One of the reasons sweep picking can feel difficult is simply a lack of effective practice approaches for mastering it.
Combining different techniques together can sometimes be like the lock than unlocks the door to better technique than you even knew was possible.
I explore this concept by combining tremolo picking with sweep picking.
Learn how to master sweep picking arpeggios one note at a time using the tremolo practice method described in this video:
See my other guitar playing videos, available to my YouTube subscribers - follow my channel by clicking the button below:
Now you understand the power of learning multiple ways to improve yoru guitar playing at once. What you saw in the video helps you make your sweep picking sound unique and interesting compared to the way most others use the technique.
The better you combine skills in this manner, the more efficient your practice becomes.
Continue integrating multiple elements of your guitar playing together as you practice in order to achieve massive results (especially compared to the way you may have practiced before).
Question: “Hi Tom Hess, self-learning guitarist here. I've been practicing sweep picking a lot recently, but my technique seems to be stuck and the video didn’t quite solve my problem. How do I finally move things forward?”
Answer: The first thing to do is take guitar lessons with an experienced teacher.
No matter how good your guitar skills are now, or how much talent you had to get started…
…your skills are going to hit a wall without a teacher.
You find that you simply don't know what to fix, which items to practice for the best results, how to practice those things effectively or many other elements of getting better.
A guitar teacher is the key that unlocks the door to getting better. This is because they know what you don't know due to massive amounts of experience playing, teaching and helping others do the same things you want to on guitar.
Not only does working with a guitar teacher help you overcome barriers in your playing, it helps you make massive progress in multiple areas at once.
This is extremely powerful and fun!
Watching your skills improve every week is critical for maintaining the motivation to keep practicing and improving. I know this is true, because I designed a tool to help my students make faster progress on guitar.
Here is what they had to say:
"The Guitar Playing Accelerator has made me aware of some really key weaknesses that I didn’t know that I had."
I’ve taken music exams before. Plenty of them. And I’ve never had my knowledge tested and tracked and fed back to me in the way that the accelerator does. So I think that knowing that those weaknesses exist and where they exist is going to be very helpful in pulling those areas up to the level where they need to be.
The Guitar Playing Accelerator helps me make more progress by essentially keeping me on point. It’s very easy to practice things that I enjoy doing like many guitarists… going back to the comfort zone kind of thing. When you’ve been playing for quite a long time - I’ve been playing for about 15 years - you learn a lot of songs, you learn to improvise a bit, you can get kind of a bit complacent with your skills… quite happy with what you can do. And you think that you’ve got your practice down. I’ve had a tendency to think that in the past so the way that it’s going to help me with practicing and getting results is keeping my time focused essentially. Because I’ve got limited time to practice the guitar of course. And that’s a huge thing, getting that efficiency of time… zeroing in on what’s really going to make the difference.
I think the Guitar Playing Accelerator is worth way more than it costs. I think it’ll help you be a better player. Well no, if you use it, you WILL become a better player, because it will point out your weaknesses to you that you’re not even aware of currently… that maybe your guitar teacher wouldn’t even be able to point out. That thing is so detailed. I think the third way that it will help you is by focusing your practice time and stopping you from wasting time doing things that you can already do. It’s going to challenge you to actively solve your weak points instead of just ignoring them like most guitarists do.
Christy Bannerman, Glasgow, Scotland
Bonus Tip #1: How To Fix Subtle Muting Sweep Picking Mistakes
Look out for cutting off notes too early.
This commonly happens when trying to keep notes from bleeding together, but this creates the opposite problem - the notes not ringing their full length and creating a choppy sound in the arpeggio.
Focus on stopping the sound of each note at EXACTLY the moment when the next note starts to ring (not any moment before or after). So, it is a balancing issue you need to develop to make this happen to avoid having the notes bleed together but also to not have gaps of silence between notes.
The problem is partly caused by your thumb muting the string you have just played before the next note is played.
For example: When playing notes within an arpeggio that move from the D string to the G string
After you play the D string, make sure that note is not killed immediately by your thumb before the G string is played.
The string should continue to ring until the G string is played.
Solve this by having a bit more of the pick sticking out of your hand and also by keeping the thumb straight.
Bonus Tip #2: How To Make Your Sweep Picking More Smooth
One of the easiest ways to ruin sweep picking licks is to kill your picking momentum. This causes sloppy play and keeps you from truly playing fast.
