dateThursday 15 Oct 2015

What Are Sweep Arpeggios and How to Master Them

Sweep arpeggios are chords that are playing one note at a time and utilize a sweeping or raking picking technique across the guitar strings as opposed to strict alternate picking. Sweep arpeggios can be used in all genres of guitar playing, however they were made most popular in rock, neoclassical and “shred” guitar music. Yngwie Malmsteen, Tony Macalpine, Vinnie Moore and Paul Gilbert are just a handful of great guitarists that really took advantage of this inspiring technique.

In this guitar lesson I’m going to show you a 2 string arpeggio, 3 string arpeggio, 4 string arpeggio, 5 string arpeggio and 6 string arpeggio. All of these will be based off of the open C-major chord form that will be transposed one octave up to the 12th fret on the guitar. If you remember that pattern and use a little music theory to create minor and diminished arpeggios, as I will show you, you will add a LOT to your lick vocabulary.

We will be using five initial patterns multiplied by our three chord types (major, minor and diminished) multiplied by 12 different keys. This combination will unlock 180 new sweep arpeggios to add to your guitar vocabulary.

A word about picking: there is a very specific way to approach sweep picking arpeggios. I cover them extensively in these videos, so please pay very close attention to how I instruct you to pick. That is, when to use down strokes and when to use upstrokes. Please also use the attached tabs that I have provided for you.

Since this is a new technique for most, it does take some time to get used to. Like all new things, there is a learning curve and it will be frustrating if you try to rush the process. Instead of thinking fast, think accurate. That’s exactly how our brains learn new things. Speed never comes before accuracy. Accuracy always births speed. Concentrate on accuracy and your speed will happen. Concentrate on speed and you will just get frustrated.

Sweep away guitar heroes!

Download the Sweep Arpeggio PDFs here that go along with these lessons.

Here’s The 5 Video Series on Sweep Arpeggios

For interactive guitar pro versions of these tabs(that you can speed up or slow down) and a more extensive examination about sweep arpeggios and a myriad of other guitar lessons, go and take advantage of my one dollar unlimited, 14 day trial of the Unstoppable Guitar System.


Posted byErich

About Erich

Erich Andreas has been playing and teaching guitar for nearly 30 years. He has taught 100s of students for 1000s of hours, has authored several books on the subject, has over 40,000,000 video views on his collective YouTube channels and is passionate about creating guitar ninjas all over the world. His philosophy is, if you have the right instruction and do the practice there is NOTHING that you cannot accomplish!