick in a lower register uses a large sweep to make a transition to a higher register.. so it becomes [hopefully] a reasonably cool means of getting from point A to point B
    play every note as if it were your first
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • VibetronicVibetronic Frets: 274

    @Vibetronic Any clips or recordings of you sweeping that you could link to? It's one of those techniques I've always been intrigued by, and practiced for years, but rarely ever use.

    there's quite a few in this:

    That's not meant to be a song by the way; I was just recording something technical for fun, so it's pretty horrid, and as Clarky said, this is exactly how it can sound like an exercise !!

    there's some in the solo to this:

    which is a song I've written for one of my bands in a Van Halen rip-off style. Sweeps at 2:02. 


    in the bit at about 0:16, 0:44...and other places. Again technical shreddery, but I was asked to play like that in this instance :) 
    0reaction image LOL 8reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ElectroDanElectroDan Frets: 547
    Wow duly awarded @Vibetronic. Some great playing and technique. =D>
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • JezWyndJezWynd Frets: 2335
    Wow duly awarded @Vibetronic. Some great playing and technique. =D>
    +1 on that!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 1585
    +2   that's the flowing smooth, clean and speedy sweeps i want to throw in once in a while. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • VibetronicVibetronic Frets: 274
    thanks chaps :) Here is an example of one I (over) use a lot just to get from one end of the board to the other. You are basically playing the Bm chord in 3 positions. So I would just practice raking through each chord slowly, up and down, rolling your fingers off the strings once each note of the chord has been hit individually. Then it is a case of adding on the notes at the top which give you something to slide up to the next position, and so on. It's just quite a cool way of getting about and building up to something else (i.e. the token phrase at the end here). Alternatively you could just sweep up one way on one of the positions straight into a melody; lots you can do with it. Hope the tab comes out ok now...!


      h                 h   sl    p                   p    h                   h  sl    p                     p         bend !
    ----------------2-5-/-10-7-----------------------------------7-10-/17-14-----------------------------------------
    -------------3----------------7-----------------------------7-----------------15--------------------17/19 17------
    ----------4----------------------7-----------------------7------------------------16-----------------------------16-
    -------4----------------------------9-----------------9-------------------------------16-----------------------------
    -2-5----------------------------------9------------9--------------------------------------17-14--------------------
    ------------------------------------------10-7-10--------------------------------------------------------------------

    1  4   3  3  2 1 4    4   1  1 1 3 3  4  1  4  etc
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • VibetronicVibetronic Frets: 274
    and this is another one I came up with based on the first chord from the Police's Every Breath... (A major add 9 ? chord fail) with a tap on the end. I generally only use this one going from the low A sweeping up, as it's a bit of an arse.


                      sl            h       t      p            sl
    -------------------------9--12-17-12--9------------------------
    --------------------12-----------------------12-------------------
    -------------6--9---------------------------------9--6------------
    ---------9------------------------------------------------9--------
    -----7-------------------------------------------------------7-----
    -5---------------------------------------------------------------5-
     
     1   2  4   1  1    3  1   3   T  etc
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 2933

    @Vibetronic that first clip reminds me of a 80's arcade game..

    which is as cool as it is mental... superb playing...

    play every note as if it were your first
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • hubobuloushubobulous Frets: 2051
    One thing that I've done to help my sweeping, that's not about the technique, is picking a chord progression that isn't particularly classical in its vibe.

    An example is the chorus to Marina and the Diamonds 'Are you Satisfied'. The keyboards behind this section are arpeggiating, so I decided to learn how to play them, with normally played chords in-between.
    • So for example, behind the lyrics 'Are You Satisfied' I play the chords. I then immediately play a swept C major chord starting on the 12th fret E string.
    • I then play some chords and play a swept G major chord starting on the 14th fret A string, (basically this is the normal G major shape that misses out out the G on the E string and starts on the B note on the A string)
    • From memory, I then play some chords and tap an A minor arpeggio using the A and G strings
    • Then its back to some chords and the G major sweep with a tap for the highest note.

    Not sure if that makes sense, but to play this along with a song that'snot just about sweep picking makes it more fun for me. I can't do a recording at the moment since my PC is knackered, but hopefully it adds something to your choice of practice routine.

    As others have said, its about starting slow and getting the shapes into your muscle memory.

    - this all starts at 42 secs

    - this instrumental shows the arpeggios that I copy, its just that on the original the synth is playing 3 per line whereas I just play the 3rd one.

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ElectroDanElectroDan Frets: 547

    I have tried learning the string part of the Clean Bandit - Jess Glynne song "No Place I'd Rather Be". I've noticed I sweep downwards a lot better than upwards.

    I downloaded Transcribe earlier in the week. I've been unlocking the secrets of the greats that have eluded me for ages. Last night I was trying to sus out the sweep in Vai's "Blue Powder". Don't know why he doesn't use his sweeping more, it sounds great with the descending scale after it.

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • bingefellerbingefeller Frets: 5432
    Wow @Vibetronic! Dem sweeps.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • edited August 2015
    Just been reading this and I supply stylus picks if any of you are interested, they're really great practice tools, better suited to alternate picking really rather than sweeping but saw them mentioned earlier in the thread, you can get them here
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 3931
    It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
    1reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • p_jay78p_jay78 Frets: 48
    edited July 3
    Just to add, assuming nobody already has, don't sweep...string skip. Its way easier and seems to work for Paul Gilbert! Its much easier to pull off live as well. 

    Just my 6 eggs! 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Sign In or Register to comment.