Sweep Q/A

How do you improve an irregular sweep upstroke?

On Sat, 27 Apr 1996, kyle jones wrote:

> ...in sweep, my upstroke is irregular. have you seen this problem and
> do you have comments about best approach to a fix?

I've been working on that myself, lately.  I've been using
Paganini's Caprice No. 1 as an exercise because much of it
can be played with sweeps and it's a lot of fun.

My approach to sweeps is similar to alternate picking.  I
like to keep a rhythm going perpendicular to the pick guard
during the sweep.  This motion can be isolated to a specific
exercise as consecutive upstrokes on one string, which is harder
than the sweep itself in terms of this perpendicular motion.
Following this exercise, try playing your upstroke sweep very
slowly with the same perpendicular rhythm.  My rule of thumb
of repetition before speeding up is 17 times in a row with no
mistakes.  Playing with a metronome may be a good idea to keep
the rhythm regular.  I sometimes play with a sequencer to get
good feedback when I'm slightly off.

For your left (fret) hand, try to announciate each note seperately
without picking with the right hand.  Use the same rhythm and
rule for speeding up the exercise.

> sweep-wise, what's the most common weight of pick.

I don't know what's common.  I use a D'Addario 99mm (.039")
Delrin because of the good trade-off among stiffness, thickness,
and pick-fretting (when you hear a pitch announciated from the
pick stopping the string when it touches it-- ping, ping, ping...).
Thinner picks, like metals, tend to be quick, but noisey.  Thicker
picks usually start to slip more than pick unless you really grab
the string deeply.  Thinner softer picks don't have the noise
problem, but tend to give so much that you need more motion and
effort to play.  They may be a little easier for sweeps in some

> and last, how do you maintain an even angle of pick attack?

That has to do with how I hold and move the pick.  See

> (i'm not really a tech freak, i just find the tools useful.)

Same here.