For many that love strumming tunes, there’s only one better thing than playing their guitar, and that’s playing their guitar fast. How some rock-stars have butter-fingers may seem difficult to fathom, but with our little breakdown of tips and techniques, you’ll be on your way to being a fast-strummer too.
You know how they say it gets better with practice? Well, it also gets faster with practice. Just like with chefs chopping tomatoes, once you’ve played a tune on the guitar enough times, your hands and fingers know just what to do, and in no time they’re dancing by themselves.
To best achieve this, use a metronome to record the speed at which you play your guitar comfortably. Next, pick a tune you want to master, and play it over and over again over a course of 10 days, gradually increasing the speed and recording the new speed against your previous one. Each day aim for a higher speed. The first few days will see a slow start, but at the end of your 10 days, your speed should be at least double that with which you started.
Pick it Up!
Alternate picking is the most common technique used to help pick up your speed, and it’s easy as peas! This technique economizes hand movements so that you play more notes with less effort and in little time.
To practice this technique, hold the pick between thumb and index finger with the pointed end facing the strings, and alternate your strokes to go down and then up. Play a downstroke first, an upstroke next, then a downstroke, then an upstroke, and so on.
It’s fun to play, that’s what music is all about. Go back and forth on the same tune like children that do not tire of the same game, the same story over and over again. Start slow when you learn a tune and focus on playing it well: cleanly, clearly, comfortably.
Once you’ve got that tune down and know you can play it well, then play it fast. When you cannot play it faster, break it down, see which parts are challenging and play the tune slower. And then get back on that horse and play it faster and faster. Make sure that every time you are playing clearly, and cleanly, and make sure your posture is comfortable and without any tension.
And while you’re doing that, have fun; that’s what it’s like to play.
Tape yourself on video if you can, that way you can rewind and replay to zoom in on areas where you need to improve. Is it your posture? Is it a particular transition in chords? Is it your picking speed? Make notes and work towards improving your performance.
In the absence of video, you can use a sound recorder. You’ll hear it when something sounds off, or slower than other parts. Pay attention to what causes that change in pace. Is it your posture? Then find a more comfortable position. Does the tune get tricky? Then break it down, play it over a few times slowly, progress to higher speeds, and then get on with it at top speed.
Another way to acquire golden feedback is to perform in front of a friendly fellow guitarist. Not only can they point out areas to improve, you will also learn techniques they use to pick up on their speed at playing.
- Play it Again, Sam!
This has be said in many, many ways. Keep practicing. Practice is key. Practice makes perfect. But really, what you want to hear and do is: practice, practice, practice. Practice because you love it, practice because you want to hear that tune again and again, and practice because now you can play it fast and slow, and backwards and forwards – well at least on fast-forward!
So stay tuned and play on!
Now that you have a grasp for these tips and techniques, playing the guitar fast won’t seem like such an improbable task. Remember everyone that got there before, got there by taking these small steps. You can do it too! No waiting necessary. Just pick up your guitar, and pick up your pace!
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Guitar Essentials: A Faster Way to Start Playing Fast
Guitar instructor Robert Baker has some ideas about how to play guitar fast. What’s more, he has some techniques that can help you start playing fast even faster.
In the video lesson below, Baker focuses on three areas that are important to playing faster and more effectively, including muscle memory, pick movement and string crossing.
He begins by showing you A Phrygian and then demonstrating how you can lock the mode into memory with a few simple techniques, such as playing each string twice and using the same fingers when going up and down the scale. Simple, yes, but effective too. “It almost becomes like a lick,” he says as he shreds through it. Via Guitar Player
Fake Shred: This Is How to Play Guitar Super-Fast When You Can’t Shred
YouTube guitar guy Jim Lill is keeping the quality content going with yet another nifty lesson.
This time around, the man offered a simple trick that allows you to play fast guitar even if you can’t “shred.”
As Jim explained, the trick is based on the “three-note-per-string scale.”
He said: “It’s nine notes in total that are grouped in three sets of triplets. It starts off by picking a Three and pulling-off to Two and One [scale degrees, not frets], and then picking Seven and pulling-off to Six and Five, and then picking Six and hammering-on to Seven, and then picking One. Via Ultimate Guitar
How to Get Better at Guitar Fast
Supercharge Your Guitar Chops with Three Simple, Effective, and Scientifically Proven Learning Techniques
Have you ever felt frustrated with your overall musical progress? Have you ever finished a practice session feeling like you just wasted an hour of your life?
Yeah, me too. In fact, most musicians go through periods of frustration because – let’s be honest – mastering the guitar is hard.
But don’t give up on your hopes of finding out how to get better at guitar fast. These simple, effective, and scientifically proven learning techniques can shave years off your learning curve and help you reach your goals faster than an Yngwie Malmsteen arpeggio sweep. (OK, maybe not as fast as Malmsteen, but you’re sure to impress your friends with your rapid-fire progress!) Via Guitar Coach Mag