How To Improve Your Guitar Technique And Build Your Guitar Speed

by Tom Hess

To play guitar fast, you must:

Overcoming guitar technique inefficiencies helps you build guitar speed quickly and makes your fast playing sound better. These guitar technique tips make your guitar technique more efficient:

Guitar Technique Tip #1: Reduce Unnecessary Motions In Your Hands

Your hands don’t need to move fast to play guitar fast. You need to make the smallest motions necessary to produce the sound you want to hear. Reducing the distance your hands move results in more speed. It’s much easier to shorten the distance your hands must travel than it is to move your hands faster.

This video shows how to get rid of unnecessary motions in your picking hand:

Question: “Tom Hess, how can I tell the difference between necessary and unnecessary (inefficient) motions in my guitar technique?”


  1. Focus on the sound you want to hear. Your hands must move just enough to play notes with the right amount of articulation and conviction. Any motions (or effort) used beyond that threshold are a waste. Listen carefully to the sound of every note when you practice guitar. The sound you want to hear must guide your guitar technique (not the other way around).
  2. Get feedback from an expert guitar teacher. A great guitar teacher can assess your technique and point out inefficiencies that hold you back.

Guitar Technique Tip #2: Avoid Unnecessary Break In Picking Hand Momentum

Your picking hand has momentum after every note it plays. After playing a downstroke, your pick wants to keep moving towards the floor. After playing an upstroke, your pick wants to move towards the ceiling. Moving the pick in the opposite direction creates a break in momentum.

This video shows how to use momentum to master guitar technique and speed:

Breaks in momentum are unavoidable most of the time...but not all the time. Unnecessary breaks in momentum create guitar technique inefficiencies that limit your guitar speed.

You can use momentum to make (some) string changes much smoother, faster and cleaner.

Directional picking eliminates unnecessary breaks of picking hand momentum. This is one reason why it is a superior technique to strict alternate picking.

Applying these guitar technique tips helps you play guitar fast with less effort.

This guitar speed article helps you master other elements of guitar technique and shred on guitar like a beast.

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