#1
I've been playing for about 4 years, and I can't pick fast enough!
Like, i can play some complicated stuff from between the buried and me. and dream theater, but just can't play those fast scale solos. Any tips on how to improve?
It kind of sucks because my friend can play pretty fast so when we play together, you just see him playing some fast picking stuff like six etc, but when i play, im sitting there playing complicated riffs and whatnot that don't seem to impress people except if they've been playing guitar for a while
#2
practice slow and build that coordination.
and also dont play to impress, play because its fun.
#3
Quote by Jedi Pirate
I've been playing for about 4 years, and I can't pick fast enough!
Like, i can play some complicated stuff from between the buried and me. and dream theater, but just can't play those fast scale solos. Any tips on how to improve?
It kind of sucks because my friend can play pretty fast so when we play together, you just see him playing some fast picking stuff like six etc, but when i play, im sitting there playing complicated riffs and whatnot that don't seem to impress people except if they've been playing guitar for a while


Stop chasing speed and slow down to a snail's pace so you can actually work on your technique. You can't improve your speed, you can only improve the things that make up speed like economy of motion and such.
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#4
You need to change your perspective. I think a lot of people who are focusing on speed are just looking at bpm. As soon as they play something on time without hitting wrong notes they increase the bpm. Instead of focusing on bpm you should focus on playing the lick (or phrase, solo, whatever) as relaxed and efficiently as possible. It should feel like cutting through butter with a sharp knife. Only then do you increase bpm.

I think a lot of people grit out something at fast speeds despite all the tension in their hands and think they are ready to increase the speed. If you watch your favorite guitar heroes play faster than you can ever dream of playing you'll notice how unbelievably relaxed they are at those high speeds. This is what you should be trying to achieve.

Also, keep in mind the main factor slowing you down isn't how fast you can move your fingers/hands, but how well your hands are synchronized with each other, and hand synchronization is something you want to work on at slow speeds.
#5
Don't worry about not playing fast cos it's impressive. I'm guessing that you want to play faster because you want to play the type of music you like.

I agree - speed is NOT representative of skill, but if that's what you want to play then go for it.

Start slow, bring play things at a slower rate but keep it together. Then just keep going and bring the tempo up and up. It's a longer way round but gets you there in the end.

Also work on Alternate picking etc, you need to improve the dexterity in the picking hand.
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#6
This has been said before but just to emphasize: Don't worry about speed, worry about getting hours in playing and working on technique. If you have great technique, speed will come.

That being said, if you want a quick (kind of quick) way to get noticable increases in speed try this:

Set aside 2-4 hours for this.
Find a medium-length solo by an artist that you think has the kind of speed you want (that you don't have now).
Learn the solo at half speed.
Play the solo at half speed once, with a metronome.
When you are done, increase the speed of the metronome by 2 bpm.
Play the solo at this speed.
Repeat.
Work up to the speed of the original. If you plateau, decrease the bpm speed by 30% or so and begin the process again.

This is painful and tedious but you'll learn a great deal about your playing (and you'll probably be a little faster).
#7
while starting slow is probably the most important thing... some people have technical issues that may make it difficult to play fast at the outset.

first thing: your grip on the pick should be light, or loose. watch malmsteen or eric johnson play... that's a what a light pick grip looks like. a loose grip on the pick will improve efficiency and tone.

Other than that try to "play into" the guitar when you play. This will happen anyway if you are naturally relaxed. you should not have the sensation that your pick is moving away from the strings after plucking..

these are just a couple of things you can do...


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Last edited by Riffman15 at Jun 14, 2010,
#8
Ah thanks for the tips guys. I know that speed isn't everything. For example, i can play glasgow kiss by petrucci quite fine, up until the part where he starts soloing like a beast. I'll follow these tips, and play it super slow at first.
#9
Quote by Jedi Pirate
Ah thanks for the tips guys. I know that speed isn't everything. For example, i can play glasgow kiss by petrucci quite fine, up until the part where he starts soloing like a beast. I'll follow these tips, and play it super slow at first.


No, you need to play slowly all the time when you're practicing, if you've reached the limit of what pure co-ordination will allow you to do then you need to work on your actual technique and then only way to do that it to play at a speed where you are no longer workking from muscle memory.

