How To Make Learning Sweep Picking Technique A Lot Easier & Less Frustrating

by Tom Hess

Are you just getting started seriously practicing sweep picking arpeggios?

Think sweep picking is a super-advanced technique that only master guitarists are able to perform?

Think again.

Sweep picking isn't actually that hard when you know the main issues that keep people from mastering it (and how to correct them).

Here are a few concepts to understand to get started playing faster and cleaner arpeggios:

Concept #1. Picking Hand Momentum Is Your Friend

Sweep picking arpeggios sound amazing when each note is heard individually with no bleeding notes, unwanted string noise or mis-timed rhythm.

Before you can do this though, you must train yourself to maintain your picking hand momentum.

Think of this like a big, continuous strum across the strings.

muting guitar string with picking hand

Watching your picking hand while you play helps prevent you from breaking this momentum.

Concept #2. You Don't Have To Play 6-String (Or Other Large) Arpeggio Patterns Right Away

It’s understandable to want to showcase your skills by playing larger sweep picking patterns.

However, many guitarists start learning these patterns before they’ve really mastered the fundamental technique needed to play smaller patterns.

This results in sloppy and frustrating arpeggios.

Good news is, you don't need to play tons of notes to sound impressive.

Playing amazing arpeggios isn't just about how many notes the pattern contains.

Focus on mastering smaller patterns at first while learning how to use them in a musically expressive manner.

Then move onto larger patterns to expand your palette and keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed by too much at once.

Concept #3. You Save Time & Frustration By Pinpointing Your Mistakes Early

It’s all-too-common for guitarists to allow sloppiness in their arpeggios for a long time before they finally decide to clean them up.

This gets very frustrating over time.

Don't let this happen to you.

The faster you find your mistakes, the more quickly you are able to correct them with focused practice.

Three common mistakes to look for in your sweep picking are:

  • Notes bleeding together from one string to the next
  • Missed notes due to hands being out of sync with each other
  • Notes blurring together (because they are played at different rhythms unintentionally)

Look for these mistakes while sweep picking and make it a point to practice with intense focus on these specific problems.

How exactly do you practice in order to quickly and effectively improve your sweep picking technique?

I’ll show you.

Play better sweep picking arpeggios than ever by reading the advice in this article about how to sweep pick fast and clean.

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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