Let me give you an idea of what I’ll work on with a student in order to help them develop fast picking ability.⁠

Technique is an integral part of fast playing. Speed comes from efficiency and efficiency comes from technique.⁠

The fretting technique required to play fast is:

Fingers close to the strings.
Thumb in the back of the neck inline with the 2nd finger.
Fingers straight in relation to the frets.
Fingers curved at the knuckles and the distal joints.

The picking technique required to play fast is:

Hold your pick on an angle to the strings.
Pick in a straight line between the pick ups.
Keep your pick close to the strings.
Brace the guitar with your forearm and your palm on the bridge.

Working with a Metronome
Working with a metronome is a great way to develop fast playing that’s steady and smooth and to track your progress.⁠

Depending on the student or the scale or lick we’re working on, I’ll start them off with 8th notes or 8th note triplets at a slow to medium tempo and work up from there.⁠

In some cases, I might even start them off with quarter notes.⁠

Earlier I wrote that speed comes from efficiency and efficiency comes from technique. Well speed also comes from something else – comfort.⁠

The only way to get comfortable with something is to practice it. A lot.⁠

Building speed requires a lot of practice, I’m not going to lie.⁠

If you’re interested in building speed, you need to understand it’s going to require consistent quality practice for a good amount of time.⁠

Understanding Improvement Isn’t Linear⁠
When you’re putting in the work, it’s common to expect steady linear improvement.⁠

But this isn’t necessarily the case, especially when building speed.⁠

Instead of experiencing improvement where you steadily improve day by day and take your speed up on the metronome week by week, speed building improvement can look a lot more like this:

Week 1 – Take the speed up.
Week 2 – Take the speed up.
Week 3 – Stay on the same speed.
Week 4 – Stay on the same speed.
Week 5 – Take the speed up.
Week 6 – Start to develop dead notes.
Week 7 – Take the speed down.
Week 8 – Take the speed up. 

Rock Guitar Lessons