Speed Made Simple My Way

As the title suggest, this is a way I found to increase your speed easily. I'm not saying in one week you shall be shredding faster than ritchie blackmore, or triple your speed. What I am saying is this worked for me, so why can't it work for you!

0

Intro

Hello and welcome to the simple guide to improving your speed. I'm not guarenteeing that in one week you shall be shredding faster than ritchie blackmore, or triple your speed. what I am saying is this worked for me, so why can't it work for you! Everyone here at UG is obsessed with being able to play faster and better. whether your inspiration is guns 'n' roses, deep purple, hendrix, dragonforce or queen, everyone wants to be able to play well and/or fast. The way I got faster, although not be tremendous amounts, was a bit of a faff and kind of annoying sometimes, but when I had finished after a couple of days... I realised I wasn't all too bad anymore! Bear with me. wheres the harm in trying.

Info

Mettallica, System of a Down, Guns 'n' Roses, AC/DC. Each of these bands (and doubtless many more) downtune their guitars for much of their music. why? because it is easier to play faster, get your pinch harmonics sounding, and all in all getting a much more GHHHNN! kinda sound. The loose-ish strings mean you can move your fingers around faster and not have to press down so hard in order to get your note sounding clearer. Queen guitarist, the living legend that is Brian May, uses a lot of funky finger work in order to get more notes into a single bar. He does not pick half of his notes, instead he lets his left hand middle finger do most of the work.

The Lesson

Step 1 - Okay dokey. this first part may sound obvious to one and all, but for those who don't know: tremelo pick your notes. that means: downstrokes and upstrokes. Step 2 - Hammer ons, pull offs and slides. This too may seem obvious, but it is magic once you get it right. Between certain notes, rather than just playing (for example) 4 notes per bar (4-4 time), add little extra hammer ons and stuff in to make it more interesting. not only does this improve the sound, it also makes the music sound faster and much more interesting! Observe:
a normal, boring guitar bar.
e--5---------------7---------------
b----------5-----------------------
g--------------------------7-------
d----------------------------------
a----------------------------------
e----------------------------------
Pretty boring eh? Lets liven it up.
e--4h5p4-----------7---------------
b-------5--------------------------
g--------------------------6h7p6h7-
d----------------------------------
a----------------------------------
e----------------------------------
Getting better... Just a bit more:
e--4h5p4--4h5p4h7------------------
b-------5--------------------------
g------------------6-h7-p6h7p6p4h6\
d----------------------------------
a----------------------------------
e----------------------------------
h-hammer on p-pull of \-downward slide That's more like it! Hammer ons are the easiest way vary a piece of music and to add in little extra fast bits that sound, frankly, great! Experiement with those little extras. sometimes they sound good and really help a piece, but beware! Sometimes, they sound as though your trying too hard. the trick is, dont over do it! (unless your in a band called Dragonforce who just show off all the time) Step 3 - This is a long term kind of thing. tune each string of your guitar UP by one fret. yup, it sounds wierd and youll have a hell of a time tuning it back, but it may just well be worth it. mess around with this new tuning. remember when i said about down tuning your guitar to make it easier? well, for now, do the opposite, to make it harder because then, it will all pay off. you shall get so used to using tighter, harder to play on strings that as soon as you downtune again, youll find it so much easier and never want to go back to difficult tuning ever again because you know what it's like. Of course, you may prefer the higher tuning with the strained sound and higher notes. Choose whatever you want. And, handily, this leads into... Step 4 - Downtune each string. AC/DC, Guns 'n' roses etc use this and it makes it miles easier to play faster, as i explained above. plus, you now have access to lower, more brutal notes and chords, and you can still get back to high pitches simply by bending (pulling the strings sideways across the fretboard whilst playing) to go one or two notes higher. Step 3 and step 4 work together well. up tune your guitar for a week, then downtune. you should notice some difference (it's just getting use to the new pitch from each chord etc that takes some getting used to) And finally, step 5 - thank you for bearing with me thus far, but i feel many of you shall reject this idea as random prattling, but... Step 5 - use a sixpence. or a five pence peice. this is unusual, but it is harder to play like this, getting use to a compltely stiff item as a plectrum. some people may prefer it like this, but for those who don't, use the sixpence (or fivepence) for a while, then return to the size pick comfortable to you. improved playing! same reasoning as uptuning.

