Want to play amazing sweep picking arpeggios that demand the attention of everyone who hears
you play? It’s actually much easier to do than you think. The key is focusing on building incredible
amounts of musical tension by combining sweep picking technique with creative guitar phrasing ideas. In this
article, I will show you how to do this and transform your lead guitar playing.
To use sweep picking as a tool that will ‘enhance’ the expression, you MUST avoid
the following: only thinking about speed while playing sweep picking arpeggios. Why should you avoid this?
When you only (and always) try to play an arpeggio lick as fast as you can, you sacrifice the musical quality
of the lick for speed. The result of this is a continual stream of the same notes being played over and over
– making your sweep picking licks sound like boring ‘exercises’ instead of awesome
phrases. To play inspiring sweep picking arpeggios that demand the attention of others, you must play with
speed and precision while ALSO building up an overwhelming feeling of tension.
With this in mind, I am now going to show you an exercise that will help you change any arpeggio
into a powerful tool for expressing intensity in your guitar licks. That said, you don’t have to be a
master lead guitar player in order to use the idea I will be teaching you. Check out this sweep picking
technique video so you can quickly apply the ideas in the following exercise into your guitar playing:
1. In this first step, pick out an arpeggio pattern that is easy for you to play at high speeds (while
retaining as much accuracy as possible). Warm up by playing through this pattern several times.
2. Think of the names for each note that make up the arpeggio you picked from step one. For
instance, if the arpeggio you picked was an Bb minor arpeggio, the notes would be Bb Db and F.
3. After watching the demonstration in the video, you found out that you can build powerful
intensity by inserting silence before the next note in an arpeggio. While watching the video to see how this is
done, play the arpeggio you picked from step one several times. Then after you have repeated the pattern
enough times, immediately mute all the strings after you play the highest pitch of the arpeggio.
4. In this step, you will simply be ‘waiting’ a few moments in order to insert silence
into your lick and begin building musical tension. As you are doing this, find one of the notes from the
arpeggio you picked that is higher in pitch than the note you ended on in the previous step. Ex: If you picked
a Bb minor arpeggio and you ended your phrase on ‘F’, find one of the other notes of the
arpeggio (Bb, Db or F) that are higher in pitch on the fretboard. Do not play this note yet.
5. Next, play the note you selected from the previous step in order to release all the tension you
built up. Finally, add incredible power to the entire phrase by using wide vibrato to accent this note. After
doing this, you have successfully made a single variation of the sweep picking arpeggio pattern you began
this exercise with.
6. Once you have completed steps one through five, you have created a new sweep picking lick
(that is different from the original lick you started out with). Experiment with various new approaches by
using the other phrasing ornamentations I demonstrated in the video above.
Then after you have come up with several new variations, choose a new arpeggio pattern and
repeat the steps of this exercise. This will quickly help you become much more effective at playing creative,
attention-grabbing sweep picking arpeggios. Combine the ideas of this article with the unique concept in this
lead guitar video.
Get more help to better apply the sweep picking ideas in this article by learning how to play guitar faster.
About The Author:
Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar player, composer and international guitar teacher. He
also helps musicians learn guitar online
and reach their guitar playing goals. Visit his rock and metal guitar
lessons site to read more articles about guitar
playing, plus get free guitar tips and guitar playing resources.