How To Get Started Making Sweep Picking Feel Easier Than Ever

by Tom Hess

Playing fast sweep picking arpeggios sounds incredibly impressive.


Most guitarists think sweep picking as an extremely difficult and only for metalheads...

Not true!

Sweep picking is a lot easier than you might assume when you understand what and how to practice to make the learning process more smooth and less frustrating.

The following are a couple of effective methods to get you started playing awesome sweep guitar arpeggios precisely how you want:

Play Cleaner By Using Your Picking Hand Thumb To Mute Unplayed Strings

Misconception: "Palm muting is the very best way to mute unplayed strings."

Certainly, palm muting is excellent for playing chunky rhythm guitar riffs with a specific sound, but less effective for keeping unplayed strings from ringing compared to ... your picking hand thumb.

Use your picking hand thumb to mute unplayed strings that are lower (in pitch) than the one you are currently playing on.

This video demonstrates how to use thumb muting to clean up sweep picking arpeggios (and picking technique overall):.

Use any available finger on your picking hand to mute unplayed strings by gently laying them on the strings above (in pitch) the one you are on.

Make Sweep Picking Practice Less Frustrating & More Effective By Practicing Smaller Arpeggio Shapes In The Beginning

It's understandable that you want to jump into large sweep picking arpeggios and play some really incredible licks and solos using them.

Good news is, you still can ... using practice that is more effective and less frustrating.

How can you do this?


Master sweep picking licks by focusing on 2 notes (on separate strings) at a time.

Here's an example of how this works:

  1. Select any 3-string sweep picking pattern.
  2. Play the first 2 notes the pattern while only ascending for 1 minute.
  3. Practice the 2nd and 3rd notes for one minute.
  4. Practice pattern the same way except by descending (this means playing the notes the go from higher pitch strings to lower ones, using upstrokes).

Of course, you can work on this with any kind of arpeggio.

This tactic makes the whole practice process easier and less frustrating since you instantly observe your mistakes and practice them to quickly overcome them.

It's less frustrating too because you don't wind up trying to play a big pattern where some parts are clean and others are unclean.

Want to learn more ways to master sweep picking?

Check out this creative sweep picking practice advice.

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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