Outro And Acknowledgements

Thank you very much for reading and possibly using my lesson here at UG. It was my first of what I hope to be many (my others shall be better than this one, I promise). feedback welcomed and criticisms accepted... but please, don't get too fired up if this fails. like I said: it worked for me. Thank you very much once again. video lessons could well follow... And if all else fails: be kind to your loved ones and practice. It sounds bad, but its true. But dont force yourself. Never force yourself. One more thing. If you really wanna cheat and sound double your speed, set delay to half a note. Doubles speed instantly, even if it is a smokescreen! Live Long, Rock Hard And Enjoy!

85 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    muxthebest
    i dont know about you guys but i tremelo pick faster on normally tuned strings
    DOUGLAS D
    ICAN PLAY REAL FAST BUT THE WAY I LEARNED WAS DIFFRENT ..HERES HOW ITS DONE ....I SAT AT A DESK IN GUITAR CLASS .... POSITION YOUR HAND TO WERE YOU HAVE YOUR THUMB ON TOP OF THE DESK , OR KITCHEN TABLE PIECE OF WOOD WHAT EVER ....YOUR BIRD FINGER UNDER THE DESK ...OPEN YOUR HAND FIRM LIKE YOUR TRYING TO PICK UP A BASKETBALL THEN FIRMLY GO UP TOUCH TIP OF BIRD FINGER THEN DOWN TOUCH THE TIP OF YOUR THUMB THEN REPEAT OVER AND OVER FASTER AND FASTER !! DONT USE THE FINGER YOU HOLD YOUR PIC WITH JUST THE BIRD FINGER THEN WHEN YOU PLAY TRY ITS A MORE CONTROLABLE FEEL WHEN YOU SPEED UP ....
    Vin_Gar
    ok... im not gunna mock your spelling or gramatical errors, that's clearly been done enough in other commments... but you really gotta get your facts straight about bands tuning... also, as several people have said, you coulda summed it up in like 2 sentences.. so yeah, if you want to be able to play fast, just practice alot.. try finding the tabs for the songs you love, memorize them, and play them over and over, then you'll gain some muscle memory, and your speed will gradually increase.. i respect the gesture of posting a lesson for beginners, but your leading people in the wrong direction...
    satch_magic
    yeah no offence man, but good speed technique is something that takes time and a lot of practice. Tremolo picking while moving your left hand fast may "Look" somewhat cool, but where's the synchronization? To get both hands synched so that you can pick amazingly fast while actually doing something musical is well worth the practise time. This separates the good from the best.
    vash_08
    DOUGLAS D wrote: ICAN PLAY REAL FAST BUT THE WAY I LEARNED WAS DIFFRENT ..HERES HOW ITS DONE ....I SAT AT A DESK IN GUITAR CLASS .... POSITION YOUR HAND TO WERE YOU HAVE YOUR THUMB ON TOP OF THE DESK , OR KITCHEN TABLE PIECE OF WOOD WHAT EVER ....YOUR BIRD FINGER UNDER THE DESK ...OPEN YOUR HAND FIRM LIKE YOUR TRYING TO PICK UP A BASKETBALL THEN FIRMLY GO UP TOUCH TIP OF BIRD FINGER THEN DOWN TOUCH THE TIP OF YOUR THUMB THEN REPEAT OVER AND OVER FASTER AND FASTER !! DONT USE THE FINGER YOU HOLD YOUR PIC WITH JUST THE BIRD FINGER THEN WHEN YOU PLAY TRY ITS A MORE CONTROLABLE FEEL WHEN YOU SPEED UP ....
    lol wut?
    cml009
    does anyone else but me think its funny that so many people on this site are complete *****s? quit making fun of the guy and make a better lesson if your not happy with what he did. get off the dude's back, its really not the end of the world that he made a sub-par (no offense angryskykitten) lesson. lighten up
    wicked_hobbit
    Damn, all of these harsh comments are unnecessary. This guy does have some points. If you feel it sucks so bad, you have the rating function up there thank you very much. I thought this place was a healthy community for guitarists from all levels. For the author, tightening the guitar strings seems like a neat idea. I tried it after reading this lesson. Feels helpful in making things challenging. But I'm lucky to have a crappy badly set up acoustic guitar lying around. I usually practise on that.
    yaaarp
