Sweep picking is kicking my ass!

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

  1. russ6100

    russ6100 Member

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    In my first 10 years of playing, it was all about the left hand. My right hand did whatever it had to do to get the notes out without much rhyme or reason.

    Then I put in some serious time into alternate picking. There was a period of my life when everything that came out of my guitar was very machine gun like. I'd like to take this opportunity to appologize to those who had to endure it. :D

    I discovered the "sweep" or "economy" type of picking via Frank Gambale and purchased some of his instructional material. I never quite got to that point of insane speed with it like some guys developed but it was time well spent.

    Nowadays I rarely think about what my right hand is doing.

    I kind of shy away from the insane sounding, long, obvious, "look at what I can do" sweeps. I think I use quite a bit of "circular" technique, especially 4ths, where alternate picking just wouldn't sound good to my ears and there'd just be too much motion.

    buddastrat wrote:
    You know, especially in his earlier body of work, I got the same feeling. It was kind of mapped out too perfectly and I knew I just didn't want to let the technique drive the bus like that. I think his newer stuff is less like that and he is certainly capable of playing lyrically and continuing with ideas.

    I would tell anyone to just put the time in to shedding both approaches and then just forget about it.

    Russ
    http://www.russletson.com
     
  2. rpavich

    rpavich Member

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    I agree with the "setting up" thing...

    Sweeping lends itself to certain "kinds" of licks and you tend to play; as someone said "for the technique" instead of the other way around...

    And as for sweeping fitting in in other styles? Witness malmsteen, or gambale playing the blues...uh huh..

    bob
     
  3. jzucker

    jzucker Member

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    Oh, and SRV could play Coltrane?!?

    I've heard Gambale play jazz with a hollowbody and he does fine.

    Why do people attack what they don't understand?!?

    Why not just say it's not your cup of tea and leave it at that. I think folks sometimes need to justify the choices they've made.
     
  4. rpavich

    rpavich Member

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    JZuker,
    I'm not attacking what I don't understand...I've seen gambale up close and personal. I"ve studied sweeping extensively...I'm just saying that it lends itself to a certain "sound" more fusion-y type of playing...AND by learning the 3-note-per-string scales, as I did, some things just don't lay well for a sweeper...I'm saying this as someone who's done both; sweeping and the old pentatonic box position playing..

    And YES, to deny that the tunes that Gambale has written aren't riffs that come out of that technique, doesn't even hold a little water...they obviously are; not better or worse...they just are what they are.

    I'm also not saying that SRV could play coltrane his STYLE DOESN'T LEND ITSELF TO THAT TYPE OF PLAYING..just as Gambale's doesnt for some things...
    No flame war intended...that's just a fact...

    bob
     
  5. jzucker

    jzucker Member

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    So have I. I've integrated it into my playing seamlessly and have written a book about it. It requires no setup to incorporate. That statement is just silly. It's like telling a saxophonist that tonguing a note requires a setup. When integrated into your playing, sweep picking just becomes part of your vocabulary.

    Any licks that Gambale chooses to throw in are just that - LICKS - and it has nothing to do with the technique. The technique is a separate issue.

    Using Malmsteen as an example of why you shouldn't sweep pick is also ridiculous. Let me give you some names of guys who did use sweep picking techniques (even if they called it something different)

    Chuck Wayne,
    Barney Kessell,
    Joe Pass,
    Jimmy Bruno,
    Stevie Ray Vaughan,
    Adam Rogers,
    Rodney Jones,
    (me too...)
    etc...
     
  6. rpavich

    rpavich Member

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    Jzuker,
    That is my point exactly...the people you've sited used little bits of sweeping in their playing...that's the point that I've gotten to, using it for extra speed when needed, because doing the "Gambale thing" doesnt fit in anywhere EXCEPT as a vehicle for shredding the sweep thing..

    And I beg to differ...when you sweep..you cross strings in a certain way and you do tend to play a certain way because of it...

    For example...someone who uses wide intervals as his stylistic focal point plays a certain way....someone who is sweeping arps all of the time will have to change his technique if he wants to play a wide interval lick that skips strings...thats just the way it is.
    And yes...I've checked out your website; I looked at the book. That style of playing wouldn't fit in with my current gig...I've heard your clips..the "Sheets of sound"...I admire you for having the tenacity for seeing that thru and coming up with it but as I said..my current gig requires lots of melodies that people (not shredders) can hum when they walk away.

    bob

    bob
     
  7. jzucker

    jzucker Member

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    I thought your point was that sweeping requires setting up which is patently false. My whole point is that you can integrate it into your playing so it's not a matter of setup.
     
