Sweep-picking: The Breakthrough Lick

If you've been seduced by the complex and somewhat flogged to death sounds of sweep-picking and are in the process of nailing it, I'd like to share my 'breakthrough lick' so that you too can do the 100 day sweep-picking challenge in as few as 10 days. This is the lick that gave me my first taste of sweep-picking glory, flung the shred doors wide open, and rolled out the cream-colored carpet of incessant wankery.

I'd been looking for a lick to work on and finally settled on the three-string lick below which is a major arpeggio that travels across three strings. I'd tried two and four-string patterns but these didn't feel right, although depending on how close you are you might want to try a two-string pattern like the one below.

Two-string sweep pattern
If that doesn't quite do it for you, or you mastered it and it didn't really feel like you were sweep-picking, try a three-string pattern.

So, this was the lick where it all came together in one glorious and effortless motion:

three-string sweep pattern

If it works for you, try the minor version by moving your first finger down a fret. If it doesn't work, keep searching for your breakthrough lick and you'll get there a lot faster.


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