Rick Graham - Sweep Picking by Rick Graham

Welcome to Rick Graham - Sweep Picking by Rick Graham, exclusively on Licklibrary.com. This comprehensive guitar lesson series is meticulously designed to help you master the art of sweep picking, a powerful and expressive technique essential for any serious guitarist. Whether you're a beginner looking to develop your skills or an advanced player seeking to refine your technique, Rick Graham's expert guidance will take your playing to the next level.

What is Sweep Picking?

Sweep picking is a technique that allows guitarists to play fast, fluid arpeggios by "sweeping" the pick across the strings in a single, continuous motion. This method minimises the hand movements required, making it possible to achieve incredible speed and precision. Mastering sweep picking not only enhances your technical abilities but also opens up new creative possibilities in your playing.

Technique Breakdown


At the heart of sweep picking is the arpeggio, where the notes of a chord are played in succession rather than simultaneously. Rick Graham's lessons delve deep into various arpeggio shapes, providing detailed explanations and exercises to ensure you understand and can execute each one with precision. Learning arpeggios is crucial for building a strong foundation in sweep picking, as they form the backbone of many complex guitar solos and riffs.


Incorporating legato techniques such as hammer-ons and pull-offs into your sweep picking can create smooth, flowing lines that enhance the musicality of your playing. Rick Graham demonstrates how to seamlessly integrate legato into your arpeggios, allowing for greater expression and dynamic control.

Tapped Harmonics

Tapped harmonics add a unique, shimmering quality to your sweep-picked arpeggios. By lightly tapping the strings at specific points, you can produce bell-like tones that enrich your playing. Rick's lessons cover the precise timing and touch needed to execute these harmonics effectively.

Alternate Picking

While sweep picking relies on a smooth, continuous motion, alternate picking is essential for transitioning between sweep-picked phrases and other playing techniques. Rick Graham emphasises the importance of alternate picking in maintaining speed and accuracy, ensuring your overall technique remains versatile and well-rounded.

Benefits of Learning Sweep Picking

  1. Enhanced Speed and Precision: Sweep picking allows for rapid note execution with minimal effort, enabling you to play complex passages cleanly and quickly.
  2. Greater Musical Expression: By mastering this technique, you can add fluid, intricate arpeggios to your solos, enriching your musical vocabulary and expression.
  3. Improved Finger Strength and Dexterity: The exercises and drills in Rick's lessons build strength and agility in your fretting hand, enhancing your overall playing ability.
  4. Versatility in Playing Styles: Sweep picking is used in various genres, from metal to jazz, making it a versatile technique that broadens your stylistic repertoire.

Performance Context

Watching Rick Graham perform the techniques in a musical context is invaluable for several reasons:

  1. Practical Application: Seeing the techniques used in real songs helps you understand how to apply them in your own playing.
  2. Inspirational Insight: Observing a skilled guitarist like Rick Graham can inspire and motivate you, showing what is possible with dedication and practice.
  3. Musical Interpretation: Performance videos demonstrate how to integrate sweep picking with other techniques and musical elements, offering a comprehensive approach to learning.


Rick Graham's Sweep Picking lessons on Licklibrary.com provide an in-depth exploration of one of the most impressive guitar techniques. With detailed instruction, practical exercises, and performance demonstrations, these lessons will help you develop the skills needed to take your guitar playing to new heights.

Guitar Techniques Covered

Explore these techniques and more with Rick Graham's expert guidance, and unlock the full potential of your guitar playing today!

About The Tutor

Tutor Profile

Rick Graham

Rick is talented guitarist and educator from Southport in the UK who started studying violin at the tender age of 7 and eventually discovered guitar years later whilst he was in college. Discovering a love for the instrument, he honed his skills with the guitar at Guildhall School of Music...

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