How To Build Lightning Fast Guitar Picking Tremolo Technique

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Why do so many people struggle to play lightning fast guitar picking tremolo technique?

The #1 reason is:

... thinking that moving your hands faster enables you to actually play guitar faster.


Here is the reality:

You already have more than enough speed in your hands to play guitar really fast (I prove it to you below).

Double Your Guitar Speed e-Guide

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What’s holding you back is the distance your pick travels for every note you play on guitar.

And here is the worst part:

Most guitarists assume their guitar picking technique is efficient, when it's not.

They try to move their pick faster and hope that speed will come one day.

Only it doesn't.

So what is the solution?

To make your guitar picking tremolo technique insanely fast, you need to increase the frequency at which your pick strikes the string.

(This is NOT at all the same as moving your hand “faster” - more on this below).

Doing this increases the number of times your pick comes into contact with the string every second.

The result?

Your guitar picking tremolo speed skyrockets!

Watch the video below to see exactly how to do this when you practice speed with guitar picking tremolo technique:

So have we got that straight?

You can literally double your guitar picking tremolo speed by simply cutting your pick attack distance in half.

Not bad, huh?

Now that you understand this concept, here is what else you can do to increase your guitar picking speed.

Rule #1 of improving your guitar picking tremolo technique speed:

LOOK AT your picking hand when you practice your guitar picking tremolo technique!

I know, it's tempting to look at your fretting hand, because that's what you've always done.

But guess what?

If you spend all your guitar picking tremolo technique practice looking at your fretting hand or (even worse) not watching your hands at all, your guitar picking speed will not increase.

To improve your picking speed on guitar, choose an open string to begin your guitar picking tremolo technique practice and go through the steps below:

Step One: Pick continuously using 4 notes per beat (16th notes) at a slow tempo for about 10 seconds (you don’t need to use a metronome for this exercise).

Keep your pick angled towards the head of the guitar (where the tuning pegs are) at about a 30-degree angle. This helps you minimize guitar picking motions without sacrificing dynamics.

Just like this:

  Right Hand Guitar Technique by Tom Hess  

Tip: Use a stiff pick (that doesn't flex) to create more power in your pick attack with less effort.

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Step Two: Now, play about 10% faster and continue picking for another 5-10 seconds.

As you do this, keep watching your picking hand and keep your guitar picking motions just as compact as they were in the previous step.

This ensures that no unnecessary movement is preventing you from gaining speed.

Step Three: Continue increasing the tempo you are picking at while paying close attention to your picking hand and keeping the distance between up/down strokes to a minimum.

As you do this, also pay attention to the following:

  • Don’t sacrifice power and articulation as you shorten the distance in your pick attack. Maintain a high degree of articulation by sticking more of the pick into the string.

    Why is this important?

    It allows you to make small picking motions but still maintain a loud, powerful attack (as opposed to guitar picking technique with the very edge of the pick - limiting your articulation).
  • Your upper arm and picking hand shoulder need to be relaxed when you pick fast. Tensing these muscles makes you tired and more likely to get injured.

    Concentrate on keeping these muscles relaxed as your speed increases.

Continue gradually increasing your speed until you are using guitar picking tremolo technique at the highest speed you can play at. Sustain this speed for 10-15 seconds.

Step Four: Rest your hands for 30 seconds and repeat steps 1-3 several more times (for a total of 15-20 minutes of practice).

But we are not done yet!

To refine your guitar picking tremolo technique even more, alternate between picking open strings and using fretted notes.

This creates different levels of tension on the string and challenges your guitar picking control in different ways). Add this exercise to your guitar practice schedule and work on it on a regular basis to see HUGE results in your guitar picking speed.

IMPORTANT: Don’t limit this concept of shortening the distance while picking to single string tremolo playing only! As demonstrated in the video above, you should also apply this concept to multiple string guitar licks and scales. This integrates your tremolo guitar picking skills with other aspects of your lead guitar playing and improve your overall speed.

Apply the exercise above to the lick below. As you do this, remember to pay close attention to your picking hand to keep your pick attack as compact as possible (while STILL picking the notes with lots of power and volume).

Tremolo Picking Lick Tab


Now that you understand how to build tons of guitar picking tremolo technique speed, realize that this is just ONE aspect of becoming a faster guitar player. To learn more about the other elements that go into building fast guitar speed, check out this guitar speed mini course.

To learn a whole lot more about how to not only build scary guitar speed but also become a highly creative and expressive musician, work together with me by taking online rock and metal guitar lessons.

Learn to combine ripping fast guitar picking tremolo technique with tons of musical emotion and creativity in the very best online guitar lessons.

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