3NPS sweep practice

Hey Guys,

Prior to joining this forum, I attempted sweeping several times throughout the years and was never able to make it click. Now that I’ve joined the forum, I’ve been a lot more dedicated to improving in general but I’ve really wanted to make that breakthrough with sweeps because it just seems like the right way for me to play certain things. So I’ve put in a lot of time just playing a couple 3NPS licks over and over and over and think I finally made some real progress. However, it didn’t come from the repetition so I wanted to share what made really helped me in the hopes that it might help others who’ve struggled like I have with sweeping.

What made a big difference for me was simplifying (maybe considered chunking) the left hand and making sure my right hand sweeps. The two big things for me are listed below.

  1. Doing position shifts with the left forefinger and sweeping with the right (picking the first note of each string only).
  2. Picking the first note on each string and tapping the rest but still sweeping with the right (only picking the first note of each string).

The important thing for me when doing this was ensuring my right hand was actually sweeping. When I first started simplifying my left hand, I was frustrated because it was painfully easy to do what I wanted but of course couldn’t do it when picking every note. Then when I analyzed myself a bit more, I realized it was easy because my right hand wasn’t actually sweeping. It was resetting prior to each pick. Once, I realized this, I was able to focus on ensuring the right hand was sweeping while the left did the position shifts/tapping. I’m not sure why but this allowed me to make a lot of progress when doing that actual sweeps and picking every note. This might sound similar to a lot of guides on sweeping but I don’t think I’ve ever been told to focus on my right hand when simplifying the left.


I just realized why this is important for me. It’s probably obvious to a lot of you folks and already covered in some tutorial but again hopefully this will help some people who haven’t watched all of the interviews and tutorials.

I’m a USX player (that’s escape on the upstroke, right?) so normally on a downstroke, my pick is coming down toward the body of the guitar from a high point but when sweeping, it’s down in between the strings already and I need to do a parallel motion to hit the next string instead of a downward motion. Even after the progress I originally described, I am still stumbling a bit and I think this is why. I think I’m just not used to hitting the string from this angle which I think means I’m finally at a point where I just need to practice a lot to finally be able to sweep like Yngwie (or as close as a mere mortal like myself can get).

Could you post a clip or tab of an example? I can only think of one 3nps “sweep” and it’s not even a sweep, more like legato.

Or is this 3-string sweeps?

Below is an example tab. I called it Sweeping because I referred to it as Economy picking here in some other forum post and was told that in this forum, Economy picking and Sweeping are synonymous because you’re sweeping from one string to the next. If this doesn’t help, don’t hesitate to let me know. I can be dumb sometimes.

Th pickstrokes for this are DUDUDU DUD DUD DUD.

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Gotcha, I personally refer to this as economy picking, I’m not sure about the forum consensus.


One thing I found is that sometimes it’s not related with pure mechanics itself.
I’d been struggling with 3nps sweeping becasue of that broken rhythm D-U-D-D-U-D-D-U-D instead of D-U-D-U-… all the way. That habit of landing a downstroke on a downbeat was pretty strong.
Now it’s much easier for me to do. Good old ‘slow practicing’ helped me, since it wasn’t about incorrect mechanics, but about new way of rhythmical feeling.

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some call it directional picking too lol

It seems like Paul Gilbert often repeats the importantance of training yourself to become comfortable playing an upstroke on the downbeat.