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 major triad shape is an essential part of the Yngwie Malmsteen school of sweeping.

When it comes to sweep picking, muting is the key to cleanliness. 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 licking.

Sweep Picking lesson from Frank Gambale – Veojam

This essentially means that when you play a scale, there will be a two-string mini-sweep whenever you move to an adjacent string. 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.

Concentrate on the general down-up motion of your picking hand rather than each pick stroke. Remember, sweep picking is most effective when each note is 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.

This is quite challenging for the picking hand, so start very slowly and remember to keep the hand moving smoothly. Only one string should be fretted at any time this is key! 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.


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

Focus on synchronizing your hands so that your pick and fretting fingers make contact with the string at exactly the same moment. The phrasing here is 16th-note quintuplets five notes per beat. The first five exercises in this lesson are designed to give you a systematic approach to practicing the component movements of sweep picking: Economy picking requires that your pick take the shortest journey possible when crossing from string to string.

Originally released init remains a must-watch video for anyone interested in developing a smooth sweep-picking technique. 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.

Here we utilize two-string sweeps with pentatonic shapes. This example is reminiscent of players such as Jason Becker and Jeff Loomis. The Bm7b5 B D F A arpeggio in bar 4 has a series picklng three-string sweeps combined gamale some challenging string skips.

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. When ascending, use a single motion to pick all six strings, making sure only one note is fretted at tambale time. This is an effective way to improve note clarity.

Sweep Picking lesson from Frank Gambale

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. Once you are comfortable with this shape you can apply the same approach to minor, suspended and diminished-seven arpeggios. If you fail to do this and allow notes on adjacent strings to ring together, it will negate the desired pucking and sound pickiing you are simply strumming a chord.


It is also the aspect that will take the most practice to master. The second part of gamhale piece has a more neoclassical approach and begins with some Yngwie-style pciking triads incorporating pull-offs. The second set of five exercises handles some common sweep-picking approaches. 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.

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. Something with a thickness between one and two millimeters and a rounded sdeep will provide the right amount of attack and still glide over the strings with ease.

The thickness and sharpness of your pick will hugely impact the tone of your sweep picking.


This piece is in the key of A minor. This means starting with pikcing notes, and while this will feel very slow, the technique will become trickier with each successive note grouping: 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.

Gambale explains his approach wonderfully in his instructional video, Monster Licks and Speed Picking.