Speed Buster. Part 1 - More Practice

Speed is something which comes to a guitarist with constant practice! Determination and consistency are two things that will get you to your goal. One of the biggest secrets is no secret to a developing guitarist, you have to go up gradaually.

140
Speed is something which comes to a guitarist with constant practice! Determination and consistency are two things that will get you to your goal. Vinnie Moore in his instructional CD said, he had a daily 1 hour routine where all he did was just shred, and play chromatics, and also play patterns, at blazing speeds. One of his biggest secrets is no secret to a developing guitarist, you have to go up gradaually. No one can expect to get upto speeds reached by Michael Angelo at once.

To someone eager to reach high speeds, the metronome should be your best friend. Now there are alternatives to the metronome, but this is the best way. As I have said before consistency and determination is what you need. You should try to create a practice schedule pf your own, let it be 30 mins, or an hour. Its very important. Now what do you do, in this 30-60 mins, this is supposed to be really boring. Repeat chromatics, play them in different patterns and so on. Here are some exercises that you can do in your routine. I found them very useful. You'll say the same thing after doing them. For those of you who dont know! A D refers to a downstroke and U to an upstroke!

Exercise 1

This is for beginners.Dont avoid alternate picking,its a key weapon when it comes to playing fast. The exercise lets you get used toalternate picking. 
D U D U 
|-0--0--0--0--1--1--1--1--2--2--2--2--3--3--3--3-|Repeat till 12
|------------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------------|
Its really helpful especially if you haven't done alternate picking before. After that reverse the pattern, that is Up Down Up Down.

Exercise 2

D U D U 
|------------------------------------------1-2-3-4--5-4-3-2----------------
|----------------------------------1-2-3-4------------------5-4-3-2--------
|--------------------------1-2-3-4----------------------------------5-4-3-2
|------------------1-2-3-4-------------------------------------------------etc
|----------1-2-3-4---------------------------------------------------------
|--1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------------------------------

This is the 4 note chromatic pattern. It's really boring, yet very useful. Play it till the 12th fret. To make this a bit more interesting you can use legato (Hammerons andPull offs), and string skipping. When you use string skipping use your imagination, you can play the 4 note pattern in E String then skip to D, then A to G and so on. 

Exercise 3

D U D 
|-------------------------------1-2-3--4-3-2-------------------------------
|-------------------------1-2-3--------------4-3-2-etc---------------------
|-------------------1-2-3--------------------------------------------------
|-------------1-2-3--------------------------------------------------------
|-------1-2-3--------------------------------------------------------------
|-1-2-3--------------------------------------------------------------------
Now this may seem simple enough. But trust me, its not. Its pretty deifficult to keep the D U D U pattern going. Thats the key to this exercise. Try to play D U D U, until you become absolutely 100% accurate. Use string skipping.

Exercise 4

D U D U 
|-----------------------------------------1-3-2-4---------|
|---------------------------------1-3-2-4---------2-4-3-5-|
|-------------------------1-3-2-4-------------------------|
|-----------------1-3-2-4---------------------------------|
|---------1-3-2-4-----------------------------------------|
|-1-3-2-4-------------------------------------------------|

|-----------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------|
|-2-4-3-5---------------------------------|
|---------2-4-3-5-------------------------|
|-----------------2-4-3-5---------3-5-4-6-|
|-------------------------2-4-3-5---------|

Now this is very very useful! Now instead of using playing 1324, you may also play 1423 or 1324 or anything. Use your imagination. Use string skipping. 

Exercise 5

D U D U 
|-1234----------------------------------------------6789--|
|------2345------------------------------------6789-------|
|-----------3456--------------------------6789------------|
|----------------4567----------------6789-----------------|
|---------------------5678------6789----------------------|
|--------------------------6789---------------------------|


|---------------------------------------------------4321--|
|-8765-----------------------------------------4321-------|
|------7654-------------------------------4321------------|
|-----------6543---------------------4321-----------------|
|----------------5432-----------4321----------------------|
|---------------------4321-4321---------------------------|

Exercises 6 and 7

D D D D 
|-----------------------4-------------------------|
|---------------4-----3---------5---------------6-|
|-------4-----3-----2---------4---------5-----5---|
|-----3-----2-----1---------3---------4-----4-----|
|---2-----1---------------2---------3-----3-------|
|-1-------------------------------2---------------|
UUUU
|-1-------------------------------2---------------|
|---2-----1---------------2---------3-----3-------|
|-----3-----2-----1---------3---------4-----4-----|
|-------4-----3-----2---------4---------5-----5---|
|---------------4-----3---------5---------------6-|
|-----------------------4-------------------------|

These 2 exercises will later help you with sweep picking, treat them with respect, and you will be rewarded. Now before I finish I will provide one more exercise, infactits a pattern. That is you can use it with scales and stuff.Its probably the most common off em all. And as you get faster you'llrealise how often they are used by yourfavourite speed demons. 
D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U 

|---------------------------------|--------------------------------|
|---------------------------------|--------------------------------|
|---------------------------------|--------------------------------|
|---------------------------------|---------5-------5-6----5-6-7---|
|---------5-------5-6-----5-6-7---|-5-6-7-8---6-7-8----7-8-------8-|
|-5-6-7-8---6-7-8-----7-8-------8-|--------------------------------|

|---------------------------------|----------------------------------|
|---------------------------------|---------5-------5-6-----5-6-7----|
|---------5-------5-6-----5-6-7---|-5-6-7-8---6-7-8-----7-8-------8--|
|-5-6-7-8---6-7-8-----7-8-------8-|----------------------------------|
|---------------------------------|----------------------------------|
|---------------------------------|----------------------------------|
Now this is really basic, spend some time with and try using it in your solos- very useful. You should play all the exercises above regularly even though its got the same effect as watching Oprah. But unlike Oprah this helps (no hard feelings n e 1, it's just that the show is boring). Try to make them more interesting by using effects, using variations I. e strike each notes in a different way, vary your speed, use other legato and all.

