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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This is an effective way to improve note clarity. Move your pick at a constant speed to ensure the notes are evenly spaced. This major triad shape is an essential part of the Yngwie Malmsteen school of sweeping.

Sweep Picking lesson from Frank Gambale – Veojam

Something with a thickness between one and two millimeters and a rounded tip will provide the right amount of attack and still glide over the strings with ease. This essentially means that when you play a pickinv, there will be a two-string mini-sweep whenever you move to an adjacent string.

This is quite challenging for the picking hand, so start very slowly and remember to keep the hand moving smoothly. This example is reminiscent of players such as Jason Becker and Jeff Loomis. Economy picking requires that your pick take the shortest journey possible swdep crossing from string to string.

Here we utilize two-string sweeps with pentatonic shapes. Be sure to follow the indicated picking directions. 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.

This example includes ascending and descending fragments again, this time played together. 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.

Once you are comfortable with this shape you can apply the same approach to minor, suspended and diminished-seven arpeggios. Attempting to emulate on his Fender Stratocaster the fluid, breathtaking passages Paganini would compose and play on violin, Gambalf 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.


Jazz players from the Fifties, such as Les Paul, Barney Kessel and Tal Farlow, would use the approach in their improvisations, and country guitar genius Pixking 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. Remember, sweep picking is most effective when pciking note picming 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 pickijg ringing together.

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.

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. Concentrate on the general down-up motion of your picking hand rather than each pick stroke. Practicing each 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. Use a modern tube amp 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.

Bar 12 is the trickiest part of the piece to play and utilizes some Jason Becker—inspired six-string shapes. Originally released init remains a must-watch video for anyone interested in developing a smooth sweep-picking technique.

This means starting with eighth notes, and while this will feel very slow, the technique will become trickier with each successive note grouping: Work from two strings up to six, keeping your metronome at the same tempo.


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.

The phrasing here is 16th-note quintuplets five notes per beat.

Pay special attention to the picking directions in both the ascending and descending fragments. This piece is in the key of A minor. Gambale explains his approach wonderfully in his instructional video, Monster Licks and Speed Picking.


When ascending, use a single motion to pick all six strings, making sure only one note is fretted at a time. Get the Tone In rock, this technique is best suited to Strat-style guitars, using the neck pickup setting for a warm, round tone.

The second part of the piece has a more neoclassical approach and begins with some Yngwie-style three-string triads incorporating pull-offs. If you have problems with string muting or note separation, apply some light palm muting to the notes as they are picked.

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

swee Only one string should be fretted at any time this is key! Use your pickibg finger on the fifth fret and third finger on the seventh fret. The second set of five exercises handles some common sweep-picking approaches. It is also the aspect that will take the most practice to master. These are shown in one position and based on one chord type each, thus focusing your attention on the exercise until you have become accustomed to the technique.

pucking 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. Every three notes your pick will change direction. The thickness and sharpness of your pick will hugely impact the tone of your sweep picking.