How to Sweep Pick on Guitar - Part 1

This is the first video in a short series that introduces sweep picking for beginner - intermediate level guitar players. Take your time working through it and you will find you quickly master the art of sweep picking

Video Notes

This is a guide to sweep picking on guitar. 

This is the first of three videos, that are a beginners guide to sweep picking on electric guitar. sweep picking. We look at four different sweep picking exercises, that should take 2-3 minutes each. 

The fundamental technique that we need to master for sweep picking is to have the pick fluidly move between the strings without string. The following exercises work on developing this fundamental pick hand technique, and if you work through them every day, for 2-3 minutes each, you will the exercises become easy and automatic.

Exercise 1 

Rest the pick against the 4th string. Push the pick into the string to feel the tension in the string. Then, push the pick through the string, and let the 3rd string “catch” the pick.

We then repeat this through the rest of the strings.

Exercise 2

Similar idea, but now we take 3-4 seconds for the pick to travel between the strings. Start with the pick on the 4th string, push the pick through the string, and let it take 3-4 seconds to travel, smoothly, to the next string. The pick should NOT stop moving! Be careful the pick doesn’t “jump” when you push it through the string.

Exercise 3

Use a basic diagonal shape. Finger 4, fret 15 4th string, finger 3 fret 14 3rd string, finger 2 fret 13 2nd string, finger 1 fret 12 1st string. Your hand should make a diagonal shape.

Start with the pick resting against the 4th string and your little finger holding down fret 15 on the 4th string. Your other fingers should NOT be on the strings.

Do the following steps, counting out loud as you go:

  1. Push the pick through the string, “catch” the pick on the next string.
  2. Lift your little finger off.
  3. Put your third finger on.

Take your time with this, and count out loud exactly like I do in the video. 

Repeat through the remaining strings.

The exercise sounds rubbish, but that is intentional - we are practising guitar, not playing guitar (at this point!).

Exercise 4

This is very similar to exercise 3 and 2 combined. 

Our little routine now has 4 steps:

  1. Push the pick through the string
  2. The pick travels  across the strings and reaches the 3rd string.
  3. Lift the little finger off the 4th string.
  4. Place the third finger on the 3rd string.

Repeat this process for the remaining strings.

Make sure you count out loud. Only ONE finger should be on the strings at any time.