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Advanced Sweep Picking


Stairway to Heaven Tab Studier
  • Feb 5, 2023
    Lake Mary, FL
    When it comes to sweep picking I am comfortable doing 3 string sweeps at high bpms, but as soon as I start trying to include more strings it seems near impossible. I came to the conclusion that its either lack of practice since I have only been learning sweeps for about 2 weeks now or that once my wrist bends to a certain point it makes it too hard to be able to sweep back down. If anyone has the secret to make it click please let me know, otherwise please share tips to help improve sweeping.

    Chris Johnston

    Music Theory Bragger
  • Nov 11, 2019
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    Dude, you have GOT to have a lot more patience with yourself. People spend years working on quality sweep picking.
    I second this for sure - it doesn't give it's self up easily. Patience is key 😊

    Going purely from what you've said, it sounds as if you are possibly playing with your left hand wrist, slightly 'over bent'. When you talk about not being able to sweep back down, this seems like undue tension in your wrist/hand, along with the over bent wrist angles, causing things to lock up.

    Here are a few things to try/consider:

    1. Sit with your Guitar and have your left hand on the neck, as relaxed as it would be playing a G chord - this is what you want for Sweeps (at least the non stretchy ones) .Because sweeping (at any tempo) relies on your fingers being able to move large distances freely, you want to be relaxed & controlled.
    Any undue tension in your playing will be a spanner in the works of the fluidity you need. If you notice yourself tensing as you want to sweep faster, it's not the time to go that fast - I mention this because the locking up you're experiencing may also be coming from trying to push the speed too much.

    2. Can you play what you're playing slow? I have had a lot of students that will sweep really fast, but are unable to slow things down, so it becomes more of a party trick, verses an Arpeggio that you can control and bend to your will 🤘 I'd advise taking what you're doing at high bpm's and see (as an experiment) if you can keep a hold of it at a slow bpm. This will also allow you time to see/feel what is unhelpful in your technique, and you'll find that things will start to fix themselves, because you'll be able to hear the weaknesses as they happen. Control is 1000% more important than speed with sweeps 👌

    Before I write a book - I'll go back to Ed's point because it's so important - Sweeping takes a long time to really have control of, so if you're 2 weeks in, enjoy the process of tightening things up, but you won't be able to rush your own journey - the journey is the fun part!

    I'll leave you with three things to chase:
    1. Relaxed Sweeps
    2. Controlled Sweeps
    3. Calibrated Sweeps

    If you can tick these boxes, there should be no issues with the speed 👌

    Hope this helps!
    Upvote 0

    Javier Wienarjati

    Campfire Attention Holder
    Dec 7, 2021
    I'm on sweep lesson with my teacher. Before that, I thought I play sweep licks, Syn licks, or economic licks just fine. Turns out I have trouble with fraction. I'm hard to devided notes into triplets, but it's easier to devided into four. Poor math maybe, LOL. So my teacher gave me some warm up exercise. I can't explain it in english, but it goes something like these videos, some example of my exercises. I do this kind of exercise everyday now.

    Upvote 0
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