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Sweep picking is a guitar playing technique. When sweep picking, the guitarist plays single notes on consecutive strings with a 'sweeping' motion of the pick, while using the fretting hand to produce a specific series of notes that are fast and fluid in sound. Both hands essentially perform an integral motion in unison to achieve the desired effect.
The technique was first used and developed by jazz guitarists Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Tal Farlow and Barney Kessel in the 1950s, as well as rock guitarists Jan Akkerman, Ritchie Blackmore and Steve Hackett in the 1970s. In the 1980s, sweep picking became widely known for its use by shred guitarists including Yngwie Malmsteen, Jason Becker, Tony MacAlpine and Marty Friedman. Jazz fusion guitarist Frank Gambale released several books and instructional videos about the technique, of which the most well-known is Monster Licks & Speed Picking in 1988.
Guitarists often use the technique to play arpeggios at high speed. A common fretting shape is the one- or two-octave stacked triad. In scalar terms, this is the first (tonic), third (mediant) and fifth (dominant) of a scale, played twice, with an additional tonic added at the high end. For example, an A minor stacked triad is A-C-E-A-C-E-A. When the guitarist plays such a series of notes quickly up and down as an arpeggio, the phrasing sounds typical of pianos and other instruments more associated with such arpeggios. Unlike pianos, woodwinds, and many other instruments, the guitarist can change key by moving the same arpeggio shape up and down the fretboard.
Compared to other techniques, such as alternate picking, sweep picking requires few strokes. In some instances, however, a guitarist uses hammer-ons and pull-offs to produce a legato sound instead of actual pick strokes. This applies when a certain string must sound two notes in the shape due to the natural limits of a fretted string instrument.
However, as with all guitar techniques, individual players may integrate sweep picking into existing repertoire and use it in an individually stylistic manner. Therefore, some guitarists use legato techniques and others double-pick multiple notes on a single string. These are separate yet related techniques that produce obvious differences in legato versus struck notes, as well as shift in the timing of the entire arpeggio. Furthering the idea, most players who master the basic sweep picking pattern use only parts of it, or alter the technique to achieve a certain lick. In this sense, sweep picking is not so much a concrete action such as the aforementioned alternate picking, but instead is a technical idea with many possible applications in all genres of music.
A simple example of the technique is the use of the three-string sweep arpeggio done on the upper three (thinnest) strings.
Beginning on the middle tonic of this progression, the player may sweep first up the arpeggio and then back down to resolve on the initial tonic. This would notate as A-C-E-A-E-C-A. Written in tablature form for the twelfth position, it would be seen as:
e|-------12-17-12-------| B|----13----------13----| G|-14----------------14-| D|----------------------| A|----------------------| E|----------------------|
If one then adds to it the lower octave of the arpeggio, the complete shape (in this particular position) is seen as:
e|----------------12-17-12----------------| B|-------------13----------13-------------| G|----------14----------------14----------| D|-------14----------------------14-------| A|-12-15----------------------------15-12-| E|----------------------------------------|
In the middle of the above sequence, on the third and fourth string, the guitarist must finger the same fret for both strings. There are more fingerings than humans have fingers, though both of these problems are solved by first fretting the initial string (fourth on the downstroke) with the tip of the ring finger, then rolling into the next string by fretting it with the pad of the same finger. In the upstroke, one frets the third string first, reversing the rolling action. Also note that on the lowest and highest strings in the shape, two notes must be played immediately following each other, but on the same string. This is where legato comes into effect, so that the guitarist can sustain a fluid picking motion.
However, the guitarist can sound these notes in the arpeggio through other techniques—including changing pick articulation, double-picking notes (with an additional upstroke or downstroke), legato, or sliding, though the latter is less common because it requires acute control to slide to a precise point.
A guitarist may continue a sweep to the next note by tapping to play passing notes outside the classic arpeggio. Sweep picking is not limited to a few note patterns. Guitarists can construct as many patterns as there are chords, and apply sweep picking to any idea—arpeggio or otherwise.
The classical guitar is a member of the guitar family used in classical music. An acoustic wooden string instrument with strings made of gut or nylon, it is a precursor of the modern acoustic and electric guitars, both of which use metal strings. Classical guitars are derived from the Spanish vihuela and gittern in the fifteenth and sixteenth century, which later evolved into the seventeenth and eighteenth century Baroque guitar and later the modern classical guitar in the mid nineteenth century.
The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that usually has six strings. It is typically played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the fingers/fingernails of one hand, while simultaneously fretting with the fingers of the other hand. The sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker.
Tapping, also called tap style (tapstyle), touch-style, and two-handed tapping, is a guitar playing technique where a string is fretted and set into vibration as part of a single motion of being tapped onto the fretboard, with either hand, as opposed to the standard technique of fretting with one hand and picking with the other. Tapping is the primary technique intended for some instruments such as the Chapman Stick, and is the alternative method for the Warr Guitar and others. Tapped passages incorporate the techniques of hammer-on and pull-off, but with both hands freed to produce notes. Some players rely extensively or exclusively on tapping.
A guitar pick is a plectrum used for guitars. Picks are generally made of one uniform material—such as some kind of plastic, rubber, felt, tortoiseshell, wood, metal, glass, tagua, or stone. They are often shaped in an acute isosceles triangle with the two equal corners rounded and the third corner less rounded. They are used to strum chords or to sound individual notes on a guitar.
