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Guitareo Blog

3 Essential Sweep Picking Shapes

In this lead guitar lesson, DJ Temple from Without Mercy joins us to talk about 3 essential sweep picking patterns. We'll begin by working on a smaller 3-string A minor shape, and eventually, expand that into two different larger shapes. Take your time with each shape and only move on once you're feeling comfortable.


What is sweep picking?

Sweep picking is the act of sweeping through the strings in one motion instead of picking each string individually. This is typically done to play across strings faster.


3-String A Minor Shape

For the first shape, we'll only be covering 3 strings. If this is your first attempt at sweep picking, it might be worth just focusing on this one shape. Having a simple arpeggio in your arsenal can go a long way.


5-String A Minor Shape

For the next shape, we'll just be adding a few more notes to our first shape. This one will cover 5 strings. It may take you some time to get this shape under your fingers. Take it slow and make sure you're playing it cleanly as you increase your speed.


Alternate A Minor Shape

For this last shape, we'll still be playing an A minor arpeggio, but moving it to a different part of the neck. Connecting this shape with the previous shape is a great way to cover a larger part of the fretboard.

It will take some practice to get the hang of all these shapes. Take it one at a time, and really focus on clean, precise execution. Even adding just one of these shapes to your arsenal will set you on a path to better sweep picking on the guitar.

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