How To Play Guitar Fast & Clean By Synchronizing Your Hands Together Like The Teeth Of Two Gears
Playing guitar cleanly at fast speeds requires having excellent two-hand synchronization. When you avoid developing this aspect of your playing you end up with tons of raw speed that is ruined by sloppy mistakes. Good news is, improving your two-hand synchronization isn't too hard - giving you the potential to quickly improve your accuracy at fast speeds.
Watch the video below to learn how to clean up your guitar playing by improving your two-hand synchronization:
Click on the video to begin watching it.
Here are a few more tips on how to get your hands in tight sync when you play guitar:
2-Hand Synchronization Tip #1. Use Double Picking On Your Guitar Licks
As the name implies, what you do is:
Pick every note of your guitar licks two times. Why do this?
Simple: it temporarily makes your synchronization more difficult. That’s because your picking hand has to move two times for every one time your fretting hand finger moves. This makes playing cleanly a real challenge.
However: when you go back to picking notes normally, an interesting thing happens:
You start playing cleaner (and with tighter 2-hand synchronization) than you ever could before.
You can apply this strategy in 2 ways:
- Replace your normal guitar warm up routine with double picking training. Play through your guitar technique exercises using double picking for 10-15 minutes. Feel free to rotate what exercises you use double picking on. (The exact guitar exercises you practice are not important at all for this.) After the warm up time is done, go back to playing guitar as normal.
- Schedule specific time to apply this strategy in your guitar practice schedule. Select specific guitar technique exercises and practice them using double picking.
Bonus tip: you can also do triple picking if you want. This is especially useful if you want to maintain the same pick direction on string changes when you change strings. (For example: on 3-note-per-string scales and arpeggios.)
2-Hand Synchronization Tip #2. Practice On A Single String
One of the best ways to improve synchronization is:
To make it glaringly obvious when your hands are NOT in sync!
And there are few ways better for doing this than playing on one string. That’s because when you play on a single string, your hands have no choice but to be in sync all the time.
On 3-note-per-string scales, your hands can reset their synchronization on each new string (even if you got a bit sloppy on the previous string).
But when you play on a single string, you can’t do that. Your hands are either totally in sync… or you sound really sloppy.
That’s why, single-string guitar licks should be a staple in your 2-hand synchronization practice.
So should “inverting” your picking.
What does it mean to invert your picking?
It means that instead of starting the lick on a downstroke – you sometimes start it on an upstroke.
Here is why: most guitar players are comfortable accenting notes on a downstroke, but struggle to do the same on upstrokes.
Inverting your picking fixes that problem – by forcing you to strengthen a weak area of your guitar technique. When you do, your synchronization becomes tighter automatically.
2-Hand Synchronization Tip #3. Refine Your Pick Attack & Articulation
One of the secrets to having tight synchronization is having a strong pick attack (articulation).
Question: “But Tom Hess, I heard you are supposed to practice guitar picking with little tension. Should you use light articulation on your guitar exercise?”
Answer: Not at all. It’s true that you should avoid excess tension when practicing guitar picking licks (and all guitar exercises).
However: if you use weak pick attack, it makes it harder to keep your hands in sync when you push your guitar speed on your guitar picking licks.
One of the keys to making your guitar picking sound good is dynamics. And dynamics come from powerful pick attack.
Here are some ways to improve your guitar picking articulation:
- dip your guitar pick deeper into the string trench when you play guitar exercises. This helps to make the notes of your guitar picking licks louder without hitting the strings any harder.
Also, don’t try to build guitar speed by picking with the very tip of the guitar pick (as some people recommend). This way of practicing guitar picking hurts articulation and synchronization.
- angle your pick 30 degrees as you play your guitar picking licks. This helps your pick to slice through the strings, boosts your guitar speed and makes your picking speed sound good. (That’s because the pick now slices through the strings giving your guitar picking licks better tone.)
- keep pick tilt neutral (on all guitar exercises). Don’t tilt the pick up or down as you play your guitar picking licks. Here is why: when you tilt the pick in either direction, it makes one pick stroke easier to do and another pick stroke harder to do. This makes your picking speed sound sloppy.
- practice your guitar picking licks unplugged. What you do is: turn your amp off and play your guitar picking licks with loud pick attack.
Be prepared to reduce your guitar speed for this (that is totally normal). But the upside is: your guitar exercises will feel much easier to play when you turn distortion back on.
- practice varying your articulation while keeping fretting hand relaxed. One of the challenges with using strong guitar picking articulation is relaxing your fretting hand. To practice this, repeat any guitar picking lick over and over and change your guitar picking power from soft to medium to maximum attack.
But as you do this, focus on keeping your fretting hand relaxed.
You may also need to lower your guitar speed for this at first. But after you master this skill, your fast guitar picking will feel effortless.
Now that you know how to tighten up your 2-hand synchronization, the next step is to transform the rest of your guitar playing (your other techniques and musical skills), so you can finally feel like a real musician.
I can help you with this in my Breakthrough Guitar Lessons.
Here is how it works:
You tell me everything about your guitar playing strengths, weaknesses, musical background, and musical goals. I then create your personalized guitar lesson strategy. As you practice your lessons, I give you a ton of feedback to help you master your guitar lessons and reach your musical goals.
Here are the results my guitar students are getting:
To begin getting similar results in your playing, click the green “Start Now” button below.