Hi guys
I generally play quite slow bluesy solos, and I've always avoided speed exercises, because fast soloing has never been my thing. But, recently, I've realised how often my idols play slow licks, before blasting into a fast run, then back into the slow (Slash does it, Buddy Guy takes it to the extreme, etc.).

Unfortunately, I just don't seem to have the technique to manage that sort of thing - if I do play fast passages, it always loses the melody, the expressivity, and it just sounds bad, and messy.

So, I've tried to play some chromatic runs (you know, four notes per string, up and down) and scales, over and over again, with not much effect.
Today, I tried to use the metronome, but had trouble finding a beat, and did not see much effect.

So, I ask you for help!

How can I use the metronome more effectively? Bearing in mind I have very little patience for repetitive practicing

Are there songs that help with this sort of thing? What I've been trying, is playing along with Guns N Roses solos where there are those fast licks, but I haven't been able to incorporate them into my playing...

If you read the first link in my sig (it's the sticky at the top of this forum that asks you quite explicitly to read it), you'll get a pretty good idea of how to "get faster".
Well if you want to play fast then your gonna have to do repetitve practicing. There are no short cuts. But just because its repetitive doesn't mean its boring. When you get the rewards its all worth it.
Check my article here http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/general_music/to_practice_or_not_to_practice.html

It deals with the misconceptions people have about practicing
You need to actually fix your technique i'd say if it ain't correct. Cause at low speeds you can kind of wing it and use a lot of tension and you'd still be able to play, albeit a lot less efficiently though.

I suggest slow/zero bpm practise. Play like 1 note every 2 seconds for a start and work on finger independence and dexterity. Those are the 2 most important things you can base all other techniques on. And the picking technique for your right hand. Once you feel happy with your technique at such a slow speed slowly begin pushing your speed while watching your technique. If you feel you can't keep up that's ok. Just have fun playing at the max speed you can manage. Come back the next day and continue and i assure you, you'll cross your barrier.

And as for what to play. Anything really. Songs, exercises, licks ( good time to learn a ton of licks that you can use once you speed up ), anything that uses your fingers and makes you work them. I'd stay away from bending while slow practising though. Cause in the beginning get your alternate picking down, then legato maybe and then bends. Cause when your fingers don't have independence and strength and you bend, you'll tend to tense up without knowing.

And always remember to keep your fingers real close to the strings. Max gap of 1-1.5
centimeters. It just helps your muscles program in don't go too far from the strings. And don't move your fingers off the string. Just push down to sound a note and relax your finger so that i comes back to the start position. Rather than lift it off the string.
Just take it slow and relaxed and speed will come as you improve your technique...

Slow practise ain't more about speed but more of programming your system to play in a particular way. In this case, with good technique and minimal effort. Hope that helped, and if you have any questions feel free to ask
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Last edited by X-Boy at Nov 13, 2008,