Sweep Picking Basic Arpeggios
In this lesson we are going to put your sweep picking in to practice by learning three different basic major arpeggio shapes. We have given you the arpeggio diagrams so that you can work on each shape separately. Once you have each shape down we will put them together to play through a 1 4 5 progression in the key of A major. The arpeggio shapes that you will be learning are based off of the E bar chord shape, A bar chord shape, and open C chord shape. I will walk you through the first arpeggio shape but you should make sure to go through the other two shapes as well. Make sure to pay attention to the up and downstroke indicators on the TAB. The picking indicators are just recommendations not rules. If you are just starting to learn how to sweep pick be patient and start out slowly.
The first arpeggio shape that you will be learning is based on the E bar chord shape. Take a moment to look at the A major arpeggio diagram. Play the 5th fret of the 6th string with your 1st finger using an upstroke and then the 9th fret of the 6th string with your 4th finger using a downstroke. Continue by playing the 7th fret of the 5th and 4th strings with your 3rd finger using downstrokes. You will have to roll your 3rd finger from the 5th to the 4th string in order to do this properly. Continue using downstrokes on the 6th fret of the 3rd string with your 2nd finger, 5th fret of the 2nd and 1st strings with your 1st finger. You will have to roll your 1st finger from the 2nd string to the 1st string to do this properly. Now grab the 9th fret of the 1st string with your 4th finger using an upstroke. That’s it for the ascending part of this arpeggio. Now you need to work your way back down.
Start descending down this shape by pulling off of the 9th fret of the 1st string with your 4th finger to the 5th fret of the 1st string with your 1st finger. Now rock your 1st finger over to the 5th fret of the 2nd string and play that note using an upstroke. Move to the 6th fret of the 3rd string with your 2nd finger using an upstroke. Play the 4th and 5th strings on the 7th fret with your 3rd finger using upstrokes. Reach all the way to the 9th fret of the 6th string with your 4th finger using an upstroke. For the last note you can either pull-off or your 4th finger or use a downstroke to play the 5th fret of the 1st string with your 1st finger. This completes the whole shape ascending and descending.
The other two arpeggio shapes are very similar as far as your picking hand goes. Go through the TAB slowly and see if you can work through these shapes. Check out the video a couple more times if you need to. Remember to practice slowly. Every note should be clear and distinct. You should only have one note ringing out at any given time. This can be challenging when you are using one finger to play multiple notes on adjacent strings. Check out the diagram for the D major arpeggio that is based on the A bar chord shape. You will see that the notes on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings are all on the 7th fret. You should play all of these notes with your 3rd finger on your fretting hand. This can be challenging because you have to roll your 3rd finger from string to string without letting the previous notes ring out. Take it slowly, have fun, and use a metronome if you have one. Check out some music by John Petrucci. His sweep picking is pretty clean and flawless.