Sweep-picking is another one of those guitar techniques shrouded in mystery and folklore. One that, while great to have in one’s arsenal, much like hammer-ons is great until it’s overused.
When I was younger, I absolutely refused to play with pedals: stompboxes, distortions, overdrives, boosters: anything that would make your amp go to ’11.’ I simply didn’t want to understand why you should or would use them. “I always chose my amps based on their ability to crunch and the voice of the overdrive, so why bother,” I thought. “Wanna have more distortion? Crank up the gain pot of your amp. Not enough gain? Wrong amp!” It was that simple for me. My turn-around point came somewhere last year. I saw more players use the backline of a venue or the house PA with a bunch of pedals in front of them, and sometimes with a tiny 15 watt tube amp with a nice clean sound. I couldn’t see why that approach had benefits until I borrowed a few pedals to see how that worked. So, let’s take a look at how stompboxes worked for me.