The notion of sweeping (or raking) the pick across the strings to produce a quick succession of notes has been around since the invention of the pick itself. Jazz players from the Fifties would use the approach in their improvisations, and Chet Atkins was known to eschew his signature fingerstyle hybrid-picking technique from time to time and rip out sweep-picked arpeggios.
“I gotta admit, today is a little nerve racking,” Zacky Vengeance says, speaking to Guitar World on a hot July afternoon in Los Angeles. The guitarist is preparing to head to rehearsal with his bandmates in Avenged Sevenfold, something he has done hundreds of times over their 14 years together. It wouldn’t be cause for anxiety except that, this time, things are a little different. According to Vengeance, Avenged haven’t performed live in more than a year, the longest such stretch of their career.