Now that ends part I, (I don't know whether there will be a Part 2). If you are a beginner, what I would suggest is play each exercise in such a way, that you can play em with your eyes closed. Then use the metronome, and gradually increase your speed that is from 110 to 120. Don't kill yourself by starting off with 150. That's about it! Take care and remember that the metronome is your best friend.

Note: In my 3 years of learning these are some exercises which have improves my playing a lot, I have studied articles, videos and lots of other stuff. If the article looks or is similar to any other on the internet, it's accidental. There is no plagiarism involved.

- Jeeshan Mirza (jeeshan2000@hotmail.com)

114 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    big_daddy5434
    great lesson man this is the same chromatics and techniques that almost all the greats used...like zakk wylde >....ROCK ON!!!
    rhysy_boi
    this was really useful. what do you think i should do to practice palm muting down strokes like in punk music?
    B00bs
    What i did to really strenthen my pinky is when i started playing i was into punk alot more and i played all the power chords with my first, ring, and pinky for the EAD, or ADG strings, and it really helped alot for the chords and solos in the metallica and megadeth songs i learnt later, now im alot more into metal and these patterns help alot with my speed.
    guitarist10
    dragonball wrote: can i do this lesson on an acoustic guitar ?????
    Why not! It might be a little more difficult because of the string size but, nobody says you can't! Plus! The thicker strings mean you can build pinky strength much faster!
    guitarist10
    rhysy_boi : this was really useful. what do you think i should do to practice palm muting down strokes like in punk music?
    Personally I despise punk rock...No offence intended. BUT! I do have an exercise for you, repeat the movement! Seriously! This isn't really that hard of a movement to get down...or, at least not for me. Just stop your palm on the strings... Probably not the best explaination but, the best I could think of this late at night... AWSOME LESSON!!!!!
    metalman89
    Are you guys using alternate picking for this? I'm practicing at 50 BPM right now with all downstrokes.
    valley boy
    badmilk wrote: i have a question...im new to guitar and i was wondering if it matters for excercise two if i used one finger or four or what?
    use all four. it will help with your overall speed alot more than using one finger this was really helpful, thanx alot
    br4vw
    Dude excellent lesson! I really think this will help my playing ALOT
    diegomdth
    very good lesson... but i have problems with the solos.....when i play them... other cords sounds too..... if u know what to do ro make the other cords stop playing..... please cntact me....
    Donkey Fly
    Yer this is good but it's it should be general knowledge anyway. It's giving me some stuff to do atleast. Cheers
    Auals
    It's medal* Trivium Great lesson man, really well done, you helped me realise i automatically play dudududududu when i'm going down strings, even during that 3 fret one i did it without thinking Oh and the guy who said to build pinky strength play wonderwall? Play any song which makes you hold the D on the B string and G on the E string for the chords examples are Wonderwall - Oasis (obviously) Collide - Howie Day Slide - Goo Goo Dolls (i play it held down like that because it gives the song more atmosphere when played acoustically that's 3 for you and they help heaps, i NEVER have trouble with my pinky now, after a gig my pinky never hurts and half my songs that i play use the B-D, E-G, setup Or you can just do these exercises over and over again if you don't want to play "soft" acoustic songs :p: up to you Back on topic, nice lesson man, very well done
    ChipofosheezyYo
    So I'm wondering...is the fact that they're chromatic just busy work or does it actually help you build the speed faster? I was just wondering if like...I just started at the first fret and did a major or blues scale and went all the way down to the 12th fret and back would it have the same affect?
    diegomdth
    very good lesson... but i have problems with the solos.....when i play them... other cords souns too!!.... if u know what to do to make the others cords soud..... please contact me.....
    adominator
    do you...move your finger down the line to different frets or take it off and put it on the fret?
    watrtamamma
    Very good lesson Is it okay to split the practing time? Like to 10 minutes a couple times a day than 30 minutes straight?
    Youth Gone Wild
    vanilla_bear798 wrote: wow this really works been doing this for 3 weeks now and i dnt even realize im alternate picking anymore my hand jus does it now.....best lesson i have seen so far thanks!!
    ALternate picking bacomes second nature after a while and you can't beleive some people can't do it ... i'd liken it to breathing
    vanilla_bear798
    wow this really works been doing this for 3 weeks now and i dnt even realize im alternate picking anymore my hand jus does it now.....best lesson i have seen so far thanks!!
    ABR21
    playing on acoustic and doing it then going to my strat helps so much great lesson thx
    gilles_frehley
    I think econmy picking feels better to :p but I guess not everyone prefers the same picking technique maybe others find the dududud more comfortable when playing 3-notes-per-string-licks
    notoriousnumber
    Hmm, I disagree with the dududud, in other words, strict alternate picking, with regards to playing 3 notes per string. Economy picking, where your hand "glides" to the next string, instead of going over it then back down, is much more effecient, comfurtable and smoother. There will be a whole other lesson for that, probably saying its not that good, but I will say that personally I find it hugely more useful.
    Unded_Metalhead
    wen sweep pikkin is it ok 2 hold da pattern lyk a chrd??or shud u hold each note seperately??? gud lesson btw
    zazazabuza
    This is an excellent article! well presented and easy to do exercises. Nice job mate, this is just what i was looking for.