ALEX SKOLNICK – Sweep Picking Fundamentals

Here’s a cool video, from Reverb.com, of Alex Skolnick running through the fundamentals of sweep picking, triads and arpeggio construction. He does a nice job of breaking things down and making the basic concepts understandable. And even I, as someone who is certifiably music theory retardant, can follow along as he explains the relevance of triads. It’s like a nice “day-1” shred lesson with your dream guitar teacher.

I don’t know if you remember but sweep picking was the hot guitar technique about six years ago. You could get away with writing an entire song that consisted solely of sequential sweep picking exercises, one after another. It was such a novelty that you didn’t even have to sweep very well. An acceptable “arpeggio” consisted of some distorted 32nd-note fudge, that was sandwiched between a low and high note.

So, it’s noteworthy that Alex isn’t trying to break the sound barrier here, that’s not his style. Instead, it’s just tastefully played, cleanly executed, 80s style arpeggios. Hopefully this lesson influences some players to bring the ‘tastiness’ back into sweeping. It might be a passé technique right now, but how can you not love some back-to-basics sweeps with crisp note choice?

So do you still shred arpeggios like it was 2010? Are you more a fan of blending the sweeps into melodic ideas? And is that some Tosin Abasi influence in the new AST track at the end of the video?

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Demigod Zeke studies marketing & economics and produces his friends’ disgusting slam bands.