4 Ways To Make Your Sweep Picking Arpeggios More Interesting – That Even Marty Friedman Would Approve Of

If you want to read about the technicals of sweep picking arpeggios, read here.

I will go into how the creative aspect now and how to make arpeggios sound more musical instead of sounding like (to say it with the words of Marty Friedman in one of his infamous arpeggio lessons) “bu-du-lup bu-du-lup bu-du-lup” all the time 🙂

(That arpeggio lesson was pretty good though!)

A lot of those methods are really just coming from curiosity and the willingness to experiment around.

You don’t even need to be extraordinarily fast or a virtuoso.

Sometimes playing slow and hitting the right spot does the trick too.

But of course shredding is still a tool that could be in your tool belt.

If you want to learn how, here is a good pointer for you that I recommend checking out the Guitaristy App

However keep reading if you are just here for the arpeggio stuff.

Where you start first is to…

Match the arpeggio with the underlying chords

If you have learned the 6 main 5 string arpeggio shapes, you are now ready to string them together in a pretty catchy way.

And as you learned in THIS article, chords and keys are built up in a certain way.

An arpeggio is really just a chord with the notes played separately.

All you need to know for that is which chord is currently being played so you can choose the best matching arpeggio.

If there is a D minor chord playing, you should *probably* go with another D minor arpeggio.

Unless you are aiming for a different effect. (In music everything is permitted)

Here is an example of a D minor arpeggio over a D minor power chord:

Sweep Picking Arpeggio in Dm for Guitar in Tablature

It gets really interesting once you start writing arpeggios over whole chord progressions.

Now you have to think which shape is the closest one to my current shape. Here is an example in 3 different versions:

Sweep Picking Arpeggio Sequence in D minor in Tablature

The chords are Dm Bb F C all the way but the position of the arpeggios change and go up after every cycle.

Sequence Arpeggios together

Let us string the same arpeggio and all its different shapes together for a nice upwards sounding effect:

D minor Sweep Picking arpeggio sequence for guitar in Tablature

Here we play one shape up and slide into the next one to play it downwards:

D minor Sweep Picking arpeggio shape connection example in Tablature

If you think of it in terms of interrupting the normal patterns you can go almost anywhere with this.

Just try to slide into the next arpeggio on a random note of the shape you are currently in and see where it takes you!

Add special notes

To add some special flavour to your arpeggios you can try to find ways to add non-chord-tones to your arpeggios.

This will make your arpeggio sound very unique and stand out from the rest.

Try to play this Am7 Arpeggio for example without hearing it beforehand:

Am7 arpeggio in tablature

I recommend playing the notes on the G string with a Hammer-on and then Pull-off on your way back!

Here is the last tip I have for you today that probable even Marty Friedman approve of:

Lead into guitar licks

Let us take this lick for example:

Guitar lick in tablature

It is based on the notes D and F, so it could fit over a Bb chord or a D minor chord.

Here are both examples:

Guitar lick in tablature

Now it’s up to you to start experimenting around!

And a great way to receive a lot of guidance and exercise with this is to visit this guy here.

All Graphics and Sound examples are brought to you by Guitar Pro Software*


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