Want to know what element of guitar playing I valued most when I was learning to play?
When I was learning lead guitar I was OBSESSED with playing fast.
I listened a lot to players like Paul Gilbert, Al Di Meola, Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Stump.
All I wanted to do was shred.
I sent Joe stump an email when I was 17 asking him how I can get faster.
He replied by telling me the best way to develop speed in his opinion, is to practice slowly along to a metronome with good technique then build up the speed overtime as your comfort level increases.
Since then, I’ve heard this advice echoed by other notable guitarists and teachers from the rock, metal, classical and jazz worlds.
As far as I’m concerned too, it’s the main way to develop speed.
Sorry online pseudo music educators who claim developing speed is impossible unless you have their secret “formula.” You know who you are.
OK, so there’s a little more to developing speed then working up passages with good technique to a metronome – but that’s a lot of it.
After that, Joe dedicated the rest of his email to telling me to also focus on other areas of my playing like tone, intonation, vibrato, phrasing and bending.
I was a little shocked that one of the fastest guitarists on the planet spent more of his email telling me about the importance of vibrato and phrasing than speed – but it makes so much sense now.
Speed’s great, but there’s nothing worse than a fast guitar player who’s bends are out of tune and who’s vibrato sucks.