Sweep picking is kicking my ass!

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by bbarnard, Jan 11, 2006.


  1. bbarnard

    bbarnard Member

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    Had a lesson last night. My teacher had introduced me to sweep picking a while back and it kicked my ass then. We went away from it but he's got me back on it as part of the melodic minor/lydian b7/altered work we're doing and I have to say I totally SUCK at it.

    Any tips/clues/help anyone could give would be appreciated.:jo
     
  2. hemlock

    hemlock Guest

    Do what I do when the lessons get hard. Find a different teacher.
     
  3. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Check out Jack Zucker's book Sheets of Sound, it shows you how to use sweep picking in really useful and musical ways.
     
  4. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Try sweep picking finger style... forget about it. It's a cool technique but I really don't hear too many ezamples for it in the music I listen to.
     
  5. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    I like it! :D

    I think good sweeping is as much about muting as it is about the fluidity of movement. I occasionally work on the Gambale-esque pentatonic and arpeggio patterns, which have some pretty challenging stretches. I just have to practice seriously slow and listen for clear articulation of every note with proper muting using both right and left hands. With sweeping, if I try to force speed where it hasn't been earned, it might sound almost convincing, but it's a sham and there's all kindsa' noise and uneven notes happening when I try it slowly.

    That or find another teacher. heh.
     
  6. bbarnard

    bbarnard Member

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    That's not what's getting to me, it's the physical method of doing sweep picking. The pick feels like its going to fall out of my hand and I have a hard time getting my left hand fingers out of the way especially when the two notes are right below each other.
     
  7. drjenkins

    drjenkins Supporting Member

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    I can sympathize, since Im in the middle of learning it myself. The biggest thing for me, is to play extremely slow and with a metronome. I also use the Dunlop Jazz picks, the small ones, and they help me with artificial harmonics and alternate picking faster. Make sure above all, that you cleanly pick each note, thats crucial for it to sound clear.Other than that I cant really add much more. Good luck, and dont give up on it, one day all the slow practicing will click and you'll be sweeping with the best of 'em.

    dave:AOK
     
  8. Mayflower

    Mayflower Supporting Member

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    start with triads( 3 notes) using a pull-off on the highest note( of the triad ) adding a whole tone or minor 3rd as the pull off note coming back to your triad. It automatically reverses your pattern. Repeat.
    Here's an easy example.
    Play a A dim. triad.
    pinky on 8th fret d string
    middle 6th fret g string
    index on 5th fret b string
    pick each note down in a sweeping motion.....count 123.
    reverse your picking pattern by putting moving your pinky to the 8th fret b string (4th note played) pulloff it off to your 5th fret ( where your index is resting.. that's 5 notes... 5th note is not picked, it is sounded by the pull off)
    continue the upward picking..... end on the middle finger g string ( 6th note played). that's the last note!
    Start again with the pinky on 8th fret d string downward. repeat
    count 123 456 123 456 123 456
    No movement of the left hand at all except the pinky swithching between the d and b string.
    Now move EVERYTHING up 3 frets. Repeat. then again.
    Most sweeps are generally 6 notes creating "the sound. but you are actually only picking 5 notes, one of those notes are a pull off!
    Use this technique with different shapes. This where it all starts.
    Good Luck!
     
  9. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Member

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    Frankly, for me this discussion raises a more general philosophical question. One of the beautiful things about the guitar is that there are so many different approaches to playing it. There are dozens of different "disciplines". In order to be a good guitarist do you have to be proficient in every single technique out there?

    I've taught guitar for years, and quite honestly I suck at sweep picking too. I know what it is and how to do it, but I have never invested the time to become good at it.

    If it is something one wants to learn, then by all means pursue it. If not, one's time might be better spent in other aspects of guitar study. If it's not something you want to learn, tell your teacher.

    Being a bad sweep-picker and being a good guitarist aren't mutually exclusive in my view.

