Let’s talk about increasing guitar speed. This is something I’m asked about a lot by students.
Increasing speed requires 3 important elements;
Let’s start with technique.
Technique is likely going to have the biggest impact on speed. If your technique is poor, it will greatly limit how fast you’re going to be able to play.
When it comes to fretting, you need to make sure you’re doing the following things;
- Have your thumb in the back of the neck inline with the 2nd finger.
- Keep your fingers straight in relation to the frets.
- Have your fingers curved at the knuckles and distal joints.
- Keep your fingers close to the strings.
When it comes to picking, this is the technique you need to be doing;
- Angle your pick to the strings.
- Pick in a straight line when ascending and descending.
- Brace the guitar with your forearm not your fingers.
- Use efficient and controlled pick strokes.
When it comes to practice, your practice needs to be good quality. Fumbling through a picking lick while watching TV with your guitar unplugged isn’t going to cut it.
You need focused practice in order to build speed.
When it comes to the practice method of building speed, you’ll hear a lot of different opinions. But when it comes down to it, I think the best approach is the one that has worked for building speed with different instruments for literally 100’s of years;
Start slow, work your way up in a controlled manner and don’t practice faster than your technique can handle.
The next thing you’re going to need is time.
Just like building muscle or increasing your cardio and speed takes time in the fitness world, building speed takes time in the guitar world.
Building speed is a case of incremental growth across a time line.
The amount of quality practice you consistently put in will determine how quickly you reach your goals, but it’s still going to take a good amount of time.