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How to Do 1 Octave Sweep Picking on Heavy Metal Guitar

Let musician Alex Skolnick teach you how to do one octave sweep picking in this heavy metal guitar lesson from Howcast.


Alright. Let's sort of talk about sweep picking. That's something a lot of people want to know about. I think it's something best delved into slowly. I can show you the concept of it without even fretting any notes. It's really with the right hand where you go across the strings in one direction and you create the sound. It's up and down.

Now, the trick is getting your left hand to match up with that. This is why I often think it's better to start with just two or three strings. A sweep on two strings might be something like. Alright. On the same direction. Alright. It's very simple. It's just A into C.

Now I'm going to add a third note, the E. Alright. So, each time I hit a note I'm muting the note that came before. In slow motion it's that. But it's really. Okay.

Very slowly I'm going to add notes to this. Now let's add a root on top. Okay. So I'm picking down strokes, and then an up stroke. So this is an A minor arpeggio.

Now from there I could pull-off. And go back down. So I'm taking the high note, pulling off, and sweeping back down. It's almost like in The Wizard of Oz - follow the yellow brick road. Alright.

What if I move this to the next inversion of the triad? Well, I can do this. Okay. So here I'm just putting the root in the middle. So I'm starting on an E. Alright. And that makes a nice little one octave sweep, too.

Now, you noticed I'm not playing with too much distortion yet. I think for practicing these it's really important to stick with a tone that's maybe not entirely clean but not too distorted. Enough so that you can hear the sound but you're not fighting the noise. Make it clean with this type of sound before you get into a real distorted sound.

Okay. So we have this octave, this octave, and now we're going to go down to the fifth fret and play this one. This one's a little trickier because it's just one finger moving at the fifth fret. Okay.

Okay. So that covers A minor. And that's the one we just did up an octave. Alright. So, these are simple sweeps.

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