Creating Awesome Sweep Picking Licks

If you are having problems playing your sweep picking arpeggios fast and clean then you are not alone. Many guitarists have the same problem. I suffered from the same problem, years ago. In fact, playing sweep picking arpeggios with poor technique is one of the most common problems that I encounter with my guitar students. After helping them overcome these challenges I have discovered 2 different approaches to improving your sweep picking technique. The first will keep you frustrated with bad technique while the second will allow your technique to improve exponentially.

Choose Your Approach

Guitar Practice Approach 1: It may make sense to you that when your arpeggio playing is not clean or fast you need to practice more sweep picking arpeggios. The problem with this idea is that more practice is not what you need. With this approach you are ignoring the fundamental problems with your technique and simply playing a lot of different arpeggios poorly. This takes your focus away from the real problems of your guitar technique.

Guitar Practice Approach 2: If you want to clean up your arpeggio playing then don't take your focus away from your technique problems with more arpeggios. Instead, make whatever lick you are currently working an independent exercise. Doing this will show you which notes are sloppy and you can see why and how these problems are happening. This will help you in 2 different ways:

  • By fixing your technique problems in your first exercise, you will find that any and all sweep picking licks you practice in the future will be much cleaner and faster
  • By changing these boring arpeggio shapes your new exercises will often become cool and unique on their own. You can use these new sweep picking guitar licks to add a new element to your guitar solos.

Watch this video about making your sweep picking faster and cleaner to see an example of this second guitar practice approach in action.

Check out the tab for the 5 string arpeggio lesson here.

How To Use These Ideas In Your Guitar Practice To Make You A Better Guitar Player

It's important to realize that the lesson here is not the arpeggio exercise itself and not the concept of playing your arpeggio notes with tremolo. The lesson here is that you need to adapt the right mindset so you can better approach solving the problems in all areas of your guitar technique:

1. If you are just looking for more guitar exercises, then you aren't improving. Understand exactly which notes aren't clean when you play your current exercise. This will help you make everything you play cleaner and better.

2. Problems and mistakes in your guitar playing are not random - they are always caused by bigger problems. These causes must be identified. Then isolated and fixed. Settling for sloppy guitar technique will not help you reach your goals at all.

3. You can modify even the most boring exercises in a creative way thus improving your guitar playing and creating awesome licks at the same time.

In the video I demonstrated just one of the many examples of how you can use this approach to greatly improve your guitar technique. For even more examples on how to become a faster, cleaner and more accurate guitar player, check out how to increase your overall guitar speed.

Tom Hess is a professional touring guitarist and recording artist. He teaches, trains and mentors musicians from around the world.

Visit his site to discover highly effective music learning resources, guitar lessons, music career mentoring and tools including free online assessments, surveys, mini courses and more.

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