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Betcha Can't Play This: Avenged Sevenfold

Betcha Can't Play This: Avenged Sevenfold
Vengeance and Gates (not Bill).

ZACKY VENGEANCE [FIGURE 1]: "This sweep-picking lick consists mainly of the notes of a D minor arpeggio-D, F and A-with a couple of connecting notes thrown in. The very first note is picked with a downstroke, and the next note initiates an upstroke sweep, or 'reverse rake,' across the first-through-fifth strings [performed by dragging the pick across the strings in a single upstroke, moving from the high strings to the low strings].


When I get to D [fifth string/17th fret], I initiate a downstroke sweep, or 'forward rake,' across the fifth-through-first strings [dragging the pick across all of these strings in a single downstroke]. This shape is played twice, and then I slide down one fret on the high E string to play a similar sweep arpeggio based on the notes of a C major triad [C E G].

"Though I've been playing guitar for a long time, I actually have just gotten into sweep picking while working on our latest album, City of Evil. I have no formal guitar training whatsoever, so it's been fun learning sweep-picking techniques. Working on these types of licks has thrown a whole new collection of tricks into the mix. I think people are really interested in hearing wild, technical guitar playing again, so by the next album we should be shredding full on."

SYNYSTER GATES [FIGURE 2]: "This lick also uses sweep picking. It begins with a reverse-raked D minor arpeggio, followed by a forward-raked Bb major arpeggio [Bb D F]. In bar 2, I slide up to a higher-position D minor arpeggio, which I play both descending and ascending. This is followed by similarly articulated Bb and A major [A C# E] arpeggios as my fretting hand moves higher up the neck. The lick ends with a half-step bend at the 21st fret, from C# to D.

"I learned sweep picking from a variety of sources. One was a Frank Gambale instructional video, but he executes his sweeps a little differently. You can hear me play licks like this one on the new record."

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