You Have Reached A Full Access Section

Sweep Picking Series 1: The Basics

Get full access

In this lesson we'll start with an A major chord played as a root position triad on three adjacent strings, the D, G and B strings. The hardest part at first will be co-ordinating the rolling of your fretting hand to match the precise timing of your picking hand as it sweeps across any given string. You want to have a finger holding down a note on a string just long enough for the pick to sweep across it. Then, slightly release the pressure so that the string is muted and not ringing any longer. Your finger should still be touching the string but not pressing it down hard enough to let the note continue to ring.

You should also be careful with how much muting you do with your picking hand. Try different amounts of pressure from light palm muting to medium, then to heavy. The idea here is to clearly and cleanly isolate one string at a time in order to make only one note at a time sound. As soon as one note sounds, it is stopped and the next note sounds! And so on, until the end of the sweep picking passage.

In most cases sweep picking is done so the last note of the sweep is the downbeat, or the rhythmically emphasized goal of the musical phrase. So the other notes are grace notes that have to be played before the downbeat. When we play an exercise with this chord in the next lessons we'll aim for the last note of each sweep to be the downbeat.

Lesson Info
Any Style
Sweep Picking Series 1: The Basics