Start the process of Sweep Picking.

Let me start out by describing sweep picking. Sweep picking is a technique on the guitar that allows you to play chords one note at a time. With a lot of practice it can be the fastest way for a person to play, but it takes a lot of time patience and discipline to get this down, and to make it not sound sloppy! What you do is a consecutive motion of down strokes from string to string playing one note at a time. You in turn can do consecutive upstrokes on the same or a different chord shape. You will "sweep" up and down the strings hence the name.

Lets start sweeping! First and foremost, and this is the absolute most important thing about sweeping in my opinion. You must keep your pick perfectly flat! By flat I mean that it needs to be parallel to the floor. I can't honestly tell you how many times I have seen kids trying to sweep and their pick is all over the place, bending up and down, this doesn't work and needs to be stopped.

For me I also only use the tip of the pick, I am talking about less than an eighth of an inch, this allows for less of the pick to get in the way of the strings. Go in a smooth motion up and down the strings making sure to keep the pick perfectly flat!

To start though you definitely need to go slow, and I personally recommend starting off with a three string sweep. I am sure most of you are familiar with an open D chord, use this shape and move it up and down the neck. This is a great exercise to get you started with sweep picking. You can also alternate between a D major shape and a D minor shape, just to get your fingers used to two very common chord shapes. When I say slow I mean slow start off with a metronome at 60 bpm and do quarter notes, that's right one note per beat, one note at a time, until it is perfect, and then slowly increase the metronome by three bpm, making sure that your technique is prefect. Slowly start to build speed, and when comfortable slowly start to add strings.

This is just a quick guide to starting sweeping, there is so much more that you can add with your practice and I want to recommend a book to you all. You NEED to pick up the Guitar Grimoire series. Specifically the arpeggio book for sweeping. This will show you all the possible arpeggios on the neck and will open you up to an unlimited amount of exercises up and down the neck!

In you want more information on sweep picking or anything else shred guitar please check out, . Thanks all looking forward to your comments and I will of course respond to all that have any questions or just want to say hi!


Sammy Jo

Sweep Picking