Speed Made Simple My Way

author: angryskykitten date: 10/13/2008 category: guitar techniques
rating: 3.4 / votes: 70 


Hello and welcome to the simple guide to improving your speed. I'm not guarenteeing that in one week you shall be shredding faster than ritchie blackmore, or triple your speed. what I am saying is this worked for me, so why can't it work for you! Everyone here at UG is obsessed with being able to play faster and better. whether your inspiration is guns 'n' roses, deep purple, hendrix, dragonforce or queen, everyone wants to be able to play well and/or fast. The way I got faster, although not be tremendous amounts, was a bit of a faff and kind of annoying sometimes, but when I had finished after a couple of days... I realised I wasn't all too bad anymore! Bear with me. wheres the harm in trying.


Mettallica, System of a Down, Guns 'n' Roses, AC/DC. Each of these bands (and doubtless many more) downtune their guitars for much of their music. why? because it is easier to play faster, get your pinch harmonics sounding, and all in all getting a much more GHHHNN! kinda sound. The loose-ish strings mean you can move your fingers around faster and not have to press down so hard in order to get your note sounding clearer. Queen guitarist, the living legend that is Brian May, uses a lot of funky finger work in order to get more notes into a single bar. He does not pick half of his notes, instead he lets his left hand middle finger do most of the work.

The Lesson

Step 1 - Okay dokey. this first part may sound obvious to one and all, but for those who don't know: tremelo pick your notes. that means: downstrokes and upstrokes. Step 2 - Hammer ons, pull offs and slides. This too may seem obvious, but it is magic once you get it right. Between certain notes, rather than just playing (for example) 4 notes per bar (4-4 time), add little extra hammer ons and stuff in to make it more interesting. not only does this improve the sound, it also makes the music sound faster and much more interesting! Observe:
a normal, boring guitar bar.
Pretty boring eh? Lets liven it up.
Getting better... Just a bit more:
h-hammer on p-pull of \-downward slide That's more like it! Hammer ons are the easiest way vary a piece of music and to add in little extra fast bits that sound, frankly, great! Experiement with those little extras. sometimes they sound good and really help a piece, but beware! Sometimes, they sound as though your trying too hard. the trick is, dont over do it! (unless your in a band called Dragonforce who just show off all the time) Step 3 - This is a long term kind of thing. tune each string of your guitar UP by one fret. yup, it sounds wierd and youll have a hell of a time tuning it back, but it may just well be worth it. mess around with this new tuning. remember when i said about down tuning your guitar to make it easier? well, for now, do the opposite, to make it harder because then, it will all pay off. you shall get so used to using tighter, harder to play on strings that as soon as you downtune again, youll find it so much easier and never want to go back to difficult tuning ever again because you know what it's like. Of course, you may prefer the higher tuning with the strained sound and higher notes. Choose whatever you want. And, handily, this leads into... Step 4 - Downtune each string. AC/DC, Guns 'n' roses etc use this and it makes it miles easier to play faster, as i explained above. plus, you now have access to lower, more brutal notes and chords, and you can still get back to high pitches simply by bending (pulling the strings sideways across the fretboard whilst playing) to go one or two notes higher. Step 3 and step 4 work together well. up tune your guitar for a week, then downtune. you should notice some difference (it's just getting use to the new pitch from each chord etc that takes some getting used to) And finally, step 5 - thank you for bearing with me thus far, but i feel many of you shall reject this idea as random prattling, but... Step 5 - use a sixpence. or a five pence peice. this is unusual, but it is harder to play like this, getting use to a compltely stiff item as a plectrum. some people may prefer it like this, but for those who don't, use the sixpence (or fivepence) for a while, then return to the size pick comfortable to you. improved playing! same reasoning as uptuning.

Outro And Acknowledgements

Thank you very much for reading and possibly using my lesson here at UG. It was my first of what I hope to be many (my others shall be better than this one, I promise). feedback welcomed and criticisms accepted... but please, don't get too fired up if this fails. like I said: it worked for me. Thank you very much once again. video lessons could well follow... And if all else fails: be kind to your loved ones and practice. It sounds bad, but its true. But dont force yourself. Never force yourself. One more thing. If you really wanna cheat and sound double your speed, set delay to half a note. Doubles speed instantly, even if it is a smokescreen! Live Long, Rock Hard And Enjoy!
More angryskykitten lessons:
+ Stage Presence For Beginners 06/13/2011
+ Lyrics My Way Songwriting & Lyrics 04/07/2009
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