Use this subtle tip to help keep your sweep picking sounding smooth:
When you do a pull off on the highest string of a pattern (or anywhere within it), your pick should not stop in between the strings.
Instead, the pick should move all the way to the next string and already be pressing against it, waiting for the fretting finger to arrive to its next note.
Of course, there are more aspects to playing cleanly while sweep picking than this.
This is just the beginning :)
Want to make your guitar arpeggios sound more creative and expressive? Let me show you how it's done - Learn how to do it in no time with your own electric guitar teacher online.
Here is what some of my guitar students had to say about their results:
“When I first heard about Tom Hess, I saw that he was a teacher that was very dedicated and serious about it, and that drew me in immediately. That this is a guy that has a plan, has a goal and really if you’re serious about learning guitar, this guy is equally as serious in a way. So it resonated with me straight away.”
I started out just learning by myself and as many others I got stuck. I had a few issues I wanted to get by, but when I met Tom and talked with him and started lessons with him, he opened up a whole new world of possibilities of what guitar playing can be.
I feel very grateful that I found lessons from Tom since I then did what worked from the very beginning. Many guitarists I see that played way longer than I did, they have build up many bad habits. That from the very start, there was clear instruction of how to practice correctly. You build the ability for high speed and whatever you want from the very beginning and you don’t waste time doing inefficient things. So I’m very grateful that I did that, and now I really feel I am able to reach whatever level I want.
The reasons why I think I feel so motivated all the time is because I know that the thing I’m working on is relevant for me and it’s exactly the direct thing I need to get.
The forum just kicks ass. The people in the forum - it’s just like unconditional help all the time. They love to help out, and you also get very inspired by seeing someone just really getting speed really quick and then you say if he can do it, I can do it. It works on the mental side of being a guitarist and that of course that’s the most important thing. Just being around other musicians like that, is just you learn so much faster, is so much less frustration when you can see that all the people are having the same issues that you do, not anything special or anything. It’s just part of learning process, so it kicks ass.
Magnus Gautestad, Norway
“I found Tom Hess on the net through articles, and I read quite a few of those before I went to Tom’s website. Even though I’m not a metal player at all, and Tom is obviously a metal player, I could still see that his ideas and way of teaching could really benefit me. So I pretty much signed up for online guitar lessons with Tom straight away once I’d gone through the website, and it’s just been a real eye opener with the way he teaches…”
... the integration of concepts that he’ll give you and having a really structured strategy… not just week to week lessons, but things that - you can see from one lesson to the next - really develop and continue to work on your technique and your theory and aural skills and those types of things. So I’d played a long time… 20 years before I really caught onto Tom, and I’d had a lot of lessons, and I’d taught and played but I can really see improvements in my technique, sweeping, and picking which weren’t strong parts of my playing.
I feel like Tom has a good gauge of where you’re at as a guitar player and what you need, and there just seemed to be so much more stuff in the lessons week to week than what you’d ever get in an hour or so in a one on one lesson… way more. So yeah I think that and the forum. I think, I’d pay the money just for the forum. That alone would be fine… I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all. So that alone is massive!
The price for the lessons, that’s nothing... nothing. You know, I think it’s, pretty cheap to be honest. I don’t mean that in a bad way, cheap. Cheap is not a good word, but I just think it’s great value… awesome value. I mean, you know, you could pay that for one-to-one lessons and you just don’t get the same results and support of the forum and the content and the strategies.
Other teachers I’ve had have been good players, and some have become good friends too. But when I’ve started lessons with Tom I’ve got something to compare that to and a lot of it is just sort of teaching songs from week to week… a lot of the lesson will be left up to you… you’ll go to your lesson and they’ll be like what do you want to do today? At the time I said, oh do this song or that song, but with Tom you start to realize that you know, there’s more to it… the goals and you know he’s sort of more in contact with what you want to be able to do as a player, because he’s asking you the questions and then setting up the strategies, so I find that really good.
Yeah I can see more results in 18 months in a lot of areas in my playing than you know 20 years. So it’s sort of, you know, would’ve been great 20 years ago to have met Tom.
Simon Candy, Melbourne, Australia
To get results like these in your guitar playing too, click the button below right now: