Speed Buster. Part 2 - Developing Speed And Accuracy

When I first heard of the metronome, I thought it was yet another one of those lousy drum machines which was too difficult to use. I was wrong. Nowadays thanks to the metronome, I get a little faster everyday.

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When I first heard of the metronome, I thought it was yet another one of those lousy drum machines which was too difficult to use. I was wrong. Nowadays thanks to the metronome, I get a little faster everyday. You can play hundreds and hundreds of exercises, but without the metronome you'll never get faster. So how do you use metronome. Well first get one, its there in almost every Yamaha keyboard (if you have one) or else download it from any website. There are hundreds of free ones. Now there is a lot of stuff like 6th note, 8th note, 16th note. But I will go the easy way. Between each beat of the metronome you can play two notes, three notes, four notes- eight notes. If you can play something above that, then you are superman. You can vary the speed say from 40 beats per minute to 200+. But this does not mean that you will set the metronome to 240 bpm and play 1 note per time interval! Its much more complicated than that.
Exercise 1 

4 note per beat pattern (16th note pattern in musical terms). 

|------------------------------------------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-----------------------------------------------------------------
Ok set your metronome to 40 bmp. In every time interval (beat) you have to play 4 notes. Here you have to play 1 2 3 4. So when you hear the beat play the first note with greater impact, and then the next three at slightly lesser impact. In other words hit 1 loud, this has to be simeltaneously played with the 1st beat. You can play the next three notes with less impact. This takes a little time to get used to. But you\'ll get it after a while. Another important thing, the notes should be played evenly. In other words you should give the same time for every note. Your speed must be constant. When you feel comfortable with 40 bmp, increase it by 5 bmp to 45. This way go till the point you cant get any further. Say you are stuck on 100 bmp. You cant nail it in any way. What do you do? The problem is your finger cant go any faster. Maximum speed. But dont worry, unlike cars your maximum speed can be increased! You can do this in 2 ways. 1) Play at say 80-90 bmp for a while. Take a break. Pickup your guitar the next day you'll find out that you can play 80-90 bmp with a lot of ease. Try 95 bmp, and then take a break. What actually happens here is your fingers get a chance to adjust! 2) Another way- Try playing 100 bmp as hard as you can. It does not matter if you fail to do so. Then go to 95 bmp, it will feel really easy. Then go back to 100, and again back to 95. Do this until you get comfortable with 100. Chromatics are a great way of improving your speed. This is because they are easy, and make use of all 4 fingers. Play this, then play the chromatics at different intervals and ways like 1324, 1423. Beginners will struggle to get to 120 bmp, but those of you who have played for a while should be able to get to 150 bmp. To become a speed maniac try getting to 220. It will take a lion hearted effort. I heard guys like Michael Angelo can hit 250!
Exercise 2 

3 note per pattern 

A Major Scale 
e|--------------------------------7-9-10------------------| 
B|--------------------------7-9-10------------------------| 
G|--------------------6-7-9-------------------------------| 
D|---------------6-7-9------------------------------------| 
A|---------5-7-9------------------------------------------| 
E|---5-7-9------------------------------------------------|
Repeat the things I said above with all three note per pattern scales. You can also do it with pentatonics and other scales with different number of notes per string. But it will be a bit tougher. Its best to do the easy things first. Exercise 3 Once you have mastered these, you can try different stuff. Like 5 note, 6 note or 8 note per beat patterns. Play any exercise you find on the net with the metronome. With perseverance, determination and patience you can one day get as fast as your idol! - Jeeshan Mirza (jeeshan2000@hotmail.com)

62 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    emperor_black
    I bought a Metronome and I was like 'hey I am good, I can play 200 bpm'. After reading this article I now know ! I was playing 1 note per beat. Now I can finally improve. Great lesson man !! Thanks !!
    metalman89
    Are you guys using alternate picking for this? I'm practicing at 50 BPM with all downstrokes. I imagine that at the higher speeds alternate picking is a must.
    Tankengine
    You guys all suck!! i just cracked 230.. its not that hard, just got 2 keep practicing practice practice practice practice practice..... ha ha! thanks though man, really helped..
    OneStruggle89
    i practice about 1 hour before school about 1 hour after school and 45min to 90 mins before bed
    NatDeroxL7
    Its also more helpful if you write out your own scales, all the way up the fretboard, in every key, major. minor harmonic etc, going straight up and down, every other note, arpeggios, string skipping, etc.. This way you learn your music theory while you improve your speed, which will aid sight reading, playing by ear, and writing your own music, and will prevent you from becoming a 1 trick pony playing straight lines of notes
    guitarist10
    Ok i understand that it does increase your speed but i have to ask...do you think your fingers are actually getting faster or just getting used to that exercise...?
    guitarist10
    Ya know what? that last comment i posted...FORGET IT !!! using a metronome really does increase your speed ...I was just wondering if it really helped...now i found a metronome online and IT REALLY DID HELP !!!!! !!!!!thanks a lot for this lesson
    my_epi_SG
    thanx. im always working on my speed but it seems im geting no where. guess ill have to get a metronome.
    niqolaise
    Great lesson. I setted a goal to get atleast 150 for the first exercise .
    aceforce
    this works my fingers were retarded and i could barely do 50 now i can do 70
    micksbiggestfan
    This is a great article. A few things went unmentioned though. What about finger independency? Or individual finger strength or debilitating uncomfortability due to incorrect positioning? Make sure you read up on all of these things before taking this lesson into effect. You could just wind up with more trouble than you started with.
    tobuei
    Ha im glad i haven't been using a metronome for long because i was playing one note per beat
    BMTuga
    lol, use alternate or economy picking, it's hardly doable with all downstrokes... =)
    Alex212
    I practice at least half an hour a day, but if I have have the time I play about one/two hours a day.
    dodee
    damn i can go at a decent speed while going higher ( towards the ground) but not while going back up so if stuff up like 3/4 of the way back... ill just practice some more... anyway thank you so much i know how to use a metronome now!!!!! now i have to get one cuz i dont wanna go to the computer every i wanna use my downloaded one...
    Guitarmanmatt
    man this lesson is awesome i hit 100 in my first night, im new to lead so i kinda shitty but i can do 100 with alternate picking and 170 using hammer on and pull offs
    OnlyIbanez12
    I have a strange feeling that you guys are doing 8th notes. I mean, if your a beginner and you can do 180 with 16th notes, then you're a virtuoso.
    Slavemaster1120
    Hey... I have a question If I have a metronome, that divides the notes. Like... I can chose it to play at 60 BPM ... and subdivide them into 16th notes (4 sub-beats per beat) ... if I play a note per click, with this divided 60 BPM into 16th notes... is it the same as playing it un divided, and just dividing the beat by myself?
    Slavemaster1120
    micksbiggestfan wrote: This is a great article. A few things went unmentioned though. What about finger independency? Or individual finger strength or debilitating uncomfortability due to incorrect positioning? Make sure you read up on all of these things before taking this lesson into effect. You could just wind up with more trouble than you started with.
    The article was about speed and accuracy not finger strength and independence
    Jasonrocker101
    cause this is my first time using a metronome but i hit 216 using alternative picking and 320 using hammer-ons.....
    phyphoestilic
    Jasonrocker101 wrote: cause this is my first time using a metronome but i hit 216 using alternative picking and 320 using hammer-ons.....
    I'm pretty sure you hit your head.
    ChRiSpYGoOdNeSs
    Thank you so much for putting up this lesson. I never thought I'd ever get out of this rut and be able to increase my speed and accuracy so quickly. I never bothered using a metronome in the past because I figured either I was simply not "good enough", or that it would take far too long to make any progress. But this is definitely one lesson that's really paid off. Thanks again buddy
    bigal_85
    i try to practise a few hours, at least 15 mins strength exercises and 30 mins picking ones
    Thendid
    Man thank you.. great lesson! now thanks to you i can pull off 180 and still increasing! s**t, 190 hehe! great, and my thinking of a metronome was like yours
    i thought it was yet another one of those lousy drum machines
    hehe... same her, but now have bought one... i owe you man!!
    IwillDIEat25
    This is the best way to improve your picking speed. Nice job of explaining it! I would also record and make sure all your strokes are even and clean.
    piop
    i never knew how to use a metronome before but now i do, and ive managed 208 with the pentonic scale it was on 2 beats though i dont know if that makes it slower! o well if it does!
    piop
    i never knew how to use a metronome before but now i can! lol i managed to do the pentonic at 208bpm it was on 2 beats per string, i dont know if that makes it slower but hey.... .... at least i can use a metronome now!
    mledwards34
    I've used a few metronomes online or downloadable and they've all been slightly innaccurate, apart form this one: http://www.metronomeonline.com/ Oh and here's Michael Angelo :-D
    h=michael%20angelo He's crazy! I've only just hit 4 notes per beat at 100. Bah.