Sweep picking cleanly at fast speeds requires mastering the rolling technique in your fretting fingers. This is the key to playing notes on strings right after each other, on the same fret, with the exact same finger.

Being able to play with excellent rolling technique requires:

*Knowing the specific movements of the technique in order to practice it the right way.
*Avoiding mistakes that most players make (which make the technique difficult).
*Focusing on the correct things during practice, so sweep picking fast and accurately is easy.

The most frequent causes of sloppy finger rolling are:

Sloppy Sweep Picking Cause #1: Barring Notes Rather Than Rolling To Play Them

You need to use your to fret every note in the roll at a time. This is how you keep your sweep picking clean during times when you use lots of gain or high volume on your amp.

Many guitarists use a barre to fret many strings at once, causing notes to blend together. This makes sweep picking with accuracy at high speeds incredibly difficult. Watch the demonstration in the video around two minutes and twenty seconds to hear how bad this sounds.

What you need to do:

Step 1. Practice the rolling motion on its own by collapsing and releasing the knuckle on each finger.

Step 2. As soon as you feel confident with using the roll on its own, begin incorporating it into your everyday playing. When you practice too much in isolation, you lose the ability to use it in actual playing situations. By both training the motion on its own AND using it in your playing, you avoid this mistake and improve faster on guitar.

Learn other sweep picking practicing tips that help you improve this technique.

Sloppy Sweep Picking Cause #2: Your String Action Is Low

The height of your string action determines how difficult it is to use finger rolling to clean up your sweep picking. When your strings are very close to the fretboard, it becomes harder to separate individual notes as you roll. As you collapse your knuckle, low strings make it more likely that the previous note will continue to ring out.

What you need to do:

Raise the action of your guitar a little bit. This makes it easier for you to release the previous note in a roll as soon as you're done playing it (so that it doesn’t keep ringing).

Sloppy Sweep Picking Cause #3: Not Hearing Mistakes While Playing Fast

Your mind has to keep up with the notes you are playing and the mistakes you are making in real time in order to play with accuracy. Doing this makes guitar practice more effective and helps improve your sweep picking faster.

Training your mind to hear mistakes while playing fast is made up of:

1. Hearing the mistakes you make at fast speeds. It’s not enough to simply know you aren’t playing cleanly; you need to identify the specific mistakes you are making without having to play at a slower tempo.

2. Training your mind to hear music being played at fast speeds. This skill can be developed in a similar manner to how you would develop speed on your hands on guitar. Program an arpeggio into any type of music/notational software and play it back at fast speeds. Have this arpeggio play over and over.

Listen for specific notes in the arpeggio as it plays.

Focus your attention on different notes every once in a while. This trains your mind to keep pace with your hands whenever you play fast on guitar.

Sloppy Sweep Picking Cause #4: Not Properly Tracking Your Progress

The majority of guitar players only think about increasing their max speed, rather than other aspects of their playing like:

*The speed at which they can play something 100% accurately, with consistency, and with both hands synchronized together.

*The gap between your mastery of these aspects and your maximum guitar speed.

Playing guitar fast doesn’t matter if you can’t play cleanly. To truly improve rolling technique, find the highest speed at which you can sweep pick cleanly, then bring that speed up to your max.

This free eGuide to sweep picking helps you utilize the tips in this article and improve your sweep picking.


Author's Bio: 

About The Author:
Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar player, composer and guitar teacher to thousands of guitarists worldwide. With his online guitar lessons, he has helped guitarists drastically improve their guitar skills. To become a better guitar player, go to his website about guitar instruction and see guitar playing video lessons, read guitar practice advice, and check out a free guitar soloing lesson.