Three Mistakes That Make It A Struggle To Play Creative Sweep Picking Arpeggios

By Tom Hess

It’s difficult to play creative sweep picking arpeggios when you fall into the trap of making these 3 mistakes:

Mistake #1. Not Mastering The Fundamental Aspects Of Sweep Picking

It’s a struggle to play great sounding sweep picking arpeggios when you haven’t mastered the fundamental elements of the technique:

These elements include:

  • Being able to mute effectively using your fretting hand (this also includes using rolling technique)
  • Being able to mute effectively using your picking hand
  • Keeping both of your hands in perfect sync while picking

When you have not mastered these things, you face these big problems:

  • The notes of the arpeggio blend together
  • Sloppy string noise occurs from unplayed strings that aren’t muted well
  • Notes are missed due to bad timing in one or both hands

Work on developing the fundamental elements of sweep picking at slower speeds at the beginning. When you master the fundamental movements needed to play accurately, playing fast and clean becomes much easier. Note: you don't need to play arpeggios as fast as possible to sound creative.

Mistake #2. Not Understanding How Chords Fit Into Certain Keys

When you don't know how chords fit into keys you are unable to play arpeggios creatively while soloing. This forces you to guess about which notes to use in order to find what sounds good and what sounds bad. This makes playing guitar solos a very frustrating experience because you are constantly making mistakes.

When you already understand which chords go into which keys, you no longer have to think about it while playing. This frees your mind to think creatively rather than to worry about making mistakes or playing notes that sound wrong. This makes it a lot easier to play creative arpeggio licks.

Mistake #3. Having Only One Method For Playing Arpeggios

You are not limited to playing sweep picking licks in the same way every time (as most guitarists do). This generally means: playing up and down the arpeggio as fast as possible every time. This sounds cool, but quickly becomes boring when used too much.

Rather than doing this every time you play arpeggios, focus on making your sweep picking sound emotional and musical as you can. Here are a few simple ways to do this:

  • Integrate yours sweep picking arpeggios together with scale runs
  • Add more notes to basic sweep picking arpeggios such as the 7th, 9th or 6th
  • Play your arpeggios with more speed during intense moments of a song/backing track. For example: while soloing over the V chord in the key

Want to learn more ways to play killer sweep picking arpeggios? Study this article about improving your sweep picking to make your arpeggios sound amazing.


Author's Bio: 

About The Author:
Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, songwriter and a pro guitarist. He uses the best online guitar lessons to train guitar players to reach their musical goals. Go to to get more guitar playing resources , guitar playing eBooks, and to read more guitar playing articles.