  8. sosomething

    sosomething Member

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    I'm so glad that I found this thread. Sweeping is something I've tried to learn from time to time, but my lack of instant measurable progress always discourages me after a day or two (I'm not by nature a patient person) but this thread and the advice in it has convinced me to give it another go.
     
  9. jzucker

    jzucker Member

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    That's good Adam. 5 years ago, I had only worked on sweeping in a cursory way and was almost concluding that it just wouldn't work for me. However, I spent 6 months practicing everying exclusively sweeping and now while not a Gambale or Metal sweeper, it's very well integrated into my playing. I generally don't think about it unless I'm working on an exercise. The notion of setup and such is a non issue. I don't need any setup. If what I hear requires a continuous stream of notes like a sax player would play, I tend to use sweep picking. Otherwise, I can use SRV techniques, Benson techniques, Martino techniques, Gatton techniques, etc. I don't know why folks think techniques are mutually exclusively.

    Incidentally, many SRV techniques involve sweep picking believe it or not...
     
  10. sosomething

    sosomething Member

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    I believe it! :)

    Actually, I own a copy of your book. I purchased it some time last year, and have yet to get very far at all. It seems to rely a bit on some assumed knowledge of musical theory, and I'm a little ashamed to admit that much of it is over my head. That, and my real problem with sweeping so far has been utter cluelessness when it comes to my right hand - my left hand knows what to do, and it's only a matter of consistant speed, but I'm a self-taught lefty playing righty and there are some oddities in my technique that I can't seem to shake.
     
  11. rpavich

    rpavich Member

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    Jzucker,
    Maybe the word "setup" is the wrong word...sorry.

    Matte: thanks for the scintillating addition to this thread....

    bob
     
  12. jzucker

    jzucker Member

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    Bob,

    No apology needed. I know exactly what you're saying regarding Gambale. I think he does sometimes set himself up for his MONSTER sweeps as do many other sweepers. I think I was just (poorly) trying to make the point that you can learn to use the sweep technique without being a spandex wearing shredder. Ironically, we're probably saying the same thing anyway. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    Adam - Email me offline if you have specific questions or need some tips.
     
  13. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    Agreed, and that sort of thing is what I was referencing when I mentioned "rakes" in my previous post. My prime personal influence in this regard was actually Barry Bailey with the Atlanta Rhythm Section, who'd been doing the stuff on mainstream AOR radio hits pretty early on. Not saying that he was in any way *first*, as guys had been expounding on the basic premise for many years previously; merely noting my personal timeline of influence.

    I can't play (read: haven't put the time into developing) the big, sprawling sax-approved lines, sweep-style, but again, am nonetheless glad that I did some time with the concept, as it's surely been beneficial in the long run.

    My kudos to yourself and others here that have done the time and have mastered the technique, as it's certainly a considerable accomplishment and a viable tool.
     
  14. russ6100

    russ6100 Member

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    Tim Bowen wrote:
    aah yes...I remember as a teenager listening to them on FM stations. I seem to remember a certain lick that really got my attention from him - during the outro solo on "So into You", he played this really "jazzy" (well it was to me at the time) thing that began with a 'rake' like you speak of. Very cool.

    Russ
    http://www.russletson.com
     
  15. rpavich

    rpavich Member

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    JZucker,
    Yes, I guess we are saying the same thing...I did mean "long extended swept lines" but neglected to say it...

    bob
     
  16. jzucker

    jzucker Member

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    I agree that those definitely require setup *AND* Gambale does resort to those. However, I've heard him play in an impromptu setting where he's not showing off and he's able to incorporate the sweeping in a more natural way so it is possible. I guess when you have Gambale chops, it's hard to not use them all the time. :)
     
  17. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Though I don't do it all the time now (though I'm always tempted because it's so much fun ...)
    It totally recharged my personal relationship with the guitar solo when I discovered it ...
     
  18. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Focus on how you remove your finger from the note.

    This is often many peoples problem.

    Work with a Metronome.

    Sheeis of Sound has many tips.
     
  19. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    [​IMG] .... Yep, dat there's da crux of it ...
     

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