Marty Friedman Doesn’t Care for Your “Sweep Picking,” Shows You How to Play Fast Without It

I fucking love Marty Friedman. Since Gear Gods seems to wind up with “theme” days, I guess today’s is science, because Marty’s post and video at Guitar World seem engineered to specifically infuriate an entire generation of guitarists. You see, Marty Friedman doesn’t do economy picking. He thinks sweeps are lame, or basically anything that goes up a scale 1, 2, 3, snoooore. Boring. Use some creativity and choose your notes because they sound good, not simply because they come after the previous one and your fingers are just moving so fast.


To my ears, it sounds like, “bdLOOP, bdLoop, bdLOOP, bdLoop,” as notes go up and down, over and over again. It’s nothing more than a fancy technique that guitar players learn so that they can play fast arpeggios up and down. To my ears, it’s very unmusical. In my music, you will hear some insane, fast arpeggio-based lines, but it’s never simply straight up and down through the arpeggios, the way sweep picking usually is performed.

When everyone gushes about how distinctive Marty Friedman’s sound is, this is part of what they’re referencing. But he’s not just taking a shit on your cheats to clear his bowels. He wants to help you up your game. So with that rant out of his system, Marty goes on to show how he factors in musicality when choosing his arpeggio notes.

After you finish typing your furious screed white knighting sweeps in the comments, why not check out Marty Friedman’s new solo record, Inferno, which is out now.

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.