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View Full Version : Sweep picking - handy hints!



Darran
04-18-2003, 02:03 PM
Hi everyone.

I've been reading through some past threads concerning sweep-picking, and have been interested to learn that a lot of players have had problems with extraneous string noise.

I'd always assumed that left-hand muting was the most vital factor when sweeping from string to string; but during my time at the G.I. in London, I learnt a lot from the resident Rock-technique teacher Shaun Baxter.

I don't know if any of you have heard of Shaun but I can tell you his technique is awesome, and is probably one of the most talented guitarist's I've ever heard. His sweeping technique is also second-to-none.

When sweeping Mr. Baxter carryies out his damping with the right hand, and does it to maximum effect by employing the following measures:

1) He picks close the to neck, and mutes with the right-hand palm when changing from string to string (ascending obviously). Picking close to the neck ensures that when a left-hand finger is lifted, the noise caused is neglible because the string doesn't get a chance to vibrate.

2) To assist the above, he shows very little of the pick to the strings. When ascending, the back of the fingernails touch the adjacent strings; when descending the thumb is touching the string (this acts as a depth gauge).


Granted, the above isn't a great explanation, but if any of you buy a mag called 'Guitar Techniques' he's recently dedicated a monthly column to his sweep technique. Upon request I'll try to scan and upload a few of these columns, they are a fantastic insight.

My sweeping improved dramitically when I adopted the above principles, and have recently became an economy-picker (hardest decision I've ever made!).

EricV
04-18-2003, 02:12 PM
Economy-picking... yeah, I did that for a while. It“s actually cool technique, as long as you not forget about actual alternate picking.
What I mean is: it“d be best to be able to use both picking-styles. Economy picking might be smoother and, well... more economic ( D“uh ! ) than alternate picking, but at the same time, AP is kinda less "ignorant" when it comes to changing a lick around. That means, EP works i.e. great for 3 NPS-licks, but if you decide to add a note on one string, or take away another ( if you get to the point where you go by your ears, not by what is easier to play ), EP might not work anymore for that lick...

Cool advice regarding the muting, by the way
Eric

Darran
04-18-2003, 02:48 PM
Yeah, completely agree - you can't economy pick if you can't alternate pick.

What Shaun does is give you exercises which encourage alternate picking i.e. where it isn't possible to economy pick; and then begins to introduce a few economy exercises. It cannot be stressed enough that alternate picking is a part of economy picking though.

Shuan plays everything using economy-picking - blues licks, jazz lines - everything. You don't know he's using it, and that's the key to any technique, the listener need never know or care!

I know that Gambale arranges his licks to incorporate his economy-picking technique, but to be frank (no pun intended) that is absolutely pointless. Once you're comfortable with any technique you don't know you're using it, so there's no need to highlight it as Frank does, when you become compentant.

If you ever attend the GI in London, you will leave an economy picker. They drive in its benefits to you from day 1, and even the most obstinant will eventually succumb (I did, and I honestly didn't want to for ages).

CaptainCarma
04-18-2003, 07:57 PM
darren,

I once had the chance to quickly listen to a few of shauns work. and I really liked his stuff.
do you know, where to get his solo recording ( think it is called "metal jazz" ), “cause until today I have never had the chance to get it over here in germany.

Marc

Darran
04-18-2003, 08:38 PM
I've only ever heard one song from his 'Jazz Metal' album, called 'Birdland'; it was too be-bop for me at the time but that's going back quite a few years.

I used to record all the lectures on a mini-disc recorder, and when I listen back to some of the things he used to play, it sounds incredible. His melodic sense coupled with his great technique makes great listening. Like I said, he's definately one of the best rock AND jazz soloist's I've ever heard.

His CD is available at G.I. in London. After the Easter break, I'll get you an email address for one of the guys I knew working in reception; he should be able to help you out.

CaptainCarma
04-18-2003, 11:24 PM
to make it short:

this would be great. thanks in advance...


Marc

Anubis
04-19-2003, 04:15 PM
Shaun Baxter is a great player and anyone interested in becoming a better guitar player should check out Guitar Techniques Magazine.
Baxters colums there are great.
He has been doing one for some time now named Guitar Gym.
If anyone is interested i am sure i can provide you with a copy of that column ;)

Simon3
04-22-2003, 06:34 PM
Whats, the difference between economy and alternate anyway?

Oceano
04-22-2003, 07:24 PM
I don't think a player should just use a certain type of picking. Use whatever fits the situation. What matters is the sound that comes out, not how it is produced.

EricV
04-22-2003, 07:54 PM
Alternate picking: if you i.e. play a three note per string scale, you play d-u-d-u-d-u etc.

Economy picking: you use consecutive down- or upstrokes when going from one string to the next, like: d-u-d-d-u-d-d etc. Kinda like "mini-sweeps"
Stay tuned for my next article, where I talk about it and show a few examples
Eric

martin
04-23-2003, 01:28 PM
Hey Darran, im interested in going to the G.I. in London. I was wondering if you could tell me a bit about. What sort of standard do I have to be to get in etc. I would be grateful of any help you could give me. Thanks, Martin

Darran
04-23-2003, 02:54 PM
Originally posted by martin
Hey Darran, im interested in going to the G.I. in London. I was wondering if you could tell me a bit about. What sort of standard do I have to be to get in etc. I would be grateful of any help you could give me. Thanks, Martin

First of all, let me explain what courses are on offer.

