Fast guitar playing is not achieved by learning a single skill. It’s a byproduct of mastering many elements of guitar playing (and technique) and integrating them together. In this post you’ll learn the tips, tricks, and techniques the pros use to increase their guitar playing speed to play guitar faster and cleaner.
In addition, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the fundamental elements to increase your guitar playing speed. The deeper your level of mastery of the fundamentals – the faster (and cleaner) your guitar playing becomes. These four fundamental elements help increase your guitar playing speed:
Guitar speed element #1: Picking/fretting hand biomechanics
You must train your picking hand to move efficiently for each note. Technique biomechanics are not developed from practicing any specific exercise. Instead, they are mastered from paying attention to how your hands move during your guitar practice.
For example, this video shows common guitar technique inefficiencies that hurt your speed (and how to avoid them):
It doesn’t matter if you are naturally right-handed or left-handed. You can learn to play fast regardless of what your dominant hand is. There are, however, many left-handed guitar players who learned to play fast on right-handed guitars.
Tip: practice guitar in front of a mirror (set it up in front of you). As a result, you’ll notice guitar technique inefficiencies you cannot spot simply by looking down at your hand.
Guitar speed element #2: Two-hand synchronization
Synchronization refers to the ability of your hands to move together at the exact same time for each note. You need very specific drills that train your hands to move in sync for each note.
The best way to develop synchronization is with the strategy of exaggerating the difficulty. Create guitar practice exercises that make it harder for your hands to stay in sync. Practicing them makes it easier to keep your hands in sync during normal guitar playing contexts.
This video, for instance, shows how to practice guitar to master two-hand synchronization:
Guitar speed element #3: Excess tension control
Contrary to popular belief, you do need muscle tension to play guitar. However, too much tension cripples your speed and makes playing guitar feel like a struggle.
You must find a balance between relaxing excessive tension in your body and using as much tension as necessary to play powerfully and articulate. This guitar practice article helps you learn to play guitar with just the right amount of tension in your body.
Guitar speed element #4: Metronome practice strategies
The metronome helps you test how well you have mastered guitar playing elements that make speed possible. You must, however, track your progress with the speeds at which you can play your exercises and techniques.
The metronome also helps you stay focused on practicing at a consistent tempo where you can train the right guitar technique habits most effectively.
This video shows examples of proven metronome practice strategies that help your guitar speed:
Additional tip: use a pick that doesn’t flex or bend when you practice to increase speed. Find guitar picks that are at least 1mm in thickness. Flexible picks make it very hard to keep your hands in sync. As the pick flexes after each note, it takes time for it to return back to neutral state for the next note. As a result, this delay disrupts your two-hand synchronization. The faster you play, the more obvious this problem becomes.
Using a stiffer pick makes fast guitar playing feel more effortless.
In conclusion, implementing these four fundamental elements will make your guitar speed improve a lot faster. Looking for guaranteed results to increase your guitar playing speed? Request a free trial lesson at Northville Guitar Lessons. We offer the best guitar classes for adults and kids.
About the author:
Mike Philippov is a rock guitarist & teacher. He also trains guitar players from all over the world how to practice guitar the right way.