How to develop speed on guitar

Learn how to play scales and sequences fast and accurately

How to play fast and accurate on guitar? Some tips to help you increase your speed on guitar and accuracy

If you want to increase picking speed on guitar, there is no secrets, you need a lot of practice. Are you disappointed? Don’t worry, there are some guidelines and a software tool to make your guitar practice more effective and fruitful.

Use a clean guitar sound

It’s better to practicing without any effects. Only clean guitar. A big fat guitar distortion can give you the sensation you are running along the fretboard very fast, but distortion hides mistakes and imprecisions; maybe on the stage, in a live situation, this could be good, but here we are talking about guitar practice, that you carry on alone in your room (your neighbours will be happier!)

Try to isolate musical passages in which you fail

You should identify when you fail playing a scale or an arpeggio. For example, if you can play well the first four notes of a scale pattern and always fail on the fifth note, you should focus your practice on the passage from the forth note to the fifth note, forgetting about the previous notes. Once you can play comfortably the passage from the fourth note to the fifth note, you can play the entire scale and verify if you can play the scale well.

Always use a metronome

A rule that you have absolutely to follow, is to use a metronome. Always. Only by using a metronome you can have the impartial judgement of your guitar picking speed progress.

At first, you should identify the speed at you can play a musical sequence comfortably. This is the so-called comfort zone. And this is your starting point. You should be able to play without mistakes or imprecisions, and without efforts. Then you should increase the metronome speed by a little amount, and try to play the sequence at the new speed. The speed increase should be not too big, let’s say 5 or 10 BPM, but it really depends on the kind of musical sequence you’re learning and your skills. If you can play the sequence without too much mistakes, the speed increase is right.

It's like body-building workout: you need to increase the weight you lift of a small amount in the time; if you try to lift a too heavy load, this is completely useless and also dangerous.

Use Fachords Smart Metronome :-)

I developed a software to help people develop guitar speed and accuracy. It’s like a metronome but has an important feature: you can set a start speed AND a target speed. The software will increase gradually beats-per-minute speed, forcing you to play faster. You should set a reasonable speed increase, always remember the body-building workout metaphor.

Example - increase by 10 beats-per-minute

  • start from 100 bpm
  • target speed: 110 bpm
  • exercise duration: 2.00 minutes

If you apply this workflow to every musical sequence you want to learn, such as a scale, an arpeggios, a lick, a riff, and so on, you will develop a marvellous and accurate picking technique.

And you? Do you have any particular strategies for developing speed on guitar?

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