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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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 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.
Gambale explains his approach wonderfully in his instructional video, Monster Licks and Speed Picking. Originally released in sdeep, 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 bambale, 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. The first five exercises in this lesson are designed to give you a systematic approach to practicing the component movements of sweep picking: 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.
Work from two strings pikcing to six, keeping your metronome at the same tempo. This means starting with eighth notes, and while this will feel very slow, the technique will become trickier with each successive note grouping: Focus on synchronizing your hands so that your pick and fretting fingers make contact with the string at exactly the same moment.
Only one string should be fretted at any time this is key!
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. When it comes to sweep picking, muting is the key to cleanliness. It is also the aspect that will take the most practice to master.
The second set of five exercises handles some common sweep-picking approaches. 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.
Sweep Picking lesson from Frank Gambale – Veojam
Get the Tone In rock, this technique is best suited to Strat-style guitars, using the neck pickup setting for a warm, round tone. Use pocking 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 gambxle much that string muting becomes an impossible battle. The thickness and sharpness of your pick will hugely impact the tone of your sweep picking.
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 teaches your picking hand to make smooth motions rather than two separate downward or upward strokes. Every three notes your pick will change direction. Remember, sweep picking is most effective when each note is cleanly separated from the last, so aim to have only pic,ing finger in contact with the fretboard at a time in order to keep the notes from ringing together.
Now we move on to some five-string shapes, the likes of which you gmabale hear in the playing of Steve Vai and Mattias Eklundh. The phrasing here is 16th-note quintuplets five notes per beat.
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. Move your pick at a constant speed to ensure the notes are evenly spaced. When ascending, use a single motion to pick all six strings, making sure only one note is fretted sweeo a time. The descending section includes a pull-off on the high E sweep, which, although momentarily disruptive to your picking, is preferable to adding another downstroke.
This major triad shape is an essential part of the Yngwie Malmsteen school of sweeping. Pay special attention to the picking directions in both the ascending and descending fragments.
Big Strokes: A Beginner’s Guide to Sweep Picking | Guitarworld
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.
This example includes ascending and descending fragments again, this time played together. Concentrate on the general down-up motion of your picking hand rather than each pick stroke. Once you are comfortable with this shape you can apply the same approach to minor, suspended and diminished-seven arpeggios.
This example is reminiscent of players such as Jason Becker and Jeff Loomis. This is quite challenging for the picking hand, so start very slowly and remember to keep the hand moving smoothly. Here we utilize two-string sweeps with pentatonic shapes. Use your first finger on the fifth fret and third finger on the seventh fret. 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.
Economy picking requires that your pick take the shortest journey possible when crossing from string to string. This essentially means that when you play a scale, there will be a two-string mini-sweep whenever you move to an adjacent string.
This piece is in the key of A minor. Next come some Pickint 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.
Sweep Picking lesson from Frank Gambale
The Bm7b5 B D F A arpeggio in bar 4 has a series of three-string sweeps combined with some challenging string skips. The second part of the piece has a more neoclassical approach and begins with some Yngwie-style three-string triads incorporating pull-offs. Be sure to follow the indicated picking directions.
Bar 12 is the trickiest part of the piece to play and utilizes some Jason Becker—inspired six-string shapes. If you have problems with string muting or note separation, apply some light palm muting to the notes as they are picked.
This is an effective way to improve note clarity. The final bar is based on the A harmonic minor scale A B C E D F G and incorporates economy picking when traveling from the fifth string to the fourth.