I have been playing guitars for two years now, and i know my barre chords, my power chords, the minor pentatonic scale, and the major scale, and i can play easy solos, but when i try and sound like i know what im doing, i suck. I would be interested to know if anybody has any tips on developing speed on the fretboard. I know how to alternate pick and things like that, but is there any specific technique i should practice to get faster? i know i have to practice slowly, and i am practicing a good lick, but i haven't moved in speed in like two months. the lick is this...


i just want to know if i will eventually develop speed, or if there is a certain trick involved, or even if there is a different technique i should use.
that's a really simple lick man. i'd hammer on the 15 with my ring finger and then take the ring finger to the 15 on the B string in one fluid motion. make sure you hammer on with your fingertip and not with a flat finger. I cant really think of much to help you for something that simple
also, I would pick upward for the hammer on and then a downpick for the 15 on the B. that might help you
I tend to play scales up, down, left, right, and all over; I improv constantly using whatever scale/pattern my fingers feel like playing, sometimes playing fast, sometimes slow, sometimes with pauses, randomly throwing in HOs/POs, bending, and giving held notes vibrato where I like it.

It may not be the most structured way to improve your playing speed/accuracy, nor has it really helped me "learn the fretboard" (on its own), but in conjunction with everything I've been learning and other warm-ups (as well as playing tabs/etc), I'm slowly but surely developing an intimate understanding of my fretboard and the notes on it.

PS: When I improv, I don't think much about my picking and it shows -- my picking is really lame compared to my fretting, and I'm willing to bet a lot of newer guitarists have the same problem. I really need to sit down and work on my picking.
Last edited by freakstylez at Oct 27, 2009,
start practising your scales getting faster and faster (but still clean, don't speed up is its not clean)

that lick is using just two fingers and no wrist movement. Get something makes you move around a bit more
find steve vai's 10 hour guitar workout scales, practice using a metronome (start in quavers and around 100) everyday but only increase the speed when your left and right hand feel extremely well co-ordinated and the scale is as clean as a whistle.

speed is not something which requires alot of muscle development and is by far the easiest thing to build. People percive speed with effort but actually in my experience the co-ordination of each hand is the only thing you need to build on the its just consant repition from then on. Correct picking is essential and patience!

By the way you never 'build' techinques over time, correct approach allows you to constantly get better. As wise men say 'If you cant get what you want, Change what you are'
imo the best way to improve speed is to stop trying to increase your speed - focus instead on playing everything cleanly and accurately, however slowly it takes to do that, so your picking and fretting hands get better coordinated. At the same time work on eceonomy of motion (eg don't let your fingers move too far from the fretboard, don't use bigger pick movements than you need to...) and you'll find you speed up naturally.

Focus on accuracy and speed will follow. Focus on speed, and the likelihood is you'll just end up playing sloppier.