Power Of Mini Sweeps

by Ben Higgins

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  • Hi GMCers and welcome to my latest lesson! This time I am concentrating on using 'mini sweeps' to play some 2 string licks. I use the term 'mini sweeps' because it involves a small sweeping motion of the pick to play 2 notes on 2 adjacent strings in succession. It could also be described as 'economy picking'.

    These licks could be played with alternate picking but the reason I use a sweep motion is because it is very efficient, easier than alternate picking and saves energy. They are the physical benefits. As for the sound, it offers a smoother, flowing effect that alternate picking doesn't manage. So, on balance, neither technique is better or worse, they are just 2 different ways of doing something.. but you can do both, Learning to employ mini sweeps into your range of techniques will not harm your alternate picking. Using mini sweeps will only add to your repertoire.

    This technique is widely used by Yngwie Malmsteen to play triads which span 2 strings. He uses it, for example, at the beginning of the solo from Rising Force, from the 1988 album of the same name.

    Gear used:
    Marshall JMV 410H
    Rhythm track: OD2 channel (Green setting) Bass - 3 Mid - 3 Treb - 6 Gain - 3
    Solo: OD1 channel (Red setting) Bass - 1 Mid - 6.5 Treb - 6 Gain - 3

    Tuning: Standard

    Tempo: 140bpm

    Key: A Minor

    Have fun with this lesson and remember - the only opponent is within!


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