Sweep Picking Arpeggios Across The Neck Key Of G
Sweep picking is often regarded as a “shredder’s” technique, the notion of sweeping (or raking) the pick across the strings to produce a quick succession of notes has been around since the invention of the pick itself. Jazz players such as Les Paul, Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow, would use the approach in their improvisations, and country guys like Chet Atkins was known to pull out sweep-picked arpeggios, as well as rock player like Ritchie Blackmore used sweep picking to play arpeggios as well. Yngwie Malmsteen is known as a master of sweep picking on the guitar.
The only correct way to master this is to break down the right- and left-hand components of sweep picking, master them separately, and then coordinate them. Of course, it’s not easy. You’ll have to put in a lot of practice time to get it right.
To get the right-hand picking technique, you have to let the pick “fall” from string to string as if you were strumming a chord. It’s important that you don’t separate the pick strokes. When executing an upward sweep, drag the pick upward over the strings in one fluid motion. It’s imperative that you don’t use individual upstrokes.
The left-hand component is just as important. You need to mute each string with the left hand immediately after picking it (by lightly lifting—or “rolling”—your fretting finger) to keep the notes from running into one another and sounding like a strummed chord.
This exercise outlines major and minor chords in the key of G, starting on a D major arpeggio shape starting on the first string fifth fret. Use your fourth first, second fingers to play this. The minor arpeggio shape is a wider stretch but the same fingering. I would strongly advise that you begin by starting with just one chord and practice it very slow with the backing tracks. As you get more comfortable add the others in, work that up to the whole exercise with the videos.
Free Demo Video
The video below is an example of the videos that are available for this exercise. For Paid Members, this section includes a commentary video that explains each exercise in full. Additionally, each exercise is also presented as videos where the exercise is played in 10+ tempos. Sign up today to get full access to all the videos.
Most exercises include backing tracks for you to practice with. They are also provided in the same tempos as the videos. Backing tracks are available for paid members only and are downloadable MP3 files.
Every exercise includes a transcription in standard notation as well as guitar tab. The transcriptions are presented online and are also available for download as a PDF for printing or saving to your computer. The transcriptions are available for Paid Members of PracticeTheGuitar.com