Common Sweep Picking Mistake And How To (Easily) Correct It

by Tom Hess

Playing arpeggios fast and clean becomes easy if you know what to focus on when you practice sweep picking.

One common sweep picking mistake is distorting the rhythm of arpeggios. It happens often in arpeggios that contain hammer ons and pull offs. This video illustrates the problem:

These steps help you control the rhythm of your sweep picking:

  1. Select any arpeggio to practice that contains hammer ons and/or pull offs. (Hammer ons and pull offs in arpeggios are the most common place where the rhythm gets distorted.) The arpeggio should contain straight 16th notes or straight 16th note triplets.
  2. Play the arpeggio to a metronome in quarter notes (1 note per click). This makes it easy to focus on the timing of the notes and keep the pitches even in duration.
  3. Keep the length of the notes the same. Each note must ring the full amount of time between clicks. Get used to the feel of playing every note with the same duration.
  4. Slow the metronome down and play your arpeggio ether in 8th notes (2 notes per beat) or 8th note triplets (3 notes per click). The note values to use in this step depend on the actual rhythm of the arpeggio.

    Focus on keeping every note the same length. Don’t play some notes faster than others.
  5. Cut the note values in half and play the arpeggio either in 16th notes (4 notes per click) or 16th note triplets (6 notes per click). Adjust the metronome tempo to a slow enough speed for yourself.

Practice for a few minutes to get the rhythm into your brain and hands.

It usually takes 1-2 guitar practice sessions to gain control over the rhythm of your sweep picking.

This guitar playing article helps you master other elements of sweep picking cleanly and fast

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