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Advanced Sweep Picking I

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All of the sweeps we've been playing so far have all been one shape in one position. For the last section of this lesson, we're going to learn different 5 string shapes in multiple progressions.

To give us a framework for this, I want to talk about the Diatonic scale. Diatonic literally means "progressing through tones". These scales are the foundation of the European musical tradition. The modern major and minor scales are both diatonic. This is also related to what you may hear called "modal" playing.

In the diatonic scale, when you play the chord tone arpeggios (which comprise the 1, 3, 5, and 7 of each scale) there are four arpeggio shapes - major, minor, dominant, and diminished. If you just play 1-3-5, then dominant looks the same as major, as the difference is that dominant has a flat 7. We'll hear what the chords of the Diatonic scale sound like, starting with D, and play it as descending arpeggios.

We need to learn a new shape too, the diminished shape. What we're doing is staying consistent with the right hand, but moving our left hand into a different position after each sweep. Once you're comfortable with this, you can try changing position after each crossing of the fretboard. Do that slowly first, and build up to speed.

In our next series, Advanced Sweep Picking II, we'll get into ways in which to use this approach when incorporating sweeping into soloing. But that's all for now; good luck, and remember - timing is everything!
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