How To Practice For Maximum Guitar Speed - Part 4: Avoiding Common Mistakes In Learning To Play Guitar Fast
by Tom Hess
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Have you ever wondered why so many people want to play guitar fast?
The reason is simple:
Playing guitar fast is FUN (and very impressive to hear).
...the faster you can play, the easier it becomes to play at slower speeds without mistakes.
Many people struggle to increase their guitar speed (even if they practice a lot), but some guitarists break through their speed plateaus very quickly.
What is their secret?
- They use very effective guitar speed practice methods (I'll show you what they are in a moment).
- They use guitar speed tricks that make your fast playing sound cleaner and more accurate in just minutes (with little or no practice).
Watch this video to learn one such guitar speed trick that makes your fast playing sound better and cleaner right away:
If you can’t play fast yet, your guitar practice methods may need some improvement. (I’ll show you how in a moment.)
You’ve probably heard people say things like: “start practicing slowly and gradually increase your speed in small increments”.
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This method works well for practicing a lick you’ve just learned, so you can play it up to your current top speed.
Problem is, this strategy doesn't help you to increase your top speed and break through speed plateaus you’ve been stuck at for a long time.
Here are a few reasons why:
1. As you approach your top speed, you focus most of your attention on moving your hands & fingers faster.
However, moving your fingers fast has very little to do with building your speed.
When you focus too much on how fast your fingers are moving, you don’t focus enough on other important elements of your guitar speed.
This turns your practice sessions into impatient attempts to play faster and leaves you really frustrated.
There are 11 guitar playing elements to focus on that cause your speed to increase. Download this free guitar practice checklist to learn what they are and why they help you play faster. (It’s free and you don’t need to enter your email address.)
Print the checklist out and focus on these elements when you practice to build incredible speed.
2. No single guitar practice method will work for you 100% of the time. Different guitar practice methods help you master different elements of your guitar speed.
Question: “But Tom Hess, how can I focus on 11 things at once when I practice guitar? This seems really hard!”
Answer: You don’t need to focus on 11 things all at the same time. You can focus on 1-2 things at a time and rotate what you focus on from day to day.
On Monday you can focus only on finger independence in your fretting hand. On Tuesday you may focus on tension control and picking hand efficiency.
On Wednesday you may focus on controlling excess string noise, etc. Over time you will master all 11 elements and learn to play guitar fast and clean.
Each of these guitar speed components should be practiced in different ways. If you only use one guitar practice strategy all the time, building your speed becomes very hard.
All of your favorite guitar players have used multiple approaches to build their speed to the level it is today. The more practice methods you know, the easier it is to use the right one to overcome your specific guitar technique/speed challenges.
Here are several guidelines to help you improve your guitar speed:
Get Specific About The Problems That Hold You Back From Increasing Your Guitar Speed.
Simply saying "I can't play guitar fast" is NOT specific enough. Being unable to play guitar fast is only a symptom of a more complex problem. Your guitar speed is limited by your level of mastery of guitar technique.
When you learn exactly what holds you back, you can focus your guitar practice on the specific problems that need to be overcome.
Ask an expert guitar teacher to analyze your guitar playing and tell you exactly what is getting in the way of you playing as fast as you want. This is the quickest way to get the clarity you need to improve your speed.
The most common guitar technique elements you might struggle with are picking hand articulation and 2-hand synchronization.
Here is how to master these skills and make your playing faster and more accurate:
Use A Variety Of Practice Strategies For Increasing Your Guitar Speed.
As your guitar playing skill level evolves, so will your specific guitar technique challenges.
What this means for you is:
The practice methods you use at each stage of your guitar playing must also evolve.
There really isn’t a single ultimate guitar practice routine for increasing your speed. Your guitar speed training routines should be tailored to your specific guitar technique & speed challenges.
Download this free guitar speed eGuide to learn proven guitar practice strategies, so you can play guitar as fast as you’ve always wanted.
Practice Integrating Your Guitar Techniques Together, So You Can Easily Play All The Challenging Guitar Licks From Your Favorite Guitar Solos.
Over the years, I’ve taught hundreds of guitarists to become really good players.
What I found is: most guitarists don’t spend enough time learning to integrate their skills together.
Instead, they tend to only focus on one technique at a time. For example, you may practice sweep picking for 15 minutes, then move on to 15 minutes of legato, followed by 15 minutes of 2-hand tapping.
This strategy helps you improve these techniques in isolation, but doesn't help you combine them together, so you can use them in real music. This causes you to make more mistakes when you play and feel less free to express yourself fully in your music.
Fortunately, integrating your guitar techniques is easy and fun (and it helps you create many cool licks). Watch this video to learn how to do it:
You now know the most common reasons why you might struggle to build your guitar speed. The next step is to learn how to practice to break through your speed plateaus and easily play all the hard, complex and fast guitar solos you want. Download this free eGuide to learn how to double your guitar speed and never struggle again to play guitar fast.
To learn more about increasing your guitar speed, read the other articles in this series.
About Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He teaches rock guitar lessons online to students from all over the world and conducts instructional live guitar training events attended by musicians from over 50 countries.
Take your guitar playing speed to the next level fast with online lessons for guitar.