Lead guitar, also known as solo guitar, is a musical part for a guitar in which the guitarist plays melody lines, instrumental fill passages, guitar solos, and occasionally, some riffs within a song structure. The lead is the featured guitar, which usually plays single-note-based lines or double-stops. In rock, heavy metal, blues, jazz, punk, fusion, some pop, and other music styles, lead guitar lines are usually supported by a second guitarist who plays rhythm guitar, which consists of accompaniment chords and riffs.
Fingerstyle guitar is the technique of playing the guitar by plucking the strings directly with the fingertips, fingernails, or picks attached to fingers, as opposed to flatpicking. The term "fingerstyle" is something of a misnomer, since it is present in several different genres and styles of music—but mostly, because it involves a completely different technique, not just a "style" of playing, especially for the guitarist's picking/plucking hand. The term is often used synonymously with fingerpicking except in classical guitar circles, although fingerpicking can also refer to a specific tradition of folk, blues and country guitar playing in the US. The terms "fingerstyle" and "fingerpicking" also applied to similar string instruments such as the banjo.
In music, a barre chord is a type of chord on a guitar or other stringed instrument, that the musician plays by using one or more fingers to press down multiple strings across a single fret of the fingerboard.
In music, a guitar chord is a set of notes played on a guitar. A chord's notes are often played simultaneously, but they can be played sequentially in an arpeggio. The implementation of guitar chords depends on the guitar tuning. Most guitars used in popular music have six strings with the "standard" tuning of the Spanish classical guitar, namely E-A-D-G-B-E' ; in standard tuning, the intervals present among adjacent strings are perfect fourths except for the major third (G,B). Standard tuning requires four chord-shapes for the major triads.
In music, strumming is a way of playing a stringed instrument such as a guitar, ukulele, or mandolin. A strum or stroke is a sweeping action where a finger or plectrum brushes over several strings to generate sound. On most stringed instruments, strums are typically executed by a musician's designated strum hand, while the remaining hand often supports the strum hand by altering the tones and pitches of any given strum.
A broken chord is a chord broken into a sequence of notes. A broken chord may repeat some of the notes from the chord and span one or more octaves.
Alternate picking is a guitar playing technique that employs alternating downward and upward strokes in a continuous fashion. If the technique is performed at high speed on a single string voicing the same note, it may be referred to as "tremolo picking" or "double picking".
Downpicking, sometimes referred to as down-stroke picking, is a technique used by musicians on plucked string instruments in which the player moves the plectrum, or pick in a downward motion, relative to the position of the instrument, against one or more of the strings to make them vibrate. If down-strokes are played without the addition of upstrokes, the tip of the pick never comes in contact with the strings as the hand moves back up to repeat the down-stroke.
Shred guitar or shredding is a virtuoso lead guitar solo playing style for the guitar, based on various advanced and complex playing techniques, particularly rapid passages and advanced performance effects. Music critics have stated that shred guitar is associated with "fast alternate picking, sweep-picked arpeggios, diminished and harmonic scales, finger-tapping and whammy-bar abuse", while others contend that it is a fairly subjective cultural term used by guitarists and enthusiasts of guitar music. It is commonly used with reference to heavy metal guitar playing, where it is associated with rapid tapping solos, fast scale and arpeggio runs and special effects such as whammy bar "dive bombs". Metal guitarists playing in a "shred" style use the electric guitar with a guitar amplifier and a range of electronic effects such as distortion, which create a more sustained guitar tone and facilitate guitar feedback effects.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to guitars:
Economy picking is a guitar picking technique designed to maximize picking efficiency by combining alternate picking and sweep picking. Specifically:
In classical guitar, the right hand is developed in such a way that it can sustain two, three, and four voice harmonies while also paying special attention to tone production. The index (i), middle (m), and ring (a) fingers are generally used to play the melody, while the thumb (p) accompanies in the bass register adding harmony, and produces a comparable texture and effect to that of the piano. The classical guitar is a solo polyphonic instrument, and it is difficult to master.
A flamenco guitar is a guitar similar to a classical guitar but with thinner tops and less internal bracing. It usually has nylon strings, as opposed to steel. Usually, it has a livelier sound compared to the classical guitar. It is used in toque, the guitar-playing part of the art of flamenco.
Chuck Wayne was a jazz guitarist. He came to prominence in the 1940s, and was among the earliest jazz guitarists to play in the bebop style. Wayne was a member of Woody Herman's First Herd, the first guitarist in the George Shearing quintet, and Tony Bennett's music director and accompanist. He developed a systematic method for playing jazz guitar.
Guitar picking is a group of hand and finger techniques a guitarist uses to set guitar strings in motion to produce audible notes. These techniques involve plucking, strumming, brushing, etc. Picking can be done with:
Bass guitar techniques are methods or approaches used by bassists when playing bass guitars. Sometimes techniques are used to produce a particular sound, which is best suited for a certain song or style of music. In the early days, bassists often used techniques to emulate the sound of acoustic upright basses. However, as music and the role the bass diversified, new techniques were developed to meet the new needs and explore new sounds.