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.
An Independence Day parade of solo-guitar versions of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Slash, Steve Vai, Dave Mustaine, Zakk Wylde, Eric Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ted Nugent and -- of course -- Jimi Hendrix.
I could never overstate the importance of a musician’s need to develop his or her ear. Actually, I believe that developing a good “inner ear” — the art of being able to decipher musical components solely through listening — is the most important element in becoming a good musician.
Have you ever wanted to learn the nuances of songwriting and the music business from one of greatest guitarists of all time? Look no further than the inaugural Vai Academy Song Evolution Camp, which takes place June 23 to 27 in Saratoga Springs, New York. And yes, that's Vai as in Steve Vai, the virtuoso guitarist, composer and producer. The camp is billed as the entire manual for being an independent musician — condensed into three days of classes.
GuitaWorld.com is revisiting Steve Vai's classic mag column, "The Ultra Zone," for this crash course in ear training. As I mentioned last time, a valuable method of training your ear is to practice singing the notes that you play on the guitar. I’d like to elaborate on this fun approach and offer you some specific advice on how to go about doing this on your own.