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Alex Skolnick Explains Triads and Sweep Picking

(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images)

Alex Skolnick and recently got together to create a helpful "Guitar Tricks" video dedicated to triads and sweep picking. You can check it out below.

Triads are the basic ingredients to a chord, and Skolnick—best known for his work with Testament and the Alex Skolnick Trio—shows how versatile and essential they are in music. He then explains how triads can be used in sweeping and how to use sweeping in the context of a solo or melody.

Skolnick ends the clip by playing "Unbound," a tune from the new Alex Skolnick Trio album, Live Unbound. Recorded live in December 2014 at NYC's Spin Studios, Live Unbound pairs five Skolnick compositions with reimagined covers of Aerosmith's "Dream On" and Scorpions' "Still Loving You."

"This recording says we don't have much use for limitations," Skolnick says. "Our live performances can take us anywhere, from the spirit of quintessential jazz guitar trios to distortion and chaos. It's all possible."

Live Unbound track listing:

  • 01. Unbound (Skolnick / Zebroski)
  • 02. Culture Shock (Skolnick / Zebroski)
  • 03. Shades of Grey (Skolnick)
  • 04. 99/09 (Skolnick / Zebroski / Peck)
  • 05. Veritas (Skolnick)
  • 06. Dream On (Tyler)
  • 07. Still Loving You (Schenker /Meine)

Skolnick is playing his ESP AS-1 Alex Skolnick Signature Model in the clip. For more about Skolnick and the new album, head to

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.