Learn How To Play Fast & Clean On Guitar Using Efficient Guitar Picking Technique
It's very difficult to play guitar clean at fast speeds unless you use efficient picking technique. This means minimizing the amount of movement you make while transferring from one string to the next. Good news is, it's easy to make your guitar picking technique more efficient by simply observing how it's done.
Watch the guitar video below to find out how to do it and make your fast guitar playing more clean in less than 2 minutes:
Click on the video to begin watching it.
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Why There Is No Secret To Developing Fast And Clean Guitar Playing
It’s commonly thought that becoming a faster and cleaner guitarist requires discovering some kind of secret. Wrong... there are no secrets when it comes to improving speed and accuracy.
Here’s the reality: you become a fast and clean guitarist by having solid guitar playing technique. When you focus on detail, speed and accuracy develop. When you don’t, your playing becomes sloppy when you try to play at faster speeds.
Here are a few ways to spot flaws in your guitar playing technique:
Your Picking Is Ineffective
A lot of guitarists use ineffective picking that wastes movement and makes their playing sloppy at fast speeds.
This commonly occurs from using alternate picking exclusively (while neglecting directional or sweep picking where appropriate). This is noticeable in your guitar playing when you miss notes as you begin to play faster.
You Aren’t Muting Unplayed Strings Properly
A common sign of sloppy guitar playing is having tons of unwanted string noise ring out.
Getting rid of this noise takes the use of both hands.
To get rid of string noise using your picking hand, use your thumb to mute the strings below the one you’re playing. To get rid of noise using your fretting hand, use the edge of your pointer finger to mute strings above the one you’re playing.
For the very best result, use any available fingers on your picking hand to lightly mute strings above the one you are currently playing. When you do all of this correctly, it makes it impossible for unwanted string noise to ring out.
Your Hands Are Out Of Sync
To play a note perfectly, you must strike the string at the exact moment your finger frets it. When one hand is out of sync with the other, the note does not sound clearly and sounds sloppy.
One way to strengthen your two hand synchronization is to practice the item you are working on by double picking each note. This strengthens your technique by forcing you to articulate every note you play.
Don't Make This False Assumption As A Guitar Player
It’s hard to get better on guitar when you focus on what to do instead of what not to do.
This issue is what sends you down the wrong road and can slow your progress for many years.
When you question your premises as a guitarist you open the door to becoming a better player. The following scenario proves this point:
It’s common for guitar players to use alternate picking as their only picking technique. This works for them in some cases, but eventually causes problems when they try to play at faster speeds.
For example, using strict alternate picking to play a basic 5 note per string scale requires unnecessary and inefficient movement that makes fast with accuracy very difficult.
When faced with the mistakes and sloppy playing that come from this, most guitarists begin looking for ways to improve their alternate picking (looking for what to do). This results in never really fixing their issues and not understanding why they have become stuck in their playing.
To make progress in this situation, you need to look for what NOT to do. In this case, alternate picking is causing the problems that need to be fixed. This means the premise of “I need to improve my alternate picking” is false to begin with.
Identifying this helps you understand what not to do. This opens the door to learning new ways to solve your problems. The solution is to use directional picking. Directional picking is the most efficient picking technique in guitar playing.
This eliminates excess motion in your picking movement by finding the shortest path from one note to the next (whether it’s by using alternate picking or sweep picking). Using this technique makes fast guitar playing feel easy and effortless.
There are tons of situations like the one above where you might take the wrong premise and slow down your progress. Avoid this by working together with a great guitar teacher who helps you see when you are on the wrong path and steers you in the right direction.
What Stops You From Getting Better While Learning Guitar On Your Own
Guitarists who learn on their own often don’t know what they need to focus on to get better. This problem keeps you from making fast progress because you are more likely to focus on the wrong things.
Below are just a few examples of ways self-taught players focus on the wrong things.
Make sure you aren’t making the same mistakes:
Looking For New Exercises When You Don’t Get Results From Your Practice
Many guitar players look for exercises instead of making sure their guitar practice strategies are effective. This causes them to become overwhelmed when they pile on as many exercises, tabs or licks they can find... and still don’t get any results.
You save tons of time and reach your musical goals faster by using effective guitar practice strategies. Working with an experienced guitar teacher is the best way to create an effective guitar practice strategy.
This helps you understand exactly what, when and how to practice to get the best results.
Not Consistently Tracking Guitar Playing Progress
It’s a commonly thought that learning new things means making progress.
However, there is much more to it than this. Making significant progress in your guitar playing requires correcting your mistakes and strengthening your weaknesses. This keeps weak areas of your playing from holding you back.
