[Guitar Lesson] Fast & Easy Sweep Picking Arpeggio Licks

by Tom Hess


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There are 2 types of guitarists.

Those who want to sweep pick faster & cleaner …

… and those who hate sweep picking so much – they think all guitarists who even dare to sweep are … ahem ...

… compensating for something.

If you are the latter – this is your last chance to click the back button.


Because I'm about to spill the beans on my best-kept secrets hundreds of my students are using to sweep pick fast & clean.

(Including those struggled with sweep picking for years.)

Ready to swee… I mean...

Ready to start?

Here we go.

Watch the video below to see my favorite fast & easy sweep picking arpeggio exercises that’ll make you sweep cleaner and faster almost immediately:

Now that you know the basics, let’s dive deeper.

Sweep Picking Practice Tip #1: Isolate the motions of each hand.

What The Pros Do To Sweep Pick Fast And Clean

By submitting your info, you agree to send it to Tom Hess Music Corporation who will process and use it according to their privacy policy.

Everybody knows it’s a good idea to isolate the hard part of a lick and practice it over and over.

But have you ever tried isolating the motions of each hand (and practice them without the other hand)?

If you have no idea what I'm talking about (or have never done it), you just found a shortcut that can catapult your technique to a level you never thought you could reach.

Watch this video to see what I mean:

(Note: of course, the above video is not about sweep picking – but the principle of the video applies to all techniques, including sweep picking.)

Isolate your fretting hand motions for all arpeggios – the same way you do for the picking hand.

Sweep Picking Practice Tip #2: Clean Up The “2 Levels” Of String Noise

Level 1 of sweep picking string noise comes from the lower (in pitch) strings that aren’t being muted.

How to clean it up?

Simple: use your picking hand’s thumb and the fingers you aren’t holding the pick with. This article about guitar string noise shows you how.

Level 2 string noise comes from the notes ringing together (bleeding) when they should sound separately.

This happens most often during finger rolling. The infographic below shows how to fix this problem:

Guitar practice strategies

Sweep Picking Practice tip #3: Stop “Cheating” At Pull Offs

Second only to string noise, the most telltale sound of amateur sweep picking is:

… rushed pull offs.

These pull offs are much faster than the rest of the arpeggio.

And there are 2 problems with this:

1. It makes you sound bad.

2. This way of playing makes it almost impossible to sweep pick fast (because it’s very hard to play notes at different speeds within the arpeggio).

Fortunately, it’s a very simple issue to fix.

Watch this video to see what I mean:

Sweep Picking Practice Tip #4: Put Each Note Under A Microscope

We talked about isolating notes within the arpeggio. We also talked about isolating the motions of each hand.

The next level above that, is:

… isolating random “chunks” of notes within the arpeggio and putting them under a microscope.

What you do is focus on a group of notes in the middle of the arpeggio you often never pay attention to.

Watch this video by one of my top students, Guitar Practice Expert Mike Philippov to see how it’s done:

You now know what it takes to speed up your sweep picking and make it cleaner. If you want to know my other speed building secrets – secrets you can use to potentially double your speed, check out my free guitar speed eGuide. Download it today and start playing guitar faster, while practicing less than you do now.

Tom HessAbout Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He teaches rock guitar lessons online to students from all over the world and conducts instructional live guitar training events attended by musicians from over 50 countries.

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