How To Play Guitar Fast With Much Less Effort Using Directional Picking

Playing guitar fast should NOT be a struggle... it should be easy and effortless! If you struggle to play guitar fast, it's not because you aren't a good player or lack natural talent. You simply need to learn how to use directional picking technique. By learning directional picking, you will combine both alternate picking and sweep picking together to make fast guitar playing smooth and effortless.

Watch the video below and I will show you exactly how to make fast guitar playing easy using directional picking:

Click on the video to begin watching it.

See my other guitar playing videos, available to my YouTube subscribers - follow my channel by clicking the button below:

Question: “Tom Hess, does directional picking technique only work for 3-note-per-string scales? What if I want to play pentatonic scales or other scales that don’t have 3 notes on every string?”

Answer: Directional picking technique works for everything you play. The principle of directional picking is to use the shortest possible path to the next note you need to play. Sometimes the shortest path to your next note is to use alternate picking. Other times, the shortest path is to use sweep picking to change strings and NOT use alternate picking. Integrating both mechanics achieves maximum guitar speed & efficiency with the least amount of effort.

The principle of strict alternate picking is to alternate your pick strokes no matter what…even if doing so forces your hand to make larger and inefficient motions. This forces you to work much harder (and practice a lot longer) to achieve the same amount of guitar speed.

Question: “Tom Hess, why do so many great guitar players use strict alternate picking over directional picking?” 

Answer: Directional picking is a relatively new guitar picking technique. Alternate picking has been around a lot longer. Most guitar players from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000’s did not have anyone to teach them directional picking technique when they were beginners. They developed their guitar speed in spite of the inefficiencies of strict alternate picking… not because it is a superior guitar picking technique. They had to work much harder (and longer) to reach their goals.

Question: “Tom Hess, should I master alternate picking first before doing directional picking?”

Answer: No. Here is why: it makes ZERO sense to practice a guitar technique that is 1. Not as efficient and 2. you will have to unlearn/change later ANYWAY. I don't know about you, but I don't like wasting time learning things twice. It’s far easier and more time efficient to simply make the switch to directional picking - getting all of the advantages that exist in normal alternate picking, without any of its downsides.

Now that you know the best way to practice directional picking and improve your picking speed…

… the next step is to transform the rest of your musical skills and become a true musician instead of just a guitar player.

I can help you with this in my Breakthrough Guitar Lessons. 

Here is how it works: 

First, you fill out a detailed evaluation from telling me about your musical background and everything you want to achieve as a guitar player. (Your short & long-term musical goals.)

This from takes about 20 minutes to complete. 

After you fill it out and become a student – I go to work for you.

I will carefully study your evaluation form and create your personal breakthrough guitar lessons strategy that is specific to you.

Then I create your first lesson based on your lesson strategy.

As soon as I’m done, I will upload your lesson into your student account on and email you letting you know it's ready and waiting for you.

All of this typically takes between 3-5 hours for me to do for you. (Please be patient with me on this part. I want to do as thorough of a job designing your lesson strategy as possible. The better your lesson strategy – the faster you improve. That’s why this process takes time.)

What goes into your 1st lesson?

Exercises, concepts, drills and techniques that begin moving you from where you are as a guitar player today to where you want to be.

Each lesson is a step towards reaching your musical goals. 

In addition, as a guitar student of mine, you also have access to: 

  1. Weekly live video Office Hours. This is where you can ask me anything about guitar playing or music. I'm there to help you – live on video.
  2. Weekly live video training classes. In these classes, I take the hardest guitar playing topics and break them down to make them easy to master. Plus, I get to see you play and answer your questions live on video.
  3. We also do live guitar practice sessions for you, me and my other students. We all practice guitar together and work on things each of us may struggle to practice individually. This helps you to get stuff done and improve more quickly.
  4. If you have questions – email me anytime - day or night. I answer your questions in detail and you always get a detailed reply from me directly.
  5. You can send me recordings of your playing for feedback. In my feedback, I help you diagnose and remove bad habits from your playing and erase all obstacles slowing down your progress.

You also get access to our exclusive community on my students’ forum. There you can get support from my top guitar students – many of whom are now professional guitar teachers themselves. 

Then you begin practicing. You don’t have to practice for hours per day – 30 minutes per day (4-5 times per week) is enough to see results.

All you have to do is follow the steps I lay out for you in your guitar lessons. And keep doing this not just for the 1st lesson, but in all the lessons that follow.

Check out the results my guitar students are achieving:




To get the same results in your guitar playing too, click the “start now” button in the banner below to learn more:

© 2002-2023 Tom Hess Music Corporation