    A
     
  10. Mayflower

    Mayflower Supporting Member

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    ^^^ I agree. I only use sweeping this 6 note pattern in context, and most cetainly not as a starting point in solo's.
    Please take everything you learn in your own direction.
     
  11. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Member

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    As long as we're talking about it, I tell you what has been kicking my butt lately: that tail end of the intro to Cliffs of Dover where EJ plays that passage were he's picking alternately w/ his pick and his R.H. ring finger. Playing that clean and quick is double-tough.

    Pisses me off.:FM

    A
     
  12. Mayflower

    Mayflower Supporting Member

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    It's impossible to play some licks unless you include your middle and ring finger.
    Gatton, Ray Flacke, Vince Gill, etc...hell, even John 5!
    When I heard Ray Flacke on Ricky SKaggs "Highway and Heartaches" in 84, that was the moment I knew I had to change. I know some really good players that can't play really easy licks because they are using the pick only. When using the extra fingers, it is really just an "illusion" that you are playing something fast or difficult. That is part of the secret.
    Pick up Ray Flackes instructional video or cassete, it really sheds alot of light on the subject.
     
  13. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    It's all about co-ordination.

    Practice your excersise way slower than you are now, like a quarter note =50 bpm.
    Practice like you are playing in slow motion with smooth movements.
     
  14. Rich T Fingers

    Rich T Fingers Member

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    Trying to play like EJ is a sure way to get you mad quickly ... :horse
     
  15. rh

    rh Robo Sapien Noise Maker Gold Supporting Member

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    I had a very hard time with this when Fuze was graciously wasting his time trying to give me guitar lessons. The difficulty was compounded by his preference for not "rolling" the same finger onto an adjacent note as I did, but using a different finger for each note played.

    For me: I'd been doing alternate picking forever, and sweeping just felt completely unnatural. The left hand was relatively easy compared to the fits my right hand gave me. (Fuze also got me into using hammer-ons/pull-offs, which I wasn't doing at all.)

    Just go really slow and have patience--slow enough so that you're not fighting the technique with either hand. If it still fights you, maybe try working on one hand at a time. I had to get the right hand first, and now I still work on the different-finger-for-each-note thing. I'm not completely convinced I'll have to do that, but it's nice to have the option (and I can only have the option when I can do it either way).
     
  16. littlemoon

    littlemoon Member

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    Bill - Get some "Gorilla Snot" or rosin. That will take care of the pick grip insecurity (I assume you are using a heavy gauge pick and that you loosen your grip on the pick to do the sweeps).

    I'm not sure what you mean when you say you have difficulty getting your left-hand fingers out of the way. When the two notes are "right below each other" as you describe, are you using different fingers for each or are you using a bar with one finger. If you're not using a bar, you might try it, rolling the pressure point on the appropriate string with the sweep.

    littlemoon
     
  17. bbarnard

    bbarnard Member

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    Yes I'm using a heavy pick and loosening the grip plus holding the pick at a large angle to the strings. I haven't "lost" the pick yet, it just feels loose.

    When I'm playing two notes in the same fret (a fifth above the first note) my teacher has told me to just roll the tip of my finger down to get the next one, but if the third note is either a third or b3 above the one that is the fifth of the first I'm finding I'm muting one of them before I can get my finger out of the way, especially when I'm sweeping up towards the first note.
     
  18. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Loosening the grip is a mistake when sweeping. You want the grip to be firm. The pick should not be angled when sweeping. It should be perpendicular. There should be no difference between the angle of your upstroke and downstroke when sweeping. You want to minimize the movement.
     
  19. bbarnard

    bbarnard Member

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    Interesting, as that's not the way my teacher has been teaching me. He has been stressing the pick angle.
     
  20. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Nope. Pick needs to be exactly the same with no changing of angle from up sweeping to down sweeping. If you think about it, any change you make to the pick angle only serves to increase residual motion. You want to absolutely minimize superfluous motion.

    Look at the masters of sweep picking (Gambale, Jimmy Bruno) as examples.
     

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