Six String Arpeggios For Sweep Picking

In this tutorial I hope to fire the creative engines in players so that sweep picking can become a useful part of their song-writing arsenal. I like to use sweep picking in my songs as a basic emotional device, is there anything that moves a listener more than a well executed, simple but sophisticated arpeggio pattern?

Six String Arpeggios For Sweep Picking

There are two exercises, in two different keys (not the same key as I said at the beginning of the video!) in this tutorial. The shapes used can be found in the CAGED system for Major & Minor chords and I have constructed them to fit a 6 note-per-string (16th note triplet) rhythm. I have excluded any legato in these exercises so they are pure sweep picking. I think this gives the arpeggios an even, consistent sound but sweep picking arpeggios with hammer ons and pull offs are also important and something I will post on in future.

Exercise 1

This exercise, as described in the talk-through, is diatonic to the key of D Major. The actual piece, however, is rooted in B Minor/Aeolian, the 6th mode of D Major. This is established with the full bar of the B Minor arpeggio whilst the following 2 arpeggios (A & G) play for only half a bar each.

Right hand picking directions are described in the video but left hand fingerings for each string in the arpeggio are as follows –

B Minor

High E – 10th fret(1st finger), 14th fret(4th finger)

B – 12th fret(2nd finger)

G – 11th fret(1st finger)

D – 12th fret(2nd finger)

A – 14th fret(4th finger)

Low E – 10th fret(1st finger), 14th fret(4th finger)

A Major

High E – 9th fret(1st finger), 12th fret(4th finger)

B – 10th fret(2nd finger)

G – 9th fret(1st finger)

D – 11th fret(3rd finger)

A – 12th fret(4th finger)

Low E – 9th fret(1st finger), 12th fret(4th fret)

G Major

(Same as A Major)

Exercise 2

This exercise changes key to G Major. Again the exercise does not use it’s parent key’s root note. The piece is actually rooted by the C Major arpeggio which is the final shape in the exercise – the root note does not always have to be first. I think this is a cool way of using a modal sound without it being quite so ‘in your face’. The arpeggios are played in the same way as in Exercise 1 but there is a tricky position shift from B minor(shape 1) to D major(shape 2) which will take some careful practice.


Download (PDF, 34KB)

Backing Track

The piece itself moves along at a mid tempo (110BPM) but due to the amount of notes per beat this will be a fast exercise up to speed. Building up speed is imperative and a starting point of half the target speed is advisable (55BPM)

Don’t forget you can like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and subscribe to me on YouTube by clicking the icons below –

six string arpeggios for sweep pickingsix string arpeggios for sweep pickingsix string arpeggios for sweep picking

Tagged with: , ,
One comment on “Six String Arpeggios For Sweep Picking

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.