We spend months of our lives talking about all these “guitar magazine” kind of discussions, who’s the best guitar player and his sweep picking. The notion of sweeping (or raking) the pick across the strings to produce Fusion maestro Frank Gambale is widely considered to be the most. If Frank Gambale were a DC Comics hero, he would surely have a big S on his chest. But that S would not stand for Superman. (That’s taken.

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Only one string should be fretted at any time this is key! Work from two strings up to six, keeping your metronome at the same tempo. Use a modern tube gmabale with the gain set to a moderate amount—just enough to give all the notes a uniform volume and sustain, but not so much that string muting becomes an impossible battle. The second set of five exercises handles some common sweep-picking approaches.

Economy picking requires that your pick take the shortest journey possible when crossing from string to string.

Big Strokes: A Beginner’s Guide to Sweep Picking | Guitarworld

This is quite challenging for the picking hand, so start very slowly and remember to keep the hand moving smoothly. This piece is in the key of A minor. This teaches your picking hand to make smooth motions rather than two separate downward or upward strokes. The descending section includes a pull-off on the high E string, which, although momentarily disruptive to your picking, is preferable to adding another downstroke.

Here we utilize two-string sweeps with pentatonic shapes. Remember, sweep picking is most effective when each note gambaoe cleanly separated from the last, so aim to have only one finger in contact with the fretboard at a time in order to keep the notes from ringing together. Something with a thickness between one and two millimeters and a rounded tip will provide the right amount of gambalf and still glide over the strings with ease.

If you have problems with string muting or note separation, apply some light palm muting to the notes as they are picked. These are shown in one position and based on one chord pickung each, thus focusing your attention on the exercise until you have become accustomed to the technique.


Focus on synchronizing your pidking so that your sweepp and fretting fingers make contact with the string at exactly the same moment. Once you are comfortable with this shape you can apply the same approach to minor, suspended gambape diminished-seven arpeggios. Pay special attention to the picking directions in both the ascending and descending fragments. The Bm7b5 B D F A arpeggio in bar 4 has eweep series of three-string sweeps combined with some challenging string skips.

The alternating eighth-note triplet and quarter-note phrasing allows you to focus on the picking pattern in small bursts and then rest for a beat. The first five exercises in this lesson are designed to give you a systematic approach to practicing the component movements of sweep picking: Concentrate on ppicking general down-up motion of your picking hand rather than each pick stroke.

It is also the aspect that will take the most practice to master. Move your pick at a constant speed to ensure the notes are evenly spaced. Next come some A minor triads A C Eplayed with a progressively increasing number of strings; this is a great way to build your confidence in sweep picking larger shapes. When ascending, use a single motion to pick all six strings, making sure only one note is fretted at a time.

This means starting with eighth notes, and while this will feel very slow, the technique will become trickier with each successive note grouping: Keep your fingers flat against the two-string groups, and transfer pressure between strings using a rolling action to mute inactive strings and prevent notes from ringing together. Use your first finger on the fifth fret and third saeep on the seventh fret.


This example is reminiscent of players such as Jason Becker and Jeff Loomis. The phrasing here is 16th-note quintuplets five notes per beat.

The final bar is based on the A harmonic minor scale Gammbale B C E D F G and incorporates economy picking when traveling from the fifth string to the fourth. Now we move on to some five-string shapes, the likes of which you can hear in the playing of Steve Vai and Mattias Eklundh.


Practicing gambald exercise with a metronome for just two minutes every day will improve your coordination and your confidence to use the technique in your own playing. It was Stockholm, Sweden, however that would produce the name most synonymous with sweeping in a rock context, one that gave rise to a guitar movement known as neoclassical heavy metal. Attempting to emulate pivking his Fender Stratocaster the fluid, breathtaking passages Paganini would compose and play on violin, Malmsteen concluded that sweep picking was the perfect way to travel quickly from string to string with a smooth, fluid sound gabmale like what a violinist can create with his bow.

If you fail to do this and allow notes on adjacent strings to ring together, it will negate the desired effect and sound like you are simply strumming a chord.

Gambale explains his approach wonderfully in his instructional video, Monster Licks and Speed Picking. Originally released init remains a must-watch video for anyone interested gzmbale developing swep smooth sweep-picking technique. Once again, if you focus on nailing the highest and lowest notes along with the beat, the in-between notes should automatically fall into place. Get the Tone In rock, this technique is best suited to Strat-style guitars, using the neck pickup setting for a warm, round tone.

This essentially seep that when you play a scale, there will be a two-string mini-sweep whenever you move to an adjacent string. This major triad shape is an essential part of the Yngwie Malmsteen school of sweeping. The thickness and sharpness of your pick will hugely impact the tone of your sweep picking. Be sure to follow the indicated picking directions.