Songs with easy beginner sweep picking

I got a couple of students that wants to get into sweep picking but I struggle finding songs with easy examples. Of course there is the yngwie, jason Becker, Jeff Loomis etc but that stuff is way to hard. Any good suggestions for songs with easy sweep picking?

I think best bet is to look at some etudes. Take some standard chord progressions and turn them into sweep picking practice etudes if you cannot find any. Least it would be in a realife sort of situation if done that way. Have then maybe loop the chords as well while doing it. Then they could go as slow as they needed and speed up. Maybe start with one type 3 string then add in 4 5 6 and then perhaps mix it up like say lay 3 one measure then 5 or 6 etc. Least its still musical.


Since you know these students well, it might be useful to write some short etudes that you know would be doable for them. Consider variables like:

  • number of strings covered (how big the sweep is)
  • how the turnarounds (change from down to up) happen
  • difficulty of fretting hand movements such as larger reaches, rolls, ‘same fret/new string’ issues
  • length of the etude (too short can be boring/not motivating to play, too long and it can feel like too much of a project and they lose motivation - really depends on the student)

This is much more work for you than grabbing something off the net, but if you can’t find something that fits the bill sometimes this is the best way to go. Then you save what you come up with, and can use it forever. If you are composing it using guitar pro or similar software, you can keep duplicating the file and making variations to suit different students’ challenges.

I agree that creating your own études for students based on their abilities is the ideal way to go.

On the other hand, it might be easier to take existing material and modify it to taste. I’m a big fan of Chris Brooks’ educational material. His latest book 100 Arpeggio Licks for Shred Guitar has some excellent vocabulary in the style of famous virtuosos. You can connect all the licks for each chapter into a full length étude.

For a more basic primer, Sweep Picking Strategies is the way to go. Starts with 2 string arpeggios, and gradually adds a string for 3, 4, 5, and 6 note arpeggios. Lots of drills and etudes for each concept.

And if you’re unsure, you can preview a big chunk of the first chapter of this for free on the Kindle app. I don’t know if it’s the whole chapter, but there are seven etudes visible in the preview portion.

Thanks guys, but this is not what I was asking.
I have a lot of etudes and practise pieces. I have a lot of yngwie sweeps and own all of Chris Brooks books. But I would like to show my students some sweep arpeggios from real songs that doesnt need you to be a virtuoso to be able to play them.

House of the Rising Sun? Stairway? I guess you can sweep anything with an arpeggiated chord progression. In the context of lead playing, there aren’t many examples of sweep arpeggios that are easy for beginners.

I think that colloquially the term “sweep picking” is inherently virtuosic. If the tempo is slower, we’re essentially then just ‘economy picking’ anything that has roughly one note per string.

That being the case, many bebop ‘heads’ and jazz vocabulary that was written for saxophone has ‘easy sweeps’ in it, little segments that lay out well on the guitar with sweep picking, but just in very quick bursts, usually just in one direction rather than up and down back and forth. But I’m pretty sure that’s not something that would fit the bill here.

Anyway, 'd be interested in what might get unearthed - I definitely can’t think of a tune that has something like a medium tempo sweep picking section/solo.

If I may I would suggest the first solo from Metallica’s Fade to Black. It has a three string sweep both directions, which isn’t too fast but then again it is only a very small part of the solo.

There’s one of these in the intro solo to Sanitarium as well. I never really thought of it as a “sweep” per se, because it’s so slow (at 0m59s):

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Thanks guys:-) This is the kind of thing I had in mind:-)

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Sweep picking had a resurgence in the early 2000s through metal and hardcore, where there are some ‘easier’ songs than in 80s-90s shred. I found the intro section to ‘Alaska’ by Between the Buried and Me to be pretty good for practicing the technique at different rhythmic subdivisions.

The first one I ever learned is the very end of Friedman’s solo on Megadeth’s A Tout Le Monde. The tempo is reasonable around 100 bpm.

The etude like part in Yngwie’s Rising Force isn’t to bad as well.

The intro to the solo in Metallica’s Leper Messiah (These three string with pull off sweeps can be thought of as the sweep analog to the Chuck Berry influenced bend, pull off lick that is ubiquitous in rock soloing)

The end of Deep Purple’s Child in Time (down swept)

The biggest thing I stress when learning sweeping is learn the theory behind each shape, what makes it minor, major, diminished cause then you can adjust a note here or there and make your own stuff out of it instead of sounding like cobbled together exercises. Sweeping being hard primarily comes from the need to have perfect synchronization between the hands. Always think pick, release.

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