Tracking your progress on guitar each week helps you do this as effectively as possible. When you track and measure every aspect of your guitar playing, you find many things to improve that you never noticed before.
Correcting these things helps you make much more progress than simply playing a new lick, scale or technique.
Thinking That Getting Better Requires Practicing A Lot More
Many guitar players think that they can’t become great unless they spend a lot of time practicing. This leads them to practice for many hours every day.
Some guitarists even feel like there is no point in practicing at all if they can’t practice many hours each day. However, this entire premise is flawed to begin with. Getting better at guitar is based on using high quality practice approaches, not simply practicing more.
You can make infinitely more progress on guitar practicing effectively for half an hour a day than someone who practices ineffectively for 5 hours a day.
Exactly like these guitar students of mine did:
“I just love guitar lessons with Tom, he literally takes the time to make a specific lesson plan and sends you lessons as you need it.”
My last lesson I took with a local guitar teacher before joining Tom, I was struggling with a sweep picking pattern, which was the 5 string root major, I was really struggling to get the rolling technique down. I took it to my guitar teacher and I was like “Help me with this, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.” This is his exact phrase: “At high speeds, it doesn’t really matter if you can play it clean or not, no one can hear it anyway.” At that point, I was just like, “Ah man.” But thankfully, in that same message, he mentioned Tom’s name. Then the doors opened. That very night, I went home and looked at every single lesson Tom had, had my guitar in hand, every YouTube lesson on you know “correct motions”, “play this over chords”... just applied it instantly, and it was instant results within an hour... just from his free stuff. I was like, oh man, I’ve got to do lessons with this guy.
I remember when I first started out with lessons, I instantly jumped on the forum to greet myself, and it’s amazing how there’s like 30 responses. Just like, “Hi welcome.” and stuff... “Hi Dan, great musical tastes”. That made me feel really at home and welcomed into Tom’s forum and community. Every time I’ve had an issue when I was first starting out be it like theory or technique, there’s always been someone there who’s helped. Otherwise it could’ve been this potentially awkward process where I’d have to wait a whole week to get an answer from my teacher, who even then may not have answered it correctly and may have never solved it. Whereas there are guys on there who have been with Tom and have been through exactly what I’ve been through. They know exactly how to help, in what order, what information you need... it’s just a friendly atmosphere really.
Dan Mayhew, Stowmarket, UK
“July of 2012, I had been managing in a retail store and was kind of reaching this point where I was really getting frustrated because I had been struggling to progress in my guitar playing. I had this mindset that I had to teach myself everything... you know and the best players are all self taught and stuff like that...”
...and I remembered Tom Hess from that book, and I said “You know, it’s time to look this guy up and see what he’s all about.” And it didn’t take me very long to figure out that this is the kind of person that I needed to get on board with.
My playing has definitely improved technique-wise, but probably the most important change I have experienced is just in my overall mindset as a player and as a practicing musician. I just feel like I have a much better frame of mind and a much better idea of where I am going and where my guitar practicing is taking me. Whereas before I just felt like I had to practice everything and I had a whole bunch of stuff going on. It’s a lot more focused now.
Being in the environment that Tom has created with his other students is incredibly motivating. I had always been in my own little shell, kind of just stayed on my own. Coming out here... like when I came out here last year was a big step out of my comfort zone. Getting around all these other musicians... it’s unbelievable how great some of these guys are, not just as players, but as people.
Andrew Tintle, Richmond, California USA
“I had problems with physical playing. I couldn’t hold the pick, I was struggling a lot, there was frustration for like years. I started out looking for a YouTube solution, maybe someone knows how to angle the pick or build up speed and accidentally ran into Tom.”
The video wasn’t about playing, he only had a conversation. I listened up to him. I saw that Tom made a lot of sense in his speech, and I got interested. I went to his site, started looking at what he offered, got very interested, filled out the form, got my first lesson, started building up myself and started getting more results than I was getting before when I was self taught. It was an amazing experience that opened up so many doors, and still there are so many doors to open.
The material is specifically done for your individual needs, to reach your goals. You can always put up new goals. You can have feedback on your playing, see your weak areas and strong areas. Tom cares a lot about his students. He always reviews and watches how I am progressing so we can review material, step by step. Not skipping the steps. He is paying attention to it, and that’s what I like about it. I last felt this kind of motivation when I was 13 and starting out with a band, now I’m feeling the same fire and passion. There are students who are more advanced, more knowledgeable and have more experience. Instead of feeling jealous, I feel much more motivated to push myself further.
Freddy Kuiva, Estonia
I can help you get the same results as these great students of mine, so you can start playing guitar the way you've always wanted. To begin, click the green "Start Now" button below.