Three Common Sweeping Shapes

In this video lesson, I demonstrate three of the most common sweep picking shapes that I use. These shapes are great (as are sweeping shapes in general) because once you can sweep through one at lightening speed, you only need to move it around the neck to play over different chords.

Like many things with the guitar, it really is that simple!

More than that! Later on in the video I’ll let you know how you can use these three licks over six different chords to create new and more interesting sounds. Sound good? Just watch below…

First, we have the “E shape” arpeggio sweeped D major chord:

D major 6 string sweep

So the above tab is for when you’re playing over a D chord. Feel free to move it up or down to suit the chord you want to play over (hint: the root note is on the E string, use the “fretboard-notes.pdf” in the sidebar to help…).

Next, here is the second shape: an “A shape” G sweep arpeggio:

G major 5 string sweeped shape

Again, you can move this one where you need it. I move it to an F later on in the sequence (i.e. down two frets). The root notes here are on the A string.

Finally, here is the C shape. This shape has to be my favourite (OK, I mean: I find it the easiest…) and this is a “C shape” C chord sweep:

C major sweep picking shape

This time the root is on the B string.

Over Minor Chords

You can also use these shapes over minor chords that are three frets below each shape. This means that the C chord can be used over an A minor (to create an Am7 chord overall), the D chord can be used over a B minor chord (making Bm7) and the G chord can be used over an E minor (making an Em7 chord).

Therefore, you actually get six licks for the price of three!

Remember: practise these licks slowly until you’re sure you have them perfect. Then- and only then- are you allowed to speed them up!

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