Being able to sweep pick arpeggios cleanly and fluently requires a great deal of practice, but the technique is just that—an approach to articulation on the guitar that will yield a certain sound. The real value of the technique only reveals itself when applied in a musical context, and the more formidable that context is, the more powerful and effective the technique will sound.
Just because I show you a run in one key and fretboard location it doesn’t mean that that’s the only place to play it. When you practice any sweep-picked arpeggio, once you have the fingering and shape down, you’ll want to begin moving it around the neck to other positions and keys. By doing this with the various major, minor and other shapes I’ve shown you, you’ll be able to apply the technique to changing chords in a progression.
In the last three columns, I demonstrated the mechanics of my technique for sweep picking arpeggios and some of my go-to shapes. This month, I’d like to show you a great way to expand upon these shapes, by adding a fretboard tap above the highest note played in the sweep.
Last month, I introduced the concept of applying different sweep-picked arpeggio shapes to a series of chords within a repeating progression. This month, I’d like to expand our view to a greater variety of sweep-picked shapes, as well as a more complex, ambitious chord progression.
As useful as sweep picking can be for playing an ascending or descending arpeggio over a single chord, developing the ability to seamlessly transition from one arpeggio shape to another within a lead phrase will greatly aid in one’s complete understanding and ultimate mastery of the technique.
It has become a huge part of my playing style, and I’m always looking for new and different ways to incorporate sweep picking into musical ideas I come up with. Last month, I detailed the basic mechanics of the technique, and now I’d like to further demonstrate its proper execution.
Hello again, Guitar World readers. It’s nice to be back! I’d like to begin this new series of columns by talking about getting started with sweep picking, which is a very useful and exciting technique that I often use to perform fast arpeggio-based licks and runs.
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