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Thread: Frank Gambale runs

  1. #1
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    Apr 2007

    Frank Gambale sweep picking runs

    Does anyone know how Frank Gambale plays those long, flowing sweep picking runs of his that cover the entire fretboard? For a few examples of what I'm talking about check out the following videos:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X48DXt8Jn7M (at 6:00)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1MquRso_4I (from about 1:50 to 3:10)

    Basically any help whatsoever would be greatly appreciated. Any approaches, sweeping shapes, etc. that would help me work towards those kind of runs.
    Last edited by graypianoflying; 08-06-2007 at 07:03 PM.
    "I second-hand smoke two packs of cigarettes a day." -- Jerry Seinfeld

  2. #2
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    Houston, TX
    What he does is economy picking. Down up down down and uses an even note number in a string whenever he wants to change directions. He applies that to basic scales (major, melodic minor, diminished, pentatonic, etc) and arpeggios (maj7, dom7, m7, m7b5, dim7 and all of the extensions) That's really it in a nutshell. Then of course there's the countless hours of practice it takes to sound like him and internalize all those sounds.

    This answer may seem like a general one but it's not. Everything you need is there. He's got a few books and videos out. Check them out.

    Good luck.

    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  3. #3
    Registered User Adam_7773's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    I have been working on economy piciking for 10 years now and I love it. A good starting point would be Frank Gambales video "Monster Licks and Speed Picking".

    Other than that use the concept forgottenking2 described above. Sweep every string-change so you play an uneven amount of notes per string when going in one direction (up or down), and play an even amount of notes on a string if you are going to change direction. There are a very large number of combinations possible, do the math if you want to get deeper into this later on. I have.

    Daily practise sessions are of course highy recommended if you want to play sweeps fluidly. Don't forget to learn a technique for muting strings not played if you want to play cleanly.

    Take care!

  4. #4
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    Apr 2007
    Thanks for the responses guys!

    I probably wasn't clear enough with the original question though. I know all about the technique and I have been working on it a lot. What amazes me are those long runs that go all around the fretboard using all these different shapes. Basically I'm not asking about the technique itself but rather how to apply it. Do I just need to know huge amounts of shapes and be able to string them all together or what?
    "I second-hand smoke two packs of cigarettes a day." -- Jerry Seinfeld

  5. #5
    Registered User Adam_7773's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Hello. Ok, well if you want to play it very fast, I guess learning a huge amount of shapes would be the essential thing, since playing fast is often about playing shapes that have been "programmed" (by you, during practice sessions) into your motor memory. Also, if you want to be able to play in different positions throughout your run, be sure to learn/contruct shapes that take you out of one position ("box") and into another one. This could be done by playing more than three notes per string, or by changing positions by long slides, for an example.

    I also strongly recommend constructing your own sweep shapes right away and look at the various combinations possible. I guess one of the most basic economy picking patterns would be to play a scale, 3 notes per string ascending or descending. But try out different shapes, one possible shape would be to play 3 notes on a string, then one note on the next, then two notes on the next after that to change direction back to the previous string, and so on. Let's say this was a shape that was ascending initially. It would also be possible to play it the other way around, beginning on a higher string, working your way down, and the turning back to ascend, and so on.

  6. #6
    Registered User Revenant's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Talking about "breaking out of box shapes", do you have any other advice than playing 4 notes per string?

    I'm trying many approaches to be able to "see" the scale as an entire projection but my eyes can only see so and so many shapes at the time.
    I've tried playing diagonally, locating arpeggios within the scale...

    Sorry if I'm offtopic, but as we are discussing this I felt it was appropriate to ask this question
    The Young Apprentice

  7. #7
    Registered User Adam_7773's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    I am sure there are many more approaches to breaking out of the box patterns. But here are some that come to mind to me. Here is a short summary:

    1. Use long slides (for an example: play a scale fragment somewhere around the 17th fret and then do a slide from a note on the 17th fret all the way down to maybe the 7th fret or something and play a shape there, and then slide to somewhere else, higher or lower on the neck to continue).

    2. Play more than three notes per string. Play four or more (perhaps the first four or five notes in a scale) notes per string and you will be in a different position than the one you started in.

    3. Play an arpeggio on only one string. This can involve some pretty wide stretches, depending on how you do it. One shape that I use a lot is an augmented shape (frets 11, 15 and 19, for an example), very useful when playing in the whole-tone scale, or if you want to use some "outside" sounds in a major scale or whatever. But if you are new to stretches try playing a major arpeggio on frets 12, 16, and 19. I would use my first finger, middle finger and pinky for these three notes. If you play them in an ascending manner you could easily move your hand up the neck when playing the highest note and you would end up in a position that is several frets higher on the neck than 12th on which you started out. Of course, this also works in a descending manner as well. Playing the highest note first and then moving down the 12th fret or whatever. Try out different types of arpeggios within your scale of choice. Minor, major, diminished, augmented, etc and see where it takes you.

    4. Play a shape in one position then lift your fretting hand fingers and play an open string, then move your hand to another position. If you are playing fast runs, playing the open string would give you some time to move your fretting hand to another position.

    5. Play an arpeggio that involves several fretting hand positions in the same arpeggio shape.

    Of course these are just examples, but feel free to try them out and maybe even combine several of these methods in a long run all over the neck. Also, if you play slower you have more time to move your hand around a lot more between fretting the notes. But the above mentioned techniques are a few that I find useful when playing fast stuff.

    Maybe I should add that I often use these without thinking to much about them, since it is very natural for me. I have never played very much within box patterns and usually think of the scale as all positions combined or the pattern of notes on the whole length (that is, of course, from the open note or first fret all the way up the 24th fret) of a single string at a time. The latter kind of visualization helps a lot when using the approach of playing long slides to connect two patterns that are located on different parts of the neck. This is a technique that Steve Vai uses a lot (check out the beginning of "Erotic nightmares" of the intro to "Here and now").
    Last edited by Adam_7773; 08-12-2007 at 07:19 AM.

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