[Guitar Speed Lesson] Clean Up Sloppy Sweep Picking With Tremolo Picking

by Tom Hess


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You are about to learn my all-time favorite way to clean up sloppy sweep picking and play terrorizing arpeggio licks at the same time.

Here is the story:

Years ago, when I first learned sweep picking, I realized I had a huge problem.

At faster speeds, my sweep picking wasn’t clean and accurate anymore.

Worst of all: I knew my playing sounded bad, but I couldn’t tell which of the notes weren’t clean.

That meant, I didn’t even know what to focus on to make my playing sound better.

And when I slowed down, my mistakes disappeared… only to return, the moment I tried playing at my top speed again.

This drove me crazy for weeks, until my guitar teacher showed me a “sneaky” solution that fixed everything.

It turns out - when you stop on random notes within the arpeggio using tremolo picking…

… you can “snipe” sloppy mistakes out of your playing one by one, without ever slowing down.

And when you get good at it, this way of playing turns regular arpeggios into hair-raising guitar licks.

Check out this video where I show you how to do it in detail:
 



Want to know even more ways to clean up sloppy sweep picking at higher speeds?

Check out the tips below:


Sweep Picking Speed Tip #1: Use “Aural Rotation”


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Find the exact speed where your playing starts to become sloppy. Then slow down ever so slightly (by 3-8 beats per minute).

Next, choose one note to focus on and repeat the arpeggio over and over – listening only to that note.

(Ignore the other notes and make sure the note you selected is perfectly clean. Adjust your technique as you go, but do not slow down.)

When you are certain the note sounds flawless – “rotate” your focus to the next note in the arpeggio.

Repeat this process with every note until you refine the entire arpeggio at full speed.
 

Guitar playing mistakes

Sweep Picking Speed Tip #2: Avoid “Rhythm Distortion”

When you play arpeggios with hammer ons and/or pull offs, play them just as fast as the other notes in the arpeggio.

If you don’t, you end up distorting the rhythm of the notes and this doesn't sound good.

Not to mention: it’s very hard to shred through an arpeggio where some notes are faster than others.

Fortunately, this problem is really easy to fix.

Watch this video to see what I mean:
 



Sweep Picking Speed Tip #3: Clean Up Your Finger Rolling. Here Is How:

Clean finger rolling (playing 2 or more notes on the same fret on different strings with the same finger) makes or breaks the sound of your sweep picking.

The key is to avoid barring all the notes of the roll. Instead – fret one note at a time.

How?

Literally roll your finger across strings, so your finger looks like a banana.

Then reverse the motion in the opposite direction when you descend the arpeggio.

Watch this video to see how to do finger rolling the right way:
 



Now that you know the best ways to clean up sloppy sweep picking – the next step is to refine finger independence of your fretting hand. When you do, everything you play on guitar will feel a whole lot easier and sound much better than it does right now.

Check out my free eGuide on fretting hand finger independence and discover fretting hand technique secrets most guitarists never know.


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.

Discover proven electric guitar lessons for rock guitarists.

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