As long as you practice the right way, sweep picking is not too difficult to master.


The most efficient sweep picking is based on proper biomechanics and the avoidance of common errors made by most guitarists (that lead to sloppy playing).


Make it easy to sweep pick cleanly and fast by not making these mistakes:


Mistake #1: Killing picking momentum.


Completing a sweep picking motion through an arpeggio consists of two basic movements: moving the hand down while ascending and moving the hand up as you descend.


Don’t stop in between strings. When you stop, you kill the momentum you created, cause sloppy noise and make fast playing nearly impossible. Regardless of the number of notes within the arpeggio or the number of hammer ons/pull offs, the pick should only do one motion to ascend or descend.


Regardless of how many notes there are in the arpeggio or how many hammer ons, pull offs it contains, the pick must maintain momentum during each of the two separate picking motions.


Your pick needs to fall into each string and push against the next higher string, like if you were playing a violin with a bow. Maintain consistent momentum and watch your arpeggios get cleaner.

Picking momentum is incredibly important if you want to do things like add tapping to your arpeggios:


Mistake #2: Practicing with only a clean setting (no distortion).


“Rolling” describes playing notes on the same fret but different/adjacent strings (using the same finger). Many guitar players mistakenly treat rolling technique like playing a barre chord. Meaning: they fret all the notes at once and play through them with the pick. This causes them to ring out together, making your sweep picking sound sloppy.


Use distortion for the majority of your time practicing sweep picking. Clean settings are best used to improve your articulation.


Mistake #3: Not properly isolating the rolling movement in your fretting hand.


“Rolling” refers to using the same finger to play various notes on a single fret, on different strings. A lot of guitar players mistakenly treat rolling like using a barre. They fret every note simultaneously and them all with the pick. This causes the notes to blend together and make your sweep picking sound very sloppy.


Practice sweep picking using distortion for the majority of your practice time. Only use clean tone for the specific purpose of refining your articulation using heavy picking power to lock both hands in sync.


There are many more ways to play awesome sweep picking arpeggios. Play better sweep picking licks than ever by studying the points in this article about how to sweep pick.


Author's Bio: 

About The Author:

Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and composer. He teaches guitar players from all over the world in his online guitar lessons. Learn more on the Tom Hess Wikipedia page.