How to sweep?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by bradpeterson, May 13, 2006.

  1. bradpeterson

    bradpeterson Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    PA
    So guys, how do you sweep? What are the steps for the proper technique?

    How did you learn?

    I just cant seem to get it... :jo
     
  2. Kevan

    Kevan Member

    Messages:
    479
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Location:
    New Albany, OH
    It's a tough technique to get down.
    I'll preface this post by saying that I am by no means great at this, but I have fun with it. (In fact, I'm such a hack I came up with my own 'fake sweeps' after getting frustrated when I first started to learn how to do it. LOL)

    Sweeping is a combination of mixing muted picking with non-muted picking. You need to be quick going from one type to the next: hit the note, mute that note, hit the next note, mute that note, et. al.
    I'm sure there's a professional out there that can describe it much better that I just tried to do. :)

    The easy part (for me) was the left hand and getting some of the standard shapes down. The HARD part was getting my picking hand fluid and even. Getting the timing right between strings take some practice. I would just mute the strings with my left hand, and practice (over and over) different tempos as well; some fast, some slow, some inbetween....trying to keep them all even between all 6- or 7-strings.

    Master Malmsteen, Commander Cooley and General Gilbert are a few major sweepers to check out for great technique.
    (That's Yngwie Malmsteen, Rusty Cooley, and Paul Gilbert...just in case). All those guys have instructional DVDs.

    You can also check out ChopsFromHell.com. Some cool sweeping lessons up there once you get the basics down.

    Don't get frustrated if you're not pulling 32nd notes off the first time you try it. The first time I did it, it sounded like the "May I help you?" riff...played on a superstore guitar...on a Monday. :D
    Like hybrid picking, strumming, tapping, and all the other things we guitarists put in our 'tool box', it takes some patience and some practice.
    You'll get it.
     
  3. bradpeterson

    bradpeterson Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    PA
  4. lhallam

    lhallam Member

    Messages:
    15,775
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    Lost
    You may want to check out Jack Zucker's (TGP member) Sheets of Sounds instruction book. Tons of stuff.
     
  5. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,777
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    North Carolina
    +1
    beat me to it, Lance
     
  6. Brian D

    Brian D Member

    Messages:
    5,906
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    The Land of 10,000 Lakes
    While I can’t attest to his actual learning materials, as I’ve never used them personally, I can sure attest to the ability of Frank Gambale to sweep pick! He completely blew me away a month ago when I saw him live. In addition to the other materials suggested in this post, you might want to check out some of Frank's stuff here. A lot of it is somewhat old, but I’m sure that the techniques he teaches are still sound.

    I'm just beginning to work on this technique as well, so I'll be interested to hear if any others here have advice to offer.
     
  7. ivers

    ivers Member

    Messages:
    3,215
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    Norway
  8. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

    Messages:
    15,071
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    MD.
    +1! It's hard and frustrating. Knock Yngwie all you want, but he's a hell of a sweep picker!
     
  9. Kevan

    Kevan Member

    Messages:
    479
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Location:
    New Albany, OH
    +1 to the Frank Gambale. Fantastic sweeper. Be sure to watch his right hand if you see him live. The left does some uber-cool stuff, but the right is working just as hard. And then there's that whole coordination thing....LOL

    I didn't know Jack had sweeping stuff in his book. I need to check that out.
     
  10. bradpeterson

    bradpeterson Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    PA
    Looks like I gotta check out this book. :cool:
     
  11. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,777
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Gambale's method, which he teaches in his video, as also what Jack Z is talking about in his book - a hybrid method where you alt pick 2 notes on a string, then sweep the 3rd note & the first note of the next string.
    Sorta:
    \/ /\ \/\/ /\ \/\/ ...etc.

    It's complicated, but it works.
     
  12. LHanson

    LHanson Member

    Messages:
    7,460
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2003
    Location:
    Houston
    +1 on Rusty Cooley. I'm lucky enough to take lessons when I can afford them. Don't know about the quality of his instructional material, never seen it.

    For him, the trick is hammering on the notes with the left hand. He is really good at hitting the strings with the pick, but he can also just dampen the strings behind his left hand and hammer on nearly as loudly as picking them. Lots of gain and neck pickup help even out the volume.
     
  13. Thwap

    Thwap Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,626
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Location:
    Tacoma, Wa
    Gambales Monster licks and speed picking is a good video, and John Petrucci's Rock Discipline is another good one for sweeping. Gambales goes more into how to set up your sweeps as Tom was saying, kind of an odd vs. even number of notes, and how to most economically pick.

    Petrucci's really breaks down the technique a little more, and is a great video for alternate picking, and legato as well.
     
  14. Shredcow

    Shredcow Member

    Messages:
    834
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Location:
    Singapore!
    1 point to note... Pick angle.

    I am in the school of thought where I believe there's no need to angle your pick when sweeping.

    Some ppl like to angle their pick one way when going down, then angle it the opposite way when going up.

    While its true that its not wrong to do so, it does not make sense to me to do so.

    I started sweeping, making sure I angled my pick and what not... and I never got it right till, you got it, i kept my pick in 1 position and went at it up and down.

    At the end of the day, your story might be the opposite of mine, SO! Just be open, if you find yourself stagnant, try pick angle. :)
     
  15. Kappy

    Kappy Member

    Messages:
    14,044
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    West Village, NYC
    It's a good question about pick angle. I've been working on the sweep picking thing a long time. It's slowly starting to come together. However, I always think there are subtle ways to improve. I was watching Gambale on the Chick Corea Montreaux DVD and he definitely appears to be angling the pick. At least to my eyes, the pick doesn't look perpendicular to the strings. Anyway, I figure if he can sweep the way he does (I've heard all the shred guys, and I've still yet to hear anyone who does it better and more consistently than Gambale, say what you will about his taste in note choice, and his music, etc.), it's worth paying attention to how he does it. YMMV.
     
  16. retro

    retro Member

    Messages:
    2,114
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Location:
    Earth
  17. GuitarGuy510

    GuitarGuy510 Member

    Messages:
    1,938
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Have you ever taken a look at John Petrucci's "Rock Discipline" dvd? He has some great lessons on sweep picking as well as other technique stuff. Gambale is a GREAT guitarist, but dude... Petrucci is one of my guitar idols and he can sweep like a mofo! :dude :RoCkIn
     
  18. Shredcow

    Shredcow Member

    Messages:
    834
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Location:
    Singapore!
    Hmmm... I just re-read my earlier post about pick angle and realised i got it kinda wrong. :p Messaging @ work is bad.

    I mean, you know the way some people sweep, in that they angle the pick the same way you would when doing a rake/slow strum? Then when they are going up, high E to Low E sweep, they angle the pick the opposite way.

    I don't do that. I just hold my pick in 1 angle, and thats it! It does sweeps both ways like so.
     
  19. rotren

    rotren Member

    Messages:
    2,654
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Location:
    Camrose, Alberta, Canada, but originally from Umea
    I have a little sweep video example, not sure if it's helpful or not, but take a look. The way I do it is to start slowly and try to play the notes one at a time, as much is possible. Then increase the speed.

    http://www.dolphinstreet.com/video_clips/video-2.php
     
  20. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

    Messages:
    20,287
    Joined:
    May 20, 2003
    Location:
    Home of the ex-world champion Cavs

Share This Page