Betcha Can't Play This: Karl Sanders' Sweep-Picking Fiesta

by Karl Sanders
Posted May 21, 2014 at 3:47pm

This is a sweep-picking fiesta that zigzags across the top five strings and up and down the neck. The first six bars consist of a Dm arpeggio (D F A) played in various inversions and positions, with each bar being played in a different position.

I use a hammer-on/pull-off combination each time I get to the high E string to give the line a little bit of a legato feel and to help give my pick hand a more time to change direction for each upstroke sweep.

I also do a couple of slides with my index finger in bars 5 and 6, which can be a little tricky. I throw in a little twist in bar 7 by playing Dm(maj7) [D F A C#] instead of a straight Dm triad.

The top note of this arpeggio, the Cs at the 21st fret, sets up a smooth transition to Dbm [Db Fb Ab] in bar 8. From there, things just get weirder as I move to Bbm [Bb Db F] and Am [A C E] before ending with a Dm “grand finale” in bar 11, which is just the initial root position Dm shape in fifth position alternating with the exact same shape played 12 frets higher, in 17th position.

The position shifts are probably the most challenging aspect of playing this lick. Start out slowly and build up speed as you memorize the shapes. Also be sure to palm mute the strings as indicated to keep the noise to a minimum.

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