Sweep picking workout

This is a great sweep picking workout by Charlie Griffiths from a recent issue of Guitar Techniques. Scroll through the gallery above or click here to view the full piece. Enjoy!

This piece is in the key of A minor and the first half is based around a IIm V Im progression, with the arpeggios clearly spelling out the changes. We begin with some ascending two-string sweeps using alternating E and Bb triads. Next come some A minor triads played with a progressively increasing number of strings; this is a great way of building your confidence in playing larger shapes. The Bm7b5 arpeggio in bar 4 has a series of three-string sweeps combined with some challenging string skips. Bar 7 is an A minor pentatonic played in 4ths using two string sweeps.

The second half of the piece has a more neo-classical approach and begins with some Yngwie style three-string triads incorporating pull-offs; make sure to check the suggested picking directions. Bar 12 is the trickiest part of the piece and utilises some Jason Becker inspired six string shapes. If you have problems with string-muting and/or note separation issues, light palm muting with the notes played is a popular way to improve clarity. The final bar is based on the A harmonic minor scale and demonstrates economy picking, using two string sweeps when travelling from the fifth string to the fourth string.