4 Keys To The Sweeps

By Zach Payton

Do you ever find yourself practicing that same sweep over and over again? Today we are going to talk about four quick tips that will help you massively make leaps with your sweep picking.

The first thing that will drastically help your sweep picking is to take your pick and slightly angle it roughly at 45 degrees. This will make it when you go to sweep pick that the pick will slice right through the stringsand you won’t feel your pick trying to grab the strings.

Now that you have your pick in the right position, the next thing we’re going to talk about is how you should properly ascend and descend across the strings. For ascending, have your pick as close as possible to the top string, but don’t have it actually touch the string. The reason why you don’t havethe pick touch the string is because when you go to ascend your pick will grab the string and it won’t slice through the strings as easy as ifyou were as close as you can be but not touching the strings.

Now having your pick in the position where it should be, push your pick across the strings with your elbow and shoulder, your wrist shouldn’t move at all when sweeping across. Next when you descend make sure the pick again is as close to the bottom string as possible but not touching the string. Now during the descending part pull the pick towards you with your elbow, make sure to keep your wrist in the same position like it was in when you were ascending.

The third thing is to make sure for your left hand when you’re ascending, that your guitar doesn’t support your hand. Your arms and shoulders should support your hand. So now during the ascending motion with the little amount of tension play one note per string and as you play that note relax that finger after the note has been played this will help get rid of what’s called bleeding. Also when you’re ascending don’t pullyour left hand down. Now for the descending part, when you descend it’s the same when you ascend.

Fourth Thing: one more thing that we’re going to talk about today is a problem that most people struggle with is called finger rolling.

Notice how on strings four, three and two you’re playing on the samefret. The first thing you need to do to play this correctly is to put the pad of your middle finger on the four string, then as you ascend you need to rock your finger forward playing the next string right above the joint. Then rocking onto playing the next note below the joint. That is how you ascend with one of these arpeggios. Now on to how to descend, to descend this arpeggio you just have to reverse the process of ascending and rock your middle finger backwards.


If you take just these four things that we talked about today I guarantee your sweep picking will feel allot easier and you will start see things fall into place.

About the Author:

Zach Payton is a guitar teacher living in the United States. If you want more information on how to sweep pick, come visit the website: www.lewistonguitarlessons.com