Tony MacAlpine Sweep Tapping

by Ben Higgins

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  • Welcome to my new lesson!

    This time, I'm looking at Tony MacAlpine's sweep tapping style and bringing it down in tempo to make it accessible to anyone wanting to delve into this technique.

    Adding tapped notes to sweep arpeggios requires us to move our picking hand over the fretboard in order to tap. If the shapes are recurring in close succession then it is often impractical to try to return the picking hand back to its usual position and instead it's easier to leave the tapping hand over the fretboard even whilst sweeping the arpeggio shapes. You will get a chance to use this approach in this lesson.

    You will notice that there is an odd timing to this lesson. That's because there's a bar of 7/8 next to 2 bars of 4/4 recurring throughout. After memorising the sweeps you'll not need to worry so much about that as you'll just know what to play. Just remember that the count in at the start of the backing track is for 7!

    When you've learned these shapes and feel more comfortable with adding taps to sweep arpeggios then you can up the tempo and start being more experimental with how you place them over music.


    Tuning: E A D G B E - Standard tuning

    Tempo: 170 bpm

    Time Sig: 7/8 & 4/4

    Gear: Ibanez RG7421, Nick Crow 8505 Amp Plugin, Guitar Suite Tube Screamer, Poulin LeCab 2.

    Key: Bm


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