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’m talking about the unmistakable signature graphics on the guitars of “Mr. Scary," A.K.A. George Lynch. But the graphics are not nearly as recognizable as Lynch’s frighteningly unique phrasing, tone and vibrato. Since the early 1980s, soulful shred Sensei George Lynch has challenged the boundaries of his abilities, constantly evolved with the times and kept his playing fresh.
If you take some of the greatest guitarists of our time, the one thing they have in common is that they know their fretboard like the back of their hand. If you look at a guitarist like Joe Satriani or Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen, you’ll notice how their hands just seem to dance across the fretboard without looking at it.
In this new Guitar World video, GW's tech editor, Paul Riario, shows you how to make basic adjustments to your guitar's truss rod. In the clip, which you can check out below, Riario is joined by an Epiphone ES-339 PRO and a Fender Strat.
If I had to pick one thing I place highest in importance when it comes to guitar playing, it would be originality. I am not a fan of the tried-and-true cliché licks that have been used forever by so many guitarists. To me, it’s simply a cop out to mimic fast phrases or standard rock licks that we’ve all heard a million times before. I think it’s much more interesting and appealing to strive for originality through spontaneity and invention.
In its most basic form, the lick is a sequence of six notes played as a sextuplet or two sets of triplets (depending on the tempo). The notes are played on the same string, which makes it very easy to alternate-pick and build speed. Once you have mastered the basic pattern, you can apply the lick to different scales and positions to give an almost endless amount of variations.
In this lesson, I’ll be taking one of the most common sweep picking patterns (EXAMPLE 1) and showing you how to slightly alter it, creating several different arpeggios. It’s a cool way to take something ordinary and give it a more unique sound and vibe.