Jason Richardson Secret of Sweep

Has anyone tried Jason Richardson’s secret of the sweep program? Essentially he just has you alternate pick arpeggios up until it’s practically impossible to get any faster, but really emphasizes starting slow. I have been doing it about a week and pretty amazed at how much this is helping.

Interesting, so you practice alternate picking the arpeggios as well as sweeping them?

you’re not allowed to sweep them until you can alternate pick them

no finger rolling/barring either

Exactly. Have you tried it?

I bought it years ago and then didnt bother with it, have dug it out and will report back in a week or so

Apparently your supposed to get the arpeggios up to 100-120 bpm 16th notes alternate picked before you attempt sweep picking them…that seems crazy. Im sitting at 60 bpm right now

I’m not sure I understand why that is necessary. It’s two very different picking techniques :thinking:

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I’d be almost certain that it’s to connect the fretting hand actions strongly to your internal sense of time, with the natural pendulum of alternate picking as an anchor.


His sweeps are probably the cleanest I’ve heard, so whatever method he recommends, I’m sure there is very good reason.

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I’d have to agree with Tom; not that I know anything of course! But hey, what a great player, eh? Awesome!

So then it seems like this approach requires a DBX motion right off the bat, otherwise you’ll be practicing string hopping. Or, more optimistically I guess, perhaps it provides a good opportunity to develop DBX.

Or maybe the idea is that if you don’t have DBX, you switch to sweeping at the string-hopping-becomes-infeasible threshold.

Exactly my thoughts. If you know how to do it, that’s great - but most don’t. I know that for myself, I have learned the hard way… There is a wall for me right around 16ths@120bpm, and up until that wall, I can string hop quite happily. I can sometimes “hop” faster, maybe short bursts, but it fatigues quickly and simply does. Not. Get. Faster.

So to me, based on my experience with alternate picking mixed escape things - it is absolutely critical that once my left hand has learned where to go that I start at a tempo where hopping is impossible. It’s a weird feeling, and yeah it seems pretty contrary to the advice that maybe someone with a lot of skill and ability is issuing, so I guess I will have to agree to disagree with starting slow, and gradually increasing the metronome. (been there - done that)

Starting slow and gradually increasing the speed does work though. There’s a reason the advice has persisted in classical musical pedagogy for centuries.

The wrinkle is that it works provided you’re starting with a motion that is capable of high speeds to start with - Troy calls these motions ‘efficient’ because you’re using different muscle groups when doing an upstroke and when doing a downstroke. That’s why Troy suggests to start with speed - there’s no point trying to speed up a motion that has a plateau.

Richardson is either lucky enough to have started with motion that was efficient, or managed to discover one during his practice.

Start with speed is very important, but we shouldn’t be throwing the baby out with the bathwater here. There’s a reason “slow and speed up” persists; it’s because on the majority of instruments it works.

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I have secret of the sweep and it does go over alternate pick arpeggios up to speed and some other various exercise. His advice then is to contact him and he will show you how to sweep. So it is more of an infomercial to pay for a lesson. I wasn’t impressed by this approach and didn’t pursue a lesson.
In short “Secrets of the Sweep” does NOT teach you sweep picking!

Richardson cites his teacher Matt Mills for teaching him proper technique including right and left hand muting. He recalls lessons where Mills would strum next to the nut to ensure proper string muting at all times while playing lead.

Tom Hess used to say something similar in regards to testing your muting. In real life playing, that is highly unrealistic.

What kind of alternate picking, i.e., how many notes per string? Is the shape the same for the alternate picked vs. the sweeped chords?

Saw him jam with Satch, Vai and EJ a couple of weeks ago and it was… cool. The show itself was a 30 years in the making dream come true. Loved every second of the 3, but knew that since I was there on the penultimate show of the tour, in Los Angeles, that I would be pissed that the final show would bring the heat. And Plini was that heat…. Richardson was fine, Nita Strauss was fine, but damn… I did get to see Satch’s son ZZ make his live debut and that was pretty amazing.