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Sweep picking?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by trb6pJM2, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. does anyone have some videos on both right and left (mainly right) hand exercises? or any ariticles? I just seem to be struggling with it as a whole.

    thanks in advance :D
  2. frankosaurus


    Feb 27, 2002
    San Jose
    You'll probably have an easier time finding sweep picking videos for guitar. I'm not sure there's much available for bass. But the concepts are the same.

    I learned sweep picking on the guitar with Jimmy Bruno's No Nonsense Jazz Guitar video. I've since applied the techniques to bass picking (I was formerly a fingerstyle-only bassist).

    Alternatively, here's a free video to try for guitar:
    original link, which appears to be down:

    One thing that Jimmy Bruno stresses - there's no shortcut to sweep picking. You need to practice it A LOT. It took me about 4 weeks of daily practicing (1+ hrs/day) with a metronome to get my sweep picking up to the same speed as my regular alternate picking! Only after that was I able to surpass my alternate picking speed.

    And, from experience, start out SLOW. It seems impossible at first. You just need to go a slow as possible (with metronome of course) and ratchet it up in speed only when you're ready.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Check this out.

  4. dlb1001


    Jan 30, 2007
  5. DazzyPig


    Jul 16, 2007
    Birmingham UK
    Phew, that was unexpected! don't know if i'm too keen on it, but very impressive technical skill non-the-less.
  6. SirFunk

    SirFunk Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Topeka, KS
    If only that was in slow motion :-D
  7. ba55i5t


    May 24, 2006
    Am I the only one that uses the floating thumb + ordinary 2 finger plucking + hammer ons and pull offs for the sweep technique? If not, anyone else who does this please explain how you do it, and if you have any exercises.
  8. ba55i5t


    May 24, 2006
  9. Are you talking about placing one finger on each string?


    I use that for 3 string sweeps, but for 4 strings I add my ring finger as well.
  10. ba55i5t


    May 24, 2006
    Nah, I'm talking about using 2 fingers and using the floating thumb technique. Just playing really fast...basically.
  11. I, don't want to sound like a dick, but thats not sweeping, that's playing fast across a few strings, sweeping is using one motion with one digit or pick in order to arpeggiate a scale...... and i'm having a hard time doing that. it gives you a way different sound and is way faster that alt picking.
  12. TheBassBetween


    Jun 25, 2005
    I believe Wooten does some sweep picking with his thumb at one point in Classical Thump. He also does it in this version of Amazing Grace.

    After his melodic intro. It's when he puts on his goofy face and starts moving his left hand a lot at about :30.
  13. fryBASS


    Aug 8, 2006
    New Haven, CT
    I just recently figured out sweep-thumbing (cuz i'm using my thumb as a pick) recently on my fretless. Its not really that hard to do once you practice it for like 1/2 hr.
  14. ba55i5t


    May 24, 2006
    Yeah, but look at the way Erlend Caspersen sweeps, he uses 3 fingers across strings and still gets a nice sweep tone.


    So basically sweeping is using your thumb to ascend and using your index finger to rake back down? Because I was taking inspiration from his method.
  15. fryBASS


    Aug 8, 2006
    New Haven, CT
    Yup thats what I do, except I use my middle finger instead. Idk why, it just feels better.
  16. owensea777

    owensea777 Banned

    Jun 16, 2007
    If not mistaken I think the OP was talking about sweep picking with a pick. Here's one with bass, you can't see his right hand to well, but I'm sure you'll get the jist. He's strumming downward and playing the individual notes on the left hand. Good stuff.
  17. ba55i5t


    May 24, 2006
    I think I might actually switch to thumb ascend + middle descend now...I dunno though. I play a 6 string and want to make my floating thumb technique amazing. But then again I'm also considering reviewing my slap technique. Maybe I should just work on transition. However I find the thumb ascend + middle descend works well if you want to include tapping because you're closer to the board. Any advice?
  18. Erlend


    Apr 25, 2006
    it`s actually 4 fingers, mind you. i usually go by 1-4-3-2-1 up ( adding tapping or extra notes on top ) and rake back down. i think it`s alot better than the adam nitti - method when it comes to getting a decent attack and singeling out every note. takes more work, though.

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