Learn How To Get Rid Of Tension While Playing Guitar Fast For Clean & Accurate Speed
Do you start to feel tension while playing guitar fast in your hands, arms, neck or other areas of your body?
Learning how to get rid of this tension is critical for being able to play guitar fast without struggling. Having excess tension in your body while you play not only slows you down, but it creates mistakes that you must correct in order to play cleanly and accurately.
Good news is:
Getting rid of tension that occurs while playing guitar fast is not difficult to do.
Let me show you exactly what to do so you can start playing guitar with fast, effortless speed just like you want.
Watch this video to learn how to get rid of tension in your body while playing guitar fast:
Click on the video to begin watching it.
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Now you know how to get rid of tension while playing guitar fast. This is great to know, but is only one element of playing guitar fast and clean. Make any fast guitar lick or solo cleaner and better using these tips:
Tip #1: Prioritize Playing Rhythmically Tight
Guitar players often focus on playing fast and with great technique while neglecting the rhythmic aspects of their playing.
This produces guitar playing that sounds a little off beat and amateur.
Don't go down the same path.
Start making tight rhythmic timing a priority in your guitar practice.
What is one way to practice making your guitar playing more rhythmically tight?
I'll tell you:
Step 1: Determine a short guitar lick or section of a guitar lick that you want to play.
Step 2: Find a comfortable tempo to play the lick at using a metronome.
Step 3: Play the guitar lick you chose over the beat and pay attention to any subtle mistakes in your timing such as playing too much in front of or behind the beat. By looking for these mistakes, you train yourself to naturally listen for them whenever you play guitar.
Note: Practice this simple exercise using clean settings or distortion with very few extra effects. Using effects is fun to do, but it also covers up subtle mistakes in your timing and two hand synchronization - This makes it difficult to hear precisely how well your timing is on every note. Make it your goal to make the beat of the metronome disappear underneath the notes you play.
Tip #2: Push Yourself Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
It's common for guitar players to get into habits. Sometimes these are good habits, but often they are habits that come from avoiding mistakes by making things easier.
This can be fun and enjoyable but it can also keep you from getting better for long periods of time.
While playing fast guitar licks, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone helps you gain clean speed much more quickly.
There are many ways to do this but here are some simple ideas for you to try out:
If you play a fast guitar lick or exericse at a specific speed, break the lick into small 2-3 note segments and play them at a much faster speed. This takes you out of your comfort zone while programming you to think at faster speeds.
Double pick all the notes of a given guitar lick you want to work on at a slower speed than what you would normally play the lick at. This locks your hands together in sync and makes playing at the normall speed feel much easier in comparison.
Pick the strings of the guitar with a lot more power than you usually would. This makes the notes sound better and helps you to improve your two-hand synchronization. This is critical for playing fast guitar licks cleanly.
Tip #3: Always Look For Subtle Mistakes You Can Correct
A lot of guitar players become very discouraged when they start making mistakes and avoid them by playing easier licks or by taking shortcuts that keep them from having to deal with their problems.
Rather than doing this, treat mistakes like gold because identifying them tells you what you need to do to get better.
Make sure you listen for mistakes while you are playing at fast speeds.
For instance, when you are playing a scale on a single string and feel your hands becoming out of sync, you must understand things such as which note is causing the break down within the scale and what the underlying causes are of the mistake.
To do that, you need to practice guitar with intense focus.
One way to do this:
As mentioned above, practice by breaking up tough guitar licks into much smaller groups of 2-3 notes. This makes it much easier to process the mistakes your are making.
Another method that will help you play a lick cleaner is to move between fast guitar playing and slower guitar playing for many repetitions. This helps you see the specific areas where your playing is breaking down by challenging your muscle memory to go over the right slow technical motions before playing fast.
Over time, this trains your brain to start giving the correct signals to your fingers so playing guitar fast and clean become second nature.
That said, it is understandable that you may not always know what to focus on or how to go about practicing in order to correct bad habits like playing without tension during fast guitar licks (from the video) or fixing other mistakes that make fast guitar playing sloppy.
Start taking lessons with a guitar teacher.
Learning guitar by yourself makes it easy to start becoming frustrated because you aren't always sure about what you should be doing to get better and overcome your mistakes.
This makes learning guitar feel like a really job sometimes and saps the fun out of the process of getting better.
This is a huge reason why all guitarists should take lessons with an experienced guitar teacher right away if they don't have one already.
Having an experienced guitar teacher is invaluable for helping you make progress when you are are at a plateau in your speed or overall playing, because a teacher like this is successful at getting you to see where you are going wrong, so you are able to fix poor playing habits and get tons of new perspective on playing guitar that you simply would not have thought about on your own.
Not only does this make practicing guitar more enjoyable, it removes the frustration that typically causes guitarists to lose motivation or give up too early. Additionally, you become a much better guitar player in no time.