    I love making things harder and going back to easier things. One thing you could do is get heavy strings and raise your bridge I find it more effective then up-tuning.. But it's also more long term. Also what is a six or five pence piece?
    cyborg_monkey
    ok... this wasnt a good lesson. at all. i mean, how does tuning affect speed? still, give the poor guy some credit, at least he tried. im not saying it was any good, but my god you lot are HARSH. all this has done is put me off ever writing a lesson for fear of being hunted down and killed over a guitar technique.
    Clancy 13
    NeoNoks wrote: worst lesson ever its like "how to look like you are playing fast, but you dont" Metallica plays in E, Eb, and drop C in st anger but METALLICA's greatest albums are in E except this song: the thing that should not be - drop D
    get over youself - st anger was different, so what. go tell a hobo. as for the lesson - pushing hard is good, but not all the time, because you need to be able to walk before run. just change the down tuning bit - metallica and all those bands rarely downtune. good examples would be SLipknot, Lamb of God, Celtic Frost and Marduk
    thelonesoldier
    BigCat-A7X wrote: I think thelonesoldier might need a girlfriend if he has enough time to tear apart a fellow player like that. Thanks angryskykitten for taking the time to share your views about what could help improve speed.
    You're a ****ing idiot. You must need a girlfriend if you have time to comment on my comments. angryskitten must need to go to school if he has time to write an entire lesson. An author must need to sleep and eat if he has time to write a book.
    Regression
    Blakesta600 wrote: This lesson is stupid. You dont have to downtune to play fast. That makes no sense. And there are plenty of guitarists in the world that are amazingly fast and dont downtune. For instance,Edie Van Halen, very fast, tuned differently for the singers David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar but his speed was the same, and there are many guitarists like Steve Dokken, who dont downtune and yet he still plays very fast, along with many other guitarists. How about Joe Satriani, or Phill Keaggy, some of the best and fastest guitarists who also do not downtune. The only way to get faster is to practice, learn scales, and master those scales, and to work on fast picking and fast finger movement. I wonder if the person who wrote this has ever actually played a guitar, or if there one of those people who just kinda act like they play it, but then when it comes down to it really suck? Im guessing the suck part.
    He didn't say you HAVE to downtune to play fast. That's just stupid, it was just a suggestion to allow for more speed. While in some cases downtuning won't help in playing faster, it will make bending easier, and hammer ons easier. I played half a step down for a recital due to the fact I had heavy strings and the piece made heavy use of bending. I would be lying if I said it didn't help. So, maybe you are right in terms of speed, however downtuning can help your playing overall. And it is true that practicing with more tension will improve your speed. Likewise with a high action (which wasn't mentioned sadly, but is along the lines of what is suggested.. make it hard for yourself). Don't be so quick to criticise.
    BigCat-A7X
    I think thelonesoldier might need a girlfriend if he has enough time to tear apart a fellow player like that. Thanks angryskykitten for taking the time to share your views about what could help improve speed.
    6_months_N
    What you should have suggested to the people was to try the practice on an acoustic if they could. I understand the idea of up-tuning for the extra tension.But... your idea was misinterpreted as you "need" to Down-tune to play fast. If you play on thicker strings and get used to that extra tension, when you switch back to the lighter gauge it will seem easier to play fast with hammer-ons and pull-offs. If you didn't know that, your ignorant!! If you still don't understand that, you might be mentally challenged. Overall, a boring lesson, because of it's simplicity, not because of the other comments!
