You already know that mastery of 2 hand synchronization is key to making your fast guitar playing sound awesome. In Part 1 of this article, you learned the main principles behind effectively synchronizing your picking and fretting hands. The next step is to learn 3 main reasons why most guitarists struggle to achieve perfect 2 hand synchronization in their technique (even when they know how to practice for it) and how to overcome these common problems:
Reason #1: You Are Using Lazy Motions In Both Hands When Practicing Guitar Slowly
One of the most common mistakes guitarists make during slow practice is allowing their hands to move in a very slow and lazy way to play notes. This bad habit comes from assuming that slow guitar practice = “moving hands slowly” (these things are NOT the same - more on this below). While moving your hands slowly IS necessary in some situations, when done incorrectly, slow practice can (and often does) severely handicap your 2 hand synchronization. This can happen in 2 ways:
Your pick strikes the string a moment sooner or later than the fretting hand - resulting in a sloppy sound (that isn’t immediately obvious at slow tempos). As a result, your 2 hand synchronization is rarely trained in a direct way and your guitar technique will fall apart as you start to play guitar fast.
- Both hands move sloppily to play the notes, creating lots of noise before and/or after the note. Observe Figure 1 below:
The above diagram shows visually what happens when your hands move in a slow and lazy way to play notes. You can see that instead of a clear note ringing the entire time between pick strokes, there is noise at the start and end of the note (during those moments, your hands are not in sync).
Solution: To improve your 2 hand synchronization, move your hands to play each note quickly, while simultaneously letting each note sustain for a long time. Note: this does NOT mean that you play the whole exercise at a fast tempo! Your hands will move faster for each note, but there will be a lot of space between notes. Look at Figure 2 below:
In the above illustration, you can see the result of playing notes using faster pick attack - there is no sloppy noise before or after the note, leading to much tighter 2 hand synchronization.
Reason #2: You Aren’t Using The Best Picking Technique To Play Guitar Fast
To achieve perfect 2 hand synchronization you must make your guitar playing as efficient as possible. To achieve this, you need to do 2 things:
1. Start using directional picking (if you aren’t already) instead of strict alternate picking.
When you alternate pick, you often have to stop your picking momentum by passing over the string you are going to play and reversing your picking motion. This wastes time, energy and momentum you had from playing the previous note. Your ability to properly sync your fretting and picking hands is destroyed because your picking hand has a LOT more work to do than your fretting hand. This imbalance is easily corrected by using directional picking.
By properly implementing directional picking, you are taking advantage of the momentum your picking hand already has when switching between strings. This makes achieving proper 2 hand synchronization much easier, because your picking hand has to only move ONCE when changing between strings. This is much more efficient and easier than alternate picking and enables you to play guitar fast.
Read this article to learn more reasons why directional picking is, without a doubt, the best picking technique for guitar speed.
2. Learn to keep your guitar picking motions steady and smooth.
Most guitarists have one hand that seems to be more coordinated or faster than the other hand. Typically, the more advanced hand is the fretting hand. When one hand is more advanced than the other, the result is the two hands being horribly out of sync. To fix this imbalance, start focusing on making your guitar picking motions as fluid as possible when changing between strings. For example, when playing a 3-note-per-string scale sequence, you want to make ONE motion with your picking hand when you change strings (WITHOUT stopping in between strings).
Watch this free guitar practice video to learn how to develop proper guitar picking motions in your technique.
Reason #3: You Aren’t Tracking Your Guitar Playing Progress FULLY
The fastest way to improve your 2 hand synchronization is to track your progress with it, in the same way you can track your progress with maximum speed, music theory knowledge or any other element of your guitar playing.
Most guitar players aren’t even aware that it’s possible to track your 2 hand synchronization progress, and even fewer ACTUALLY track it on a regular basis. Those who do, master guitar technique way faster and easier and have a lot more fun playing guitar. To learn the best way to track your guitar playing progress, check out the Guitar Playing Accelerator.
Now that you’ve learned 3 big reasons why you struggle to achieve perfect 2 hand synchronization in your fast guitar playing, the next step for you is to learn ALL the other elements that go into mastering your guitar technique and allow you to play guitar fast. Go to this page right now and learn how to (literally) double your guitar speed.
Learn how to reach ALL your musical goals fully by working with me in my electric guitar lessons online.
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