Slow down to a point at which you can consciously control your economy of motion and make sure you're relaxed and practice that way. If you're learning a lick or piece of music then do the whole "start slow, speed up" thing but to improve technique you need to maintain the slow speed.
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#11
Ah, so its just basically being as relaxed as possible playing as coordinately as i can, and start from slow and and sped it up when i can play that certain part relaxed and coordinately and control the motion of my picking
#12
Also don't bite off more than you can chew - you can't simply jump to something that's way faster than what you're currently capable of. If there's a big gap between what you can do and what you're trying to learn you're better off aiming for some more achievable short term-goals instead.

If the fastest you can comfortably play (as in "play the guitar", not play one part of one song") is 120bpm you don't then try and play something that's 200bpm...that's not going to work. If 120 is your limit then you need to learn to play at 121bpm, then 122 etc etc.
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#13
No, you need to play slowly all the time when you're practicing...


Whoa, that's a bit drastic.

I'd suggest starting super slow, taking it very gradually to about 80% of your current max speed (as clean and loose as possible), and then repeating that each practice session.


Not to mention that not many people will every pick like Trooch.
#14
Quote by steven seagull
Also don't bite off more than you can chew - you can't simply jump to something that's way faster than what you're currently capable of. If there's a big gap between what you can do and what you're trying to learn you're better off aiming for some more achievable short term-goals instead.

If the fastest you can comfortably play (as in "play the guitar", not play one part of one song") is 120bpm you don't then try and play something that's 200bpm...that's not going to work. If 120 is your limit then you need to learn to play at 121bpm, then 122 etc etc.


You know what? I think I'm actually "biting off more than I can chew" I'm using Petrucci as an example again, I'm trying to learn how to pick fast like him haha. I feel like it's actually pretty stupid. I should take it slower, and learn something thats slower than that, and gradually work my way up to it when I'm comfortable
#15
Use a jazz III.
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#16
Quote by Trey Spruance
Use a jazz III.

+1, I love my Jazz IIIs

But what everybody else said is true. Slow down, don't bite off more than you can chew.
#17
Not everyone has the same skill set. Work to your best performance...That's all you can do.

I get awfully tired of hearing "fast" guitar players who have nothing to say.
#19
Try this sequence of exercises.

First, do chromatic-ish runs on a single string. So, on any string, it would be like..
0-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-5-2-3-4-5-6-etc
1-2-3-5-2-3-4-6-3-4-5-7 etc (good pinky stretch)
1-3-4-5-2-4-5-6-3-5-6-7 etc (stretch between index and middle)
1-3-4-6-2-4-5-7-3-5-6-8 (double stretch)

When doing these, play SLOW (half notes at 80 BPM or so) and concentrate on using just the tip of the pick, keeping it perpendicular to the string, not letting it rise up away from the strings after you pick each note, and moving it left/right just enough to hit the note clearly. That goes for the rest of them too.

Next, we use two strings.
1-2-3-4---------2-3-4-5---------
---------1-2-3-4---------2-3-4-5 etc

You can also do diatonic coils.
-------3-5-7------5-7-9
3-5-7-------5-7-8------ etc

Last, you use all the strings with the typical 1-2-3-4 up each string or some variation.

That ought to help.
#20
You REALLY don't want to pick like Petrucci.
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#21
Second - if I could go back and re-learn guitar, I'd probably copy Paul Gilbert's technique. He makes it look so effortless.
#22
Quote by Benjabenja
You REALLY don't want to pick like Petrucci.


Well I mean I don't want to play exactly the way he does, just at the speed haha
#24
Speed is the consequence of good technique. If you play something a zilion times at 60bpm correctly, upgrading it to a higher speed won´t be a pain in the ass. Also look to increase slowly and the keyis in the right hand. Also try to pick angular to the string rather than parallel, like Paul Gilbert does at one of his videos from Get Out of My Yard. Search for Paul Gilbert Picking in youtube.
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#25
All the exercises in the world won't help you if you have bad picking technique. Freepower has a video on the subject on his youtube account which helps. And if you want pure speed, use as little of the pick as possible, only the very tip. There will be less resistance and you can use a smaller picking motion which takes stress out of your arm as well.


And don't anchor, ever.
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#26
1: You should worry more about melody rather than speed. Speed isn't everything and sometimes can even ruin a song, or can get a bit boring.
2: Metronomes really help alot, just keep playing slow, bump up the speed some, and if you start to mess up, kick it back down. That's what I usually do atleast.
#27
Quote by BlueFuzion101
1: You should worry more about melody rather than speed. Speed isn't everything and sometimes can even ruin a song, or can get a bit boring.


On the other hand if you find you NEED speed to make the piece sound right and you haven't practiced for it what are you going to do?

Either way, this thread is 3 months old, everyone stop posting here.
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