When you are ready to achieve big things in your guitar playing, I can help you with this in my Breakthrough Guitar Lessons. I have given guitar lessons for multiple decades to thousands of guitar players worldwide and am very proud of the results I have had the opportunity to get for them.
This is what a few of my guitar students had to say about taking guitar lessons:
“Before I took lessons with Tom Hess, I wanted to learn how to do some sweep picking and I also wanted to fill in a few gaps that I thought I might’ve had in my playing. And also I was feeling a little bit frustrated with not knowing where to take my playing. I didn’t really know how to get better. I felt like I reached a plateau, so that’s why I sought out Tom.”
I’ve had a few other guitar teachers before I took lessons with Tom, and most of them weren’t very good. And after reading a few articles online that Tom had written, I could tell that this guy was going to be the teacher for me.
The biggest thing that I really like is the actual guitar lessons themselves. I’m finding that I’m learning new things that I never even considered every single time I get a lesson. Something new to apply to my playing each time. But of course, I really enjoy the forum as well, because thanks to the lessons with Tom, I’ve been able to meet people from all over the world who have similar experiences and similar goals, so that’s been really motivating as well.
Before I took lessons with Tom I really didn’t like improvisation. I knew scales, and I knew kind of how they applied over chord progressions, but I just didn’t like it. Since taking lessons with Tom, some of the lessons are focused on that specific issue, and now I feel really comfortable about getting up in front of people and playing over any type of… in any key any backing track, I feel pretty comfortable doing that.
Tom actually knows what my goals are and gives me specific lessons that will help me achieve those goals. Other teachers that I’ve had before just do it their way… it’s either their way or the highway. And they don’t really care about what I wanted to do, and they didn’t really listen, and they didn’t really look into what I was doing or what my interests were and didn’t really play into that.
It’s really motivating to get to know people who are also students of Tom. It’s really good to have positive-minded musicians around even if I’m just talking to them online, or if I meet them in person, either way it’s still really motivating.
The forum has helped me because I am able to ask any music theory related questions or technique questions and I get those answered very very quickly. And I also like to participate in discussions and help share my knowledge as well with other people, which when I do that I feel that it’s reinforcing the things that I know as well, so it helps with my music theory knowledge when I share as well.
Greg Trotter, Melbourne, Australia
When I started learning from Tom, the main thing that made him different from other teachers was that he was showing me how to excel in all aspects of my guitar playing by applying the skills that I already knew together with the new material that I was learning from him.
He made me aware of both strengths and weaknesses in my playing that I did not even know I had. From there he gave me the knowledge, tools and guidance to literally transform my guitar playing by enabling me to overcome things that were preventing me from becoming a truly creative and self-expressive guitar player. These were the kinds of things that none of my previous guitar teachers and books I studied were able to do for me.
After Tom made me aware of all the things I was missing in my guitar playing and provided me with the strategy and tools for solving them, I began to make very fast progress in all areas of my guitar playing.
I can now write my own music and can create lead guitar solos that I am happy and fulfilled with. I also have the technical skills to confidently and easily play anything that I want to express. I have overcome all of the lead guitar challenges that I struggled with before, and increased my guitar speed to virtuoso levels. More importantly, I have the knowledge and understanding of how to continually improve my guitar playing and musical skills to higher and higher levels to continue expressing myself with my music. Overall, I have definitely transformed in a huge way as a musician and as a person through my lessons with Tom Hess. I am grateful to him for guiding me towards becoming the guitarist I always wanted to be!"
Mike Philippov, Indiana, USA
“Tom was my first guitar teacher ever. I started online guitar lessons a couple of years ago and it’s what I’ve been looking for. Someone who can really help me get what I want.”
Tom really puts it back on me to decide what I want and do what I need to do to get that. That’s what so many people need when they need help - they need to know how to help themselves.
There’s abundant resources. You can always get more information. You can always get more help, especially from other people, other students, members on the forum... Most of all, it’s an opportunity for me to help myself. That’s the goal.
When I pick up something that I haven’t played for a long time with my new technique... wow, it feels different. There are plenty of songs (I’ve always played in a cover band, so I know tons of songs). There are songs I haven’t played for 5, 10, 15, 20 years... and if I pulled them up and played them, they would still feel the same way they did back them. But now, if I pull up and play a song I haven’t played in forever – Oh my God, wow! My hands do this now.
Rob Hiemstra, Toronto, Canada
“You’re dealing with one of the best guitar teachers in the world, maybe the best and you can’t get that just anywhere in the world.”
Tom is so goal focused, and I hadn’t even thought of that, it changed the way I thought of things. Tom makes you come up with musical goals and works towards fulfilling those goals. You have something to focus on, the lessons are based on meeting those goals. You’re getting better, you can see how you’re getting better and then you build new goals after that. You see the growth and development as opposed to just getting a little better at a certain technique. You’re actually developing.
Mike Larson, Milwaukee, USA
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