    Irishman94
    A coin? are you serious are you trying to mess up peoples strings just get them to turn the pick sideways and even then its a dumb idea Poor lesson
    Timehbgood
    ^ LOL, what? thought the tune thing was a decent idea. learned the romans used to fight with heavier weapons and armour in training to be more agile on the field, but idk if we can actually transfer that over to guitar.. if people have a problem pressing down hard enough when they try to play fast, sure.
    kingwarlock
    I use a coin all the time, OH NO BUT MY STRINGS!?!?!?!?! well go buy some more you broke sluts. Ask ur mom or take ur dick out of ur dads ass and ask him. "ruin strings" LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL dumass yeah those are pretty hard to come by, better keep those strings in tip top shape.
    kingwarlock
    your all ****ing losers! Good lesson. 10 stars. Keep ur comments to yourself, I know I dont give a **** what you bitches say anyway. Thanks for the lesson man. KEEP EM COMING! Cant please all these little bitches anyways so just let you know someone is getting some positive info out of it. Thanks
    PotatomanDave
    lol yeah for real, its not like the guy got paid to write the post. i constantly try to play harder stuff on my accoustic, i love the feeling of going back to my strat and trying it there with much more ease.... Angryskykitten, please dont let stupid comments stop you from trying to help others
    Dwight Schrute
    DOUGLAS D wrote: ICAN PLAY REAL FAST BUT THE WAY I LEARNED WAS DIFFRENT ..HERES HOW ITS DONE ....I SAT AT A DESK IN GUITAR CLASS .... POSITION YOUR HAND TO WERE YOU HAVE YOUR THUMB ON TOP OF THE DESK , OR KITCHEN TABLE PIECE OF WOOD WHAT EVER ....YOUR BIRD FINGER UNDER THE DESK ...OPEN YOUR HAND FIRM LIKE YOUR TRYING TO PICK UP A BASKETBALL THEN FIRMLY GO UP TOUCH TIP OF BIRD FINGER THEN DOWN TOUCH THE TIP OF YOUR THUMB THEN REPEAT OVER AND OVER FASTER AND FASTER !! DONT USE THE FINGER YOU HOLD YOUR PIC WITH JUST THE BIRD FINGER THEN WHEN YOU PLAY TRY ITS A MORE CONTROLABLE FEEL WHEN YOU SPEED UP ....
    HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA
    angryskykitten
    SpidersWeb (03/02/2009): good man. thanks. Martinw.lang (01/17/2009): that's a comment mate! Totally agree. ValleyBoy: imaginative. Oh, and can you spell patronising? And I would also like to thank the Lone Soldier for his diligent and infatigueable ability to return to the worlds worst guide to comment on my comments which he commented upon about my commenting on his comments (or something like that. I got bored reading it). Oh, I also wonder if he's heard of Dyslexia? BUT: to all you who are open minded about the lesson for BEGINNERS, i'd like to say thanks criticism always welcomed. finally: yaaarp (01/14/2009): A sixpence is old english money. Basically a small coin.
    Thrasher51
    Metallica only downtune on Sad But True, a few songs off ReLoad and Load, Saint Anger, and like two songs on DM that are in Drop D.
    njt5046
    This is a horrible guide. This could cause inexperienced guitar player to ruin their guitars by trying to change tunings around which could cause a lot of problems regarding tension on the neck and depending on the guitar, screwing up the bridge.
    munkyman123
    prayforplagues wrote: Metallica don't downtune... i can play quite alot of Metallica riffs and there all in standard tuning
    yes they do, they use a variety of different tunings
    Just1Guitarist
    DOUGLAS D wrote: ICAN PLAY REAL FAST BUT THE WAY I LEARNED WAS DIFFRENT ..HERES HOW ITS DONE ....I SAT AT A DESK IN GUITAR CLASS .... POSITION YOUR HAND TO WERE YOU HAVE YOUR THUMB ON TOP OF THE DESK , OR KITCHEN TABLE PIECE OF WOOD WHAT EVER ....YOUR BIRD FINGER UNDER THE DESK ...OPEN YOUR HAND FIRM LIKE YOUR TRYING TO PICK UP A BASKETBALL THEN FIRMLY GO UP TOUCH TIP OF BIRD FINGER THEN DOWN TOUCH THE TIP OF YOUR THUMB THEN REPEAT OVER AND OVER FASTER AND FASTER !! DONT USE THE FINGER YOU HOLD YOUR PIC WITH JUST THE BIRD FINGER THEN WHEN YOU PLAY TRY ITS A MORE CONTROLABLE FEEL WHEN YOU SPEED UP ....
