Jazz players from the '50s, such as Les Paul, Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow, would use the approach in their improvisations, and country guitar genius Chet Atkins was known to eschew his signature fingerstyle hybrid-picking technique from time to time and rip out sweep-picked arpeggios, proving that the technique is not genre specific. Fusion maestro Frank Gambale is widely considered to be the most versatile and innovative sweep picker and the first artist to fully integrate the technique into his style, applying sweeping to arpeggios, pentatonics, heptatonic seven-note scales and modes, and beyond. Gambale explains his approach wonderfully in his instructional video, Monster Licks and Speed Picking. Originally released in , it remains a must-watch video for anyone interested in developing a smooth sweep-picking technique. 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 on 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 much like what a violinist can create with his bow.
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Sweep picking is often seen as one of the most demanding techniques to master on the guitar. Pioneered by such revered 6-stringers as Les Paul, Yngwie Malmsteen, Richie Kotzen, Jason Becker, and Frank Gambale, the technique is used in many different ways in a wide variety of genres.
The basic concept of sweep picking is to use all downstrokes when ascending across adjacent strings and all upstrokes on the descent. Sweep picking has many different applications that include arpeggios and pentatonic, major, and minor scales. The key to this technique is to use a rest stroke on each string, which means after striking a string your pick comes to rest on the next string in a single, smooth motion.
This idea is very important for mastering sweep picking. Sweep picking can be incorporated into other techniques. Frank Gambale—one of the greatest ambassadors of sweep picking—mixes alternate picking with sweep picking to play complex runs. The fusion of these two approaches is often referred to as economy picking. Before Richie Kotzen ditched the pick he blended sweep picking with legato fretting-hand techniques to play extended arpeggio lines.
The first two notes of each arpeggio are performed with a downward sweep, while the final note is performed with an upstroke. Make sure the pick comes to rest on the 1st string directly after attacking the 2nd string.
Click here for Ex. In Ex. To give the phrase some movement, I use a few different inversions of the F m, E, and A chords. We add yet another string for Ex. This four-string pattern moves through a series of major arpeggios in various whole- and half-step root movements.
The legendary Jason Becker is a complete and total inspiration. Not only because of his seminal work on the Shrapnel label, but his story of living with ALS. That inspiration leads us to Ex.
It opens with a series of A major A—C—E arpeggios that move up the neck through several inversions. You can hear shades of both Kotzen and Becker in Ex. The idea of this lick is to perform diatonic arpeggios over a static D5 chord. We basically play off each degree of Em E—G—B using a diatonic arpeggio. This lick concludes with a 1st-string bend embellished with a tapped note on the held bend.
The intensity picks up in the second measure with a wild combination of tapping, pull-offs, slides, and more. This phrase implies an altered tonality, but has a satisfying resolution. Our final example Ex. This modern-sounding lick kicks off with some sus2 arpeggios performed in quintuplets. The next phrase includes a cross rhythm idea: three groups of 16th-notes played to the value of a quarter-note triplet. This figure mixes fourth and fifths and lets you play flurries of notes.
To conclude, we cascade across a series of four-note arpeggios. Jamie Humphries is a U. For more information, visit jamiehumphries. Guitars Bass Amps Pedals Players. Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation. More videos from Premier Guitar. Cram Session: Two-Hand Tapping. Cram Session: Pentatonic Power. Cram Session: Modern Legato Techniques. Get our email newsletter!
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Guitar Lesson - Frank Gambale sweeping lesson
Part 1b : Running time : In this section the fundamentals continue with major and minor triad shapes. These shapes are a staple in the Sweep Picking world. These are the shapes that define the Sweep Picking technique for many who have adopted the technique into their own styles.
Sweep picking: how to get started with this awe-inspiring guitar technique
Cram Session: Sweep Picking
The Definitive Gambale Sweep Picking