Question: I am sixteen years old and I have been playing guitar for about 3 years now. My speed guitar playing is not where I think it should be. I practice scales and the chromatic caterpillar exercise every day, but I feel like I'm stuck in a rut. What should I do?

Tom Hess's Answer: You will never develop great guitar speed using your current approach. Truth is, the “chromatic guitar speed exercise” you speak of is a complete waste of time - ESPECIALLY if you are practicing it mindlessly, without any real direction or goals. Licks like this are never used in actual music, and won’t help you to play fast in real musical situations. On the other hand, practicing something such as scale sequences will help you learn scale fingerings, visualize the fretboard and build your speed (which can be used for soloing and improvising).

In the end, the best way to quickly build guitar speed is to work together with a guitar teacher who a) understands your specific strengths and weaknesses and b) knows how to teach you several effective speed building strategies that will help you become a faster player in little time.

Download this free guitar speed eBook to learn how you can double your speed while practicing less.

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