Beginner Sweep Picking Guide To Help You Master Fast & Clean Arpeggios In No Time

Wish you could play sweep picking arpeggios fast and clean like your favorite players but just can't seem to make it work?

Don't worry, tons of guitarists struggle with this technique too.

However (as you will learn in this beginner sweep picking guide):

Sweep picking is actually not that hard when you understand the correct fundamentals you need to master to play fast and clean... effortlessly.

Once you understand these things, playing fast sweep picking arpeggios clean with consistency becomes second nature.


Ready to play amazing arpeggios like never before?

Let's begin.

Watch this beginner sweep picking video guide to make massive improvement to your technique fast:

Click on the video to begin watching it.

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The video you watched helps you become much better at sweep picking whether you are a beginner learning the technique or simply someone looking to improve your skills.

Use the additional sweep picking advice below to reinforce good playing habits and master sweep picking even faster:

Sweep Picking Tip #1: Practice With Distortion & Clean Settings

Playing guitar arpeggios using distortion brings out subtle scratches, string noises and notes bleeding together so you can hear where your playing is breaking down. Use this to your advantage to identify and fix mistakes that hold you back.

Playing sweep picking arpeggios with clean settings helps you identify when your hands get out of sync.

To help keep your hands in sync better, try practicing the notes of an arpeggio by triple picking each note at a slower tempo as described in tip #1. Then return to playing the pattern with sweep picking as usual.

Sweep Picking Tip #2: Don't Rush The Notes In The Middle

Guitarists who are beginners at sweep picking commonly rush the middle notes of an arpeggio pattern while playing the higher and lower register notes clearly.


The rhythm of the guitar arpeggio becomes distorted and the arpeggio sounds sloppy.

Fortunately, this is not too hard to fix.

Here's what to do:

Play each note in the arpeggio you are practicing by triple picking it at a much slower tempo than usual.

This trains you to keep both hands in sync more effectively so that you are forced to focus on playing each note better. Once you return to sweep picking like normal, it feels much easier.

Make sure to also use this idea with any legato in any sweep picking arpeggio you play.

Focus on making every note ring out for the exact same amount of time.

Question: “Tom Hess, how much wrist do you use to play sweep picking arpeggios?”

Answer: The motion you use to play while sweep picking primarily comes from your forearm/shoulder (as shown in the video).

By sweep picking like this, it becomes harder to make the common mistake of picking each string individually. Avoiding this mistake is critical for playing fast and clean.


When you play a guitar arpeggio, you never want to break up your picking hand momentum.

The motion you use is similar to strumming a chord.

Make sure you are doing it correctly by watching your picking hand as you practice so you can fix any issues using both your ears and your eyes.

Sweep Picking Tip #3: Articulate Each Note Fully

Ever try to play a sweep picking arpeggio, but ended up cutting off the note you wanted to play by accident?

This is frustrating!

Why does this happen?

This usually happens when people try to stop notes from bleeding together.

Avoid this by muting strings at the precise moment when the next played note sounds.

Sweep Picking Tip #4: Maintain Consistent Note Rhythm

Keeping every note of your sweep picking arpeggio at the correct length is crucial for making it sound smooth and top-quality like the pros do (assuming you are practicing an arpeggio in all the same note rhythms).


Many guitarists accidentally play notes at slightly longer or shorter rhythms, making the arpeggio sound sloppy or just a little off.

Here's how to fix this issue:

Play the sweep picking arpeggio by starting very slow and gradually speeding up until you start to notice yourself making  mistakes.

This will quickly show you which notes you are struggling to keep in time with the others.

Sweep Picking Tip #5: Focus On Your Picking Hand To Maintain Momentum

Here is an effective way to keep your picking hand momentum going in order to play clean sweep picking arpeggios with pull-offs and hammer-ons on the highest string(s):

As soon as you play a pull off on the highest string of a guitar arpeggio, your pick should be moving to the next string and not be getting caught in between strings. Prepare the note on the next string by pressing the pick against the next string so it is already waiting for you to fret the next note.

Note: Learning how to play sweep picking arpeggios on your own is much harder compared to learning with a teacher who can help you fix mistakes where you don't see them.

This is why I encourage you to start taking lessons with an experienced guitar teacher.

This is the most effective way to make fast progress, because an experienced guitar teacher helps you spot mistakes, fix old playing habits or think of new ways to master guitar that you wouldn't have thought of on your own.

When you are tired of making slow progress, taking lessons with a guitar teacher is the best thing you can do for your advancement.

I give lessons to thousands of guitar players around the world and help them make BIG progress not just with sweep picking, but in all other areas of their lead guitar playing.

Here are some of their results:




Learning to play fast sweep picking guitar arpeggios awesome, but there is much more to learn - Take your lead guitar playing to the highest level by taking electric guitar lessons online. Click the green 'Start Now' button to begin:

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