Chris Evans - 3 String Sweeping Exercise SI Lesson

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Not a solo here to learn as such this time, this is purely an exercise for people wanting to learn to start sweep picking, as with all techniques you need to start off very slow and build up to the speed your looking for. I`ve called this a beginner "+" lesson as with this exercise you can start off learning to sweep pick (maybe pick one of the slower backings to start with) and build upwards, hence the "+"  :)

I found that sweep picking was one of the hardest techniques to get a grip of, I`m still looking at my sweep picking to improve it further, for me its a technique that I learnt much later in my playing career and wished I`d started a lot sooner! when trying to sweep pick you need to be as smooth as possible, and glide the pick over the strings in unison with your fretting hand, as with everything its a matter of practising over and over and over again, but once you get the mechanics of sweep picking it will all start to come together, 5 string sweeping is also a fantastic tool to learn, but for me I found learning how to 3 string sweep well first made 5 string sweeping a whole lot easier!

With this exercise I`m not going to go into much detail with regards keys and tabbing out each section, I`ve provided tabs for each sweep position, this exercise should help you build up sweep picking speed and get you into moving the sweep pattern around as well, I`m only using two sweep pattern shapes which are minor & major patterns.

Each video that is provided is for demonstration purposes to show you how to increase your speed from very slow to fast using just one backing track at 120BPM, I have provided 100BPM and 80BPM backing tracks also to help with speed when you move on a bit later :)

So again here is the main video where I have combined various stages of speed that you can try out from very slow to finishing with fast sweeping.

Main Video

3_string_sweep_exercise_main_video.wmv ( 9.59MB )

So, now lets start off with the slowest speed first, same backing at 120BPM but whats being played is slow, this is to get the fingers and brain all working together, once the notes are firmly implanted in the memory you can start to think about the next step.

Heres what you should be aiming at to begin with.

Demo Vid 1

Demo_1.wmv ( 8.92MB )

You can see in Video 1 what fingering that I am using to play these arpegios. Ok so lets look at the tabs

First position is a minor arpegio

Position 1

To explain the picking a little further, looking at the above tab we pick with a down stroke on the 9th, 10th and 8th fret, then using the pinky hammer on the 12th fret pulling off to make the 8th fret ring and pick with an up stroke the 10th and 9th fret, apply this to each arpeggio.

position 2 (Major arpegio)


Position 3 (major arpegio)


Position 4 (Minor arpegio)


Ok, so once you`ve got the hang of each shape and moving around the fret board we can start to look at increasing the speed a little more, try something along these lines for the next jump in speed (backing still at 120BPM)

Demo Vid 2

Demo_2.wmv ( 9.89MB )

The next step in speed is probably starting to sound something like what you want, its important to get the flow going and this is where I found when learning "Video 2" most helpful, it made me concentrate on the actual notes being played and trying to keep it all flowing, once thats firmly planted in the brain, you can try moving on to Video 3, which is probably where your sweeps are going to start sounding how you want, rather than playing sweeps constantly give your self a small break as you will see in the next video and keep the pick gliding lightly up and down. this next video changes the picking pattern very slightly, so we start with a down sweep stopping on the last hammer on note, then reverse the sweep starting on the final note and sweeping upwards. (apologies for the video volume in this one, its a little low, didnt realise till I`d rendered and played a few moments ago, after I closed Vegas and lost that project!)

Demo Vid 3

Demo_3.wmv ( 10.02MB )

In Video 3 you should start to hear your arpegios a little more how you want them to be, just practise the picking strokes up and down until you get them flowing nice and smoothly. once you are happy you can then look at increasing speed again, in Video 4 you want to start looking at the slight right palm muting that is now going to be required as you increase speed its a very slight touch that again will come with practise, you still want the notes to ring out, but not "ring on".

Demo Vid 4

Demo_4.wmv ( 10.11MB )

By now the mechanics of how to actually sweep pick should be there and implanted, its just a question of practise, practise and more practise, then you can increase the speed, try something along the lines of video 5

Demo Vid 5

Demo_5.wmv ( 10.79MB )

Try to keep the sweeps even and smooth, combining the palm muting as your sweeping down and up.

Backing tracks

120BPM Sweeping_Exercise_120BPM.mp3 ( 1.07MB )
100BPM Sweeping_Exercise_100BPM.mp3 ( 1.54MB )
80BPM Sweeping_Exercise_80BPM.mp3 ( 1.93MB )

Tab in Notepad form:
Position_tabs.txt ( 1.23K ) Number of downloads: 250

The whole purpose of this exercise/lesson was not to copy what I`m playing, thats why the format is a little different, I`ve given you examples of how to use a reasonable speed backing track to build up your speed on sweep picking, how you choose to do the sweeps is of course entirely up to you, sometimes I find playing a technique very slowly to a very slow backing track a little bit of a drag, hopeful you can see that you dont always have to have a really slow backing track to play an exercise slowly. :)

Any questions feel free to ask as always. user posted image

I hope this will be of some help to some of you

Till next time, all the best and keep practising user posted image