How to Sweep Pick on Guitar

Hey there guys and welcome to my Sweep Picking Series! So far, we have concentrated on playing six and five string sweep arpeggios only. In the lesson what I’d like to do is take a look at four string sweep arpeggios and how I tend to use them both for practice and during¬†improvisation. The arpeggios that we will be looking at actually form part of the arpeggios we have already done, so there will be no need to learn any new shapes, for the moment. You may find, however, that playing four string arpeggios may take a little bit of getting used to.

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To start with, I like to practice the right hand movement with open strings starting on the 4th string and sweeping through, with downstrokes, to the first string. I’ll then reverse the picking pattern by playing the 1st string through to the 4th string with upstrokes. Again, as with all of the previous lessons, it is essential that you maintain the relaxed movement of the right hand whilst sweeping and that you continue to work on letting the pick ‘fall through’ each string. I will be reminding you about this in every forthcoming lesson such is the importance that I place upon it.

FIRST STEPS IN FINGER STYLE WITH GIORGIO SERCI

As always, you can warm up with this pattern by starting it very slowly and gradually increasing the speed but all the time maintaining the control and tone.

The next step is to play an A major arpeggio. Try to visualise the full 6 string arpeggio at the 5 th fret and simply play the top four strings. Keep the picking pattern the same. Again take your time with this and build up the speed. It may be necessary¬†to apply a rolling motion with your fingers so that the notes of the arpeggio don’t bleed into one another.

The next step is to apply the four note per string arpeggio segments to the diatonic arpeggios, in the instance in the key of A major. This will give us the arpeggios, in root position, of:

A – Bminor – C#minor – D – E – F#minor – G#diminished

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What I like to do though, is replace the F# diminished arpeggio with a V arpeggio in 1st inversion. In this instance, that would be an E major 4 note per string arpeggio.

Another thing I like to do is add an extra note to each arpeggio on the top E string. That will be a 3rd degree for each root position arpeggio and a 5th degree for the1st inversion E major arpeggio. I usually pick this note and then pull off, however, you can play it any way you wish to. You can then play the previous pattern but add in the extra note.

Personally, I find this arpeggio’s pattern to be extremely cool sounding and as a consequence, I tend to use it a lot.

To mix things up a little you can venture out of the diatonic order and try different combinations of arpeggios such as the last example in the video where I play an A major

to C major and then to D major. This will help you to create some more unique sounds so be sure to experiment as much as possible and go with what sounds good to your ears.

OK, that’s it for this lesson, have fun practice hard and see you next issue for more sweep picking fun!


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