How To Overcome Speed Plateaus In Your Guitar Playing
by Tom Hess
Playing guitar fast and clean requires being able to mentally process the notes your hands are playing. Without this skill, playing fast becomes inconsistent and frustrating – and it can remain this way for years when you aren’t careful!
Here is how to train yourself to process notes at fast speeds and start playing faster than ever:
Don't make the mistake of only practicing at slow speeds and gradually speeding up over time. Training yourself to process notes at fast speeds requires practicing at these speeds too (even if you make mistakes – more below…).
This video demonstrates the concept of practicing at fast speeds to fix mistakes in your playing:
Using the simple practice circuit below fixes the mistakes that are making fast playing difficult for you. Choose any lick you want to work on, break it down into smaller segments (of 3-5 notes) and practice like so:
Step One - Practice one of the segments of the lick at your top speed. After each repetition, insert a moment of rest to process any mistakes you made. Then try to fix them in the next repetition. – 2 minutes
Step Two - Practice in the same manner as step one, only at 10 beats per minute above your top speed. – 2 minutes
Step Three - Repeat both steps with another segment of the lick.
Step Four - Once you’ve practice each segment of the lick, combine them all together and play the entire original lick using the approach of step one (for 2 minutes).
After practicing this circuit several times, it becomes MUCH easier to play the lick you chose fast and clean. However, there are many more ways to quickly improve your speed. Read this article about playing guitar fast to learn how to stop struggling to build your speed.
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