Sweep Picking

Fantastic! I can’t believe how much I have learnt in just two weeks. I thought it would take me one or two months to reach this level. So yeah, I am excited 🙂 And because of this excitement, I am putting an end to this project. I feel comfortable enough with sweep picking to do that.

Of course, somebody could say that I still sweep very slowly so it doesn’t count. That’s true, I do play slowly. People have different goals. My primary goal is to focus on the notes that I can hear. I don’t care that much about hyper speed shredding because to me it’s just a sound effect. (Very cool sound effect.) I am much more interested in the notes I can hear. That’s why I am completely satisfied with my current sweep situation. Surely, I’ll push it towards a bit faster tempo but from now on I won’t practice it that much. I got the technique down and that’s plenty enough for me.

Some other person might say something like “whoa, wait! You’ve only learnt six-string sweeps. You didn’t learn five-string nor three-string sweeps.” This is legit concern. Fortunately, my approach to practice sweep picking through all strings worked out just as I thought it would. It carried over to every other number of strings without any worries. Here, I made a short video of me sweeping through 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 strings (with some added hammer-ons & pull-offs). It took me less than 10 minutes of practicing to be able to sweep all of this. Because of that I call this approach a success.

Learning journey

I began by learning just the sweep motion itself. My method was to sweep through all six strings. For that, I simply have been sweeping through muted strings for few days. It was rather boring but it let me to focus on the technique so I call it a great exercise. Biggest challenge to me was to pick the notes evenly. I surely spent some quality time with metronome to fix that.

After that, I focused on fretting hand muting. I chose some simple arpeggios to practice that. I feel that this muting approach improved my overall guitar playing. I am going to use it for all single note playing.

Next step was to mute with picking hand. This helped me to silence any noise that would slip through fretting hand muting. To practice that, I swept through open strings and some open string chords. I chose these exercises because they eliminate any (or most) help from fretting hand and everything (or most) depended on picking hand muting.

Now it was time to combine muting from both hands and to play some music. I feel that implementing muting from both hands is a great insurance policy. Every day I chose a different chord progression to make it less boring and I practiced it on all six strings.

Results: my expectations and dreams were greatly surpassed by the progress I’ve made in only two weeks. I honestly can’t believe that I didn’t learn in earlier. It seems that all it  takes is just a bit of self-discipline and effort. I guess earlier I couldn’t keep my eyes on a simple goal for more than few days and that was the reason for my many failures.