Question: I’ve never really understood how to pick guitar fast with my right hand. Do I have to feel every note/have control of every note? Some say it is just a motion they do or it’s like a feeling/movement of the right hand. I cannot play fast very cleanly, it is more like I am "galloping" over 4 notes in one "push" with my right hand. I want to play tight and fast in order to have full control of the notes.

Tom Hess's Answer: When you pick in your right hand, you must make your picking motions as efficient as possible. You will use mostly your wrist when staying on one string, and then your arm/elbow to transfer from one string to the next. Watch your hand as you pick to make sure that you are not using any excess motions such as moving the pick too far away from the string after each stroke.

To build your speed, work on being able to consistently balance the pick attack of your up strokes and down strokes. For most guitar players, down strokes are naturally a little more developed than up strokes. This creates an imbalance in the pick attack, and makes it harder to articulate each note clearly as the speed increases.

You can work on this by investing time into strengthening your up strokes during your practice sessions. Set aside about 10-15 minutes each time you practice guitar to play all of your normal practice material using all up strokes. After practicing this way for just a few weeks, you will see HUGE results in both your guitar picking speed and articulation.


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