Common Guitar Technique Flaw That Causes Sloppy Guitar Playing (And How To Fix It)

by Tom Hess

Your picking hand articulation determines how well your hands stay in sync when you play guitar fast. Many guitarists play with very light pick attack and inconsistent articulation. Some do so intentionally to get their hands to move faster. Others do so without realizing it (more on this below).

Weak pick attack often leads to sloppy playing and loss of control when you approach your maximum speed.

This is why effective 2-hand synchronization exercises always focus on training your pick attack.

Watch how increasing your pick attack makes your guitar playing sound cleaner:

Common Causes Of Weak Pick Attack:

Cause #1: Excess tension in your picking hand (and throughout your body). Most guitarists tense up their picking hand when they try to play faster. This makes your picking motions very small and your pick attack becomes very soft.

Cause #2: Holding the pick too close to the tip. Holding the pick very close makes it impossible to articulate the notes with power. The reverse is also true: digging the pick slightly deeper between strings articulates the notes harder without applying a lot of force.

Note: don’t over exaggerate this. The difference between “holding the pick too close” and “digging the pick slightly deeper” is no more than 1-1.5 mm.

Solutions To Weak Pick Attack:

Learn to control excess tension in your body when you play guitar. This helps you to articulate every note with power and play guitar for a long time without becoming tired.

Practice unplugged for a few minutes and listen for the clarity of each note. If you cannot clearly hear every note you play, you have inconsistencies in your pick attack.

Apply effective 2-hand synchronization practice strategies for guitar. They force your articulation to improve and make your guitar playing sound cleaner at faster tempos.


Tom HessAbout Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He teaches rock guitar lessons online to students from all over the world and conducts instructional live guitar training events attended by musicians from over 50 countries.

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