Basically you have the option of a 1 year full-time diploma, a 2-year full-time degree, or a 10-week part-time course. Each year is split into 3 terms, and the 10-week course is exactly the same as term 1 of the 1-year diploma.

In term one, the modules on offer are (from memory):

Sight reading
Rhythm reading
Blues/Rock Live performance workshop (LPW)
Blues Live Rhythm workshop (RPW)
Fretboard fluency
Fingerstyle
Rock
Rhythm
Foundation Blues

Term 2

Pop/Funk LPW
Pop/Funk RPW
Country style
Chord Melody
Appeggiator
Advanced Blues
Funk
Rock 2

Term3

Chord Melody 2
Jazz LPW

You then have an option of attending the following LPW's

rock/Metal
Country
Blues
Pop
Fusion (awful material to learn)
?


I'd better explain that I did neither the 1-year, 2-year, or 10-week course. Because I had a job to hold down, what I did was pick and choose various modules I wanted to do, and then travel to London twice a week to do them. In under a year and half I have basically completed Terms1 and 2, but have so far been unable to do Term3 because I suffered a muscle injury which has been giving me problems for the last 7 months.

I loved every second I spent there, but I would warn you that a quite a few young people dropped out. I started going when I was 25 and very open-minded musically, but If I'd attended when I was 18 (and still a metalhead) I would have been disillusioned. Some guitarists who went to learn how to shred were more than dissapointed having to learn a funky M Jackson song, or a walking jazz bassline. I was lapping it up though, BUT I remember when I was their age and I too would have been pissed off. You will learn how to shred from term2 onwards, but in the meantime you're grounded in every style in order to prepare you for session-musicianship.

If you're going to tackle it full-time - be prepared - its a hell of a lot of material to absorb. In fact, its too much, and they will tell you that. I personally think that I got the best out of my time there because of the manner in which I approched it. Others there complained a lot because of the amount of material they had to learn in the little amount of time available, whereas I could go home with little pressure, and take my time learning and analysing each lesson (I used to record each lesson on a mini-disc recorder).

I was a bit of a loner because I didn't really spend that much time socially with my fellow students, but that suited me just fine because I just wanted to learn as much as I can. Those who I spoke to did remark that the way I was studying was a good idea (although not intentional, I just couldn't afford it!).

If you tell me what you're looking for, I'll answer you as best I can, but I would say that you must be musically open-minded, and for a lot of us that doesn't happen until a few years down the line.

martin
04-23-2003, 08:23 PM
Cheers, thanks for typing all that, i really appreciate your help! I have a few further queries though...

I visited the GI a few months back, and they said i need to be grade 8 standard before i can go. I am doing my grade 8 at the moment; will I be at a similar standard to most other students, or are some people like way above grade 8 before they even start?

Secondly, i heard John Petrucci did a masterclass there, is that true? Which other Guitarists have done masterclasses while you've been there?

And lastly, sorry for all the questions lol; i also play bass, and wouldnt want to forget about playing bass, is there any facility to maybe take a few bass classes too?

Thanks for your time

Martin

Darran
04-24-2003, 02:46 PM
Originally posted by martin
Cheers, thanks for typing all that, i really appreciate your help! I have a few further queries though...

I visited the GI a few months back, and they said i need to be grade 8 standard before i can go. I am doing my grade 8 at the moment; will I be at a similar standard to most other students, or are some people like way above grade 8 before they even start?

Secondly, i heard John Petrucci did a masterclass there, is that true? Which other Guitarists have done masterclasses while you've been there?

And lastly, sorry for all the questions lol; i also play bass, and wouldnt want to forget about playing bass, is there any facility to maybe take a few bass classes too?

Thanks for your time

Martin

Did you apply for the 2-year degree course by any chance? I know there is certain criteria to be met before you can enrol on that course.

As for the 1-year course, contrary to what they may tell you, there is very little expected of you. Because I did the courses part-time I was in a great many different classes, and the guitarists ranged from beginner to very good. If you can play a song or two (no matter how simple), you're in. Did you have an assessment?

Its all about money at the end of the day, and the more they enrol the more they make. The facilities there aren't the best, but in all honesty the teaching standard is superb, and each teacher is a great guitarist in their field.

There is a bass-tech there (not sure if its in the same building), so you may be able to attend a few lessons. If not, I know they offer private lessons at around £20.

Pettrucci masterclass? Not sure. They're not as frequent as they'll have you believe. Robert Fripp did one when I was there, but I didn't go.

Simon3
04-27-2003, 06:55 PM
Hi,
I have recently been looking at the guitar techniques mag and they are good columns from Shaun Baxter in "Guitar Gym". But I have some missing from my collection. So could you possibly post them or send them to via email or something please. I don't have any from before the december 2002 issue, but I have all of those after. So could you please post those from before this mag (from the 1st in the series preferably :) ) or something.

Thanks.

Darran
05-23-2003, 11:35 AM
Captain Carma

I spoke to the GI today, and they suggested ordering 'Jazz Metal' from his website. Here is the address:

www.shaunbaxter.com


He's also in the process of making 'Jazz Metal2' apparently.

Cheers

CaptainCarma
05-23-2003, 11:50 AM
thanks a lot for this info, darran.

warm regards,

Marc

ade
05-24-2003, 06:08 AM
Hi Darren,

I thought since you seem so well informed about GI in London, you might know their website address. I tried searching for it but with no success.

Sincere thanks!

Darran
05-24-2003, 09:17 AM
GI website is

www.guitarinstitute.com


Cheers