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Lesson Series

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Rick Graham - Sweep Picking Part 6

Lesson Notes

** As featured in issue 21 **

We are now up to part six in my Sweep Picking technique lesson series. In this guitar lesson we will be looking at a variety of application for sweep picking technique. We’ll start, though, with a sweep pattern which works great over a group of four strings and in this instance it is the top four strings. Arpeggio wise, this pattern makes use of a root position triad followed by two inversions, which in this case, are a 2nd inversion triad and a 1st inversion triad. So, this gives us: B major (root position) E major (2nd inversion) G major (1st inversion). Notice that this essentially gives us the same note on the 4th string, which is a B note. The right hand picking pattern is nice and simple with four consecutive downstrokes, which constitutes the sweep, followed by a pull off and three upstrokes to descend.

For the next pattern, the approach is to add an extra note to the arpeggio which adds a little more colour to the arpeggio itself. In this instance, we'll be playing an A major arpeggio in root position starting a the 5th fret of the low E string. We will then add the 2nd degree to the arpeggio which gives us the first three notes of the A major scale. Once we reach the 3rd degree on the 9th fret of the low E, we can continue by playing the 2nd shape of an A major arpeggio up to the 12th

fret of the top E string. We then descend through the same shape finishing up at the 12th fret of the A string. This pattern works really well for the picking hand and sounds great too! Be sure to consult the video and tab for the accurate picking patterns.

The next step with this pattern is to simply play the arpeggio as a minor arpeggio as opposed to a major arpeggio by flattening the 3rd degree. This sounds just as good and I actually use the minor version far more often than the major version.

The final pattern is one I use all the time, especially when I want to build tension within a solo by playing a fast picking pattern. It is played on the 5th and 6th strings only and is a sequential pattern

which ascends through the five different positions of the pentatonic scale, in this case, the A minor pentatonic scale. It actually starts at fret three of the low E string which is actually part of position five of the minor pentatonic scale.

You then simply shift up to the next available pentatonic position and continue the sequence. This sequence is really useful and again, is one that I use a lot in my playing. You shouldn't restrict yourself to just the 5th and 6th strings either. Be sure to play this example on different pairs of strings. It will not only help your technique by doing this, but also your knowledge of the scale positions. remember to consult the video and tab for full details of the picking patterns.

OK, that's it for this issue, catch up with you all next time!

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