stuck at sweep picking

Ana García

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Nov 11, 2019
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Hi guys, I´ve been stuck at sweep picking for a few weeks now. I started over a month ago and can´t get past 120bpm playing in eighth notes. I can´t figure out why. If anyone has any tips on building up speed, specially in the left hand, or has gone through something similar and has any advise I would really appreciate it.
 

Ids Schiere

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Nov 11, 2019
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The first question I’d like to ask is can you go faster when you’re not sweeping?
If not it may be easier to start with either economy picking or alternate picking to build speed.
If you can it may just be that you haven’t trained you left hand and right hand(remover hand synchronization is essential to play clean) to move that fast in the sweeping motion. Since it a different motion you will need to train your fingers from ground zero again. Also left hand muting is very important when sweeping which can be why it sounds sloppy over 120 BPM. A tip I heard papa Gates give someone else was to put the metronome at 130 BPM for example and then go back to 120 BPM for example. Basically set the metronome quite a bit faster than you’re able to and then go back a bit.
 

Ana García

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Nov 11, 2019
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Its mostly my left hand´s fault so I´ll definitely try that out. Thanks for the advise, I really appreciate it.
 

Kevin Kwasneski

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Nov 11, 2019
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Sweeps are tricky but you can get it! It took me about 3 and a half yrs to get a fluid 3 string sweep. It’s all about getting your left and right hands synced up.

That was the video I learned from.
https://www.songsterr.com/a/wsa/sweep-exercises-3-string-sweeping-tab-s19471t0
Concentrate on line one until it it becomes like a reflex in your right hand.
 

Firsty Lasty

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Nov 11, 2019
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Here are my top 3 recommendations for sweeping
#1 Always think about sweeping as an articulation technique, NOT a speed technique. The entire purpose of sweeping is the way it sounds. The fact that it can be done quickly is irrelevant. Always practice with the intention of sounding great. The notes should be evenly timed and flow smoothly into each other without having any kind of staccato choppiness. “TaaTaaTaaTaa” is right, “Tt Ta! ta!” is wrong. You practice sweeping by practicing accuracy and efficiency. I know that “I want to be fast, so I should practice speed” sounds like it makes sense, and it emotionally feels correct, but it’s a trap.
#2 Learn large sweep shapes by practicing them both as a complete whole and also as a series of three-string and then four-string pieces. You can’t ignore the big picture, but there can’t be any part of the pattern that is a weakness.
#3 Developing alternate picking will strongly help your sweeping. It will help your left hand, it will help your right hand, it will help the synchronization of your hands, it will help everything. By far the biggest thing that helped me get my sweeps going was to ruthlessly woodshed alternate picking like 4-5 hrs a day for two weeks without thinking about sweeping.
 

Jak Angelescu

Guitarist for Unknown. Queen Cat of this school.
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Sep 24, 2019
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OMG the ENTIRE first sentence of Firsty Lasty’s comment is SO right! There is some really solid advice on here for sweep picking. Most of which I’m taking to heart as well. As far as my personal advice goes for left-handed work on sweeps, they ARE tricky. But One of the biggest things for me is I had to learn (especially with HTTK and Nightmare) is that if you can’t play it faster, you don’t know it well enough. There are little nuances between EACH note that may make your fingers stumble. Such as is this an actual STRAIGHT 8th note sweep or are there little rhythmic aspects that make it difficult to time? Are your fingers actually pressing down accurately between each frets but not pushing TOO hard or TOO soft on the string, thus, inhibiting your sound and/or speed? When I was practicing sweeps for these two songs, I…KID…YOU…NOT, I had to slow it down to SLOWER than half speed for MONTHS. I would play it at ONE speed for literally 30 minutes straight. It enabled me to be able to detect all these little nuances. Then, if I felt I got that slow-ass speed down after 30 minutes, I’d only speed it up by ONE BPM and do it another 30 minutes. Your muscles and hands WILL approach each BPM differently, as it makes a big difference. For example, I don’t need to use my speed-picking technique at 125 with 16th notes, but the MOMENT it hits 126, I have to start utilizing it. If I jump it up to 130, I won’t know why everything locks up and gets tight and I suck and can’t do it. If you are not adept with sweeping already, it IS a difficult concept that will take MONTHS if not YEARS to achieve greatness with it. Be patient and persistent with daily practicing. Let everything “fall” into place when sweeping and don’t try to fight anything.