The Right Way To Pick For Maximum Guitar Speed – Video Tutorial

By Tom Hess

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fast guitar picking speed
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What’s the right way to pick on guitar?

Is it from the elbow?

The wrist?

Or maybe the thumb and index finger?

The answer is not what you probably think.

And knowing “the right way to pick” is only half the battle.

The other half is practicing these motions the right way, so they become part of your technique and make fast playing feel easy.

I took guitar lessons with a great teacher.

It took me years of trial and error to figure out the full story.

But once I did – I finally reached my picking speed goals.

And I’ve since taught it to hundreds of my students to help them pick lightning quick too.

What is it?

Watch this video to find out:

Now that you know the basics of fast picking speed, let’s go deeper. Here is what to focus on as you practice to build speed:

Guitar Picking Speed Tip #1: Look at your picking hand.

start building lightning
fast guitar picking speed
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By submitting your info, you agree to send it to Tom Hess Music Corporation who will process and use it according to their privacy policy.

Where do most guitarists look when they practice?

You got it – their fretting hand.

This hurts your speed in 2 ways:

1. Bad habits in your picking hand are harder to notice. That means you waste time practicing to undo bad habits later.

2. Your picking motions become dependent on your fretting hand. That means: your pick only knows how to move when your fretting hand is playing notes.

This makes your playing feel much harder than it should (and playing fast becomes nearly impossible).

Watch this video to learn more about this problem and see how to easily fix it:

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Guitar Picking Speed Tip #2: Make your picking motions more efficient.

The simplest way to increase your picking speed is…

… to reduce the distance your pick travels for each note.

Think about it: if you cut the distance your pick currently makes to play notes in half, what do you think would happen to your top speed?

That’s right…

Your picking speed would DOUBLE.

You read that correctly.

Bottom line: the more efficient you make your picking motions – the faster you play.

Watch this video to see what I mean:

And while we are on the subject of efficiency:

Guitar Picking Speed Tip #3: Use directional picking.

I know some will disagree. But I have to say what I found to be true. So here goes:

Directional picking is simply the best way to pick on guitar. It's easier to learn and is more efficient than alternate picking.

But hold on. Before you send me hate mail - watch the video below. 

It explains why in detail:

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

Answer: Directional picking is a relatively new guitar technique. Alternate picking has been around a lot longer.

This means:

Most guitar players from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000’s did not have anyone to teach them directional picking when they were beginners.

They developed their speed in spite of the inefficiencies of strict alternate picking… not because it is a better technique. They had to work much harder (and longer) to reach their goals.

But you don’t have to.

The sooner you start using directional picking, the faster you’ll play the guitar solos and licks you only wish you could play right now.

How To Master Directional Picking

Guitar Picking Speed Tip #4: Sharpen your articulation.

Want to know the secret to keeping your hands in sync at higher speeds?

Improve your picking hand articulation.

Here is why it works: it’s impossible to play loud notes with power if your pick attack is weak.

The stronger your articulation – the tighter your hands have to lock in sync.

To improve your articulation – spend some time practicing unplugged. This leaves you no choice but to make your pick attack stronger.

Now that you know how to move your picking hand for maximum speed, where do you go from here?

The next step is to follow a proven guitar speed building method that builds maximum speed in minimum time. Download this free guitar speed eGuide & learn how to pick fast, even if you don’t have a lot of time to practice.


Tom HessAbout 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.

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