    I love it! Bird finger! HAHA! This just sounds dumb.
    djae_punk1
    68 guitarists gave you a final rating of 3.3 out of a possible 10 points... Haha, epic!
    BillR87
    And making it as hard as possible to play then loosening the strings and action later is only gonna teach you bad habits dude if you keep your hands comfortable and relaxed at all times while you practice keeping all exercises in time and tight with the metronome with alittle time and patience your hands will speed up whilst retaining that relaxed state in your hands and solid tight technique trust me it works
    BillR87
    Using a coin to practice is sure as hell not gonna do anything for you except teaching you to play guitar with coins! The only thing that will improve your speed and technique is proper practice and picking exercises appropriate to the technique with a guitar pick downtuning just lowers your guitars tonal range (but it is good for pinch harmonics your right there)
    SpidersWeb
    I saw the title as "Speed made simple MY WAY" and that is what is meant by it. If it helped him out in any way then congrats and he offered his opinion to possibly help out someone else. He loves playing and wants to make it easier for everyone else. Thank you for giving this, if it helps then great, if not then keep you stupid comments to your fuking self. I will give you 11 stars cause its more info or help then alot of these asses have given.
    MangeuDePoutine
    He say to play with a pence, this is absolutely not a good idea. By doing this you will broke your string. The best way to improve speed is by practicing it each day that it.
    TheAdvent
    First of all, Slash would NEVER have allowed Guns N' Roses to play in a Dropped 6th string... Yes, I believe they used Eb standard, but that's all for matters of his Les Paul not being able to handle the Tune-o-matic bridge and the 10 gauge string that he used.. Metallica is all standard.. with the exception of some of St Anger (which blows.. not even considered as music.) AC/DC is standard.. and yes SOAD is dropped D and C. If you REALLY want to learn to play faster, first work on wrist speed and neck speed, after you've learned to switch 5 chords in 5 seconds.. and then work on actual finger strength.. with strength will come speed. And don't bother with 30 minutes a day.. if you really love playing guitar then take it with you wherever you go and jam with better players and learn from them.. And play whenever you want to play, even in the breakroom at work. I'm sure your boss won't mind some good music (no metal) while he's eating a sandwich.
    WashburnWV16G12
    i agree with Vin... i just chose a fast song, learned the tab and practiced and practiced until i was able to play along with it, then chose a faster song and did the same thing. You can't TEACH speed (in my opinion)
    Vin_Gar
    if you wanna improve your speed.. get a metronome and play the same riff faster and faster, it lets ur fingers get used to the faster speeds.
    TheAdvent
    Also, don't play your leads with your fingers an inch of the neck.. play lightly, play with your fingers as close to the strings as possible without interrupting sounds. That's all you can tell someone of how to improve speed and ability.
    BillR87
    This is bullshit the secret to fast plying is relaxation in your fingers and arms not to strain them that just has messy results and also whats with the coin thing? If you do that how the hell will you be able to use a real pick if you never practise with it?!! 0/10 Im afraid
    explorer58
    thelonesoldier wrote: prayforplagues wrote: Metallica don't downtune... i can play quite alot of Metallica riffs and there all in standard tuning My understanding is they play E flat (Eb), a half-step (one fret) lower than standard tuning. I guess it's not an extremely noticable difference.
    no they are in standard for the most part. as far as i know, there is only one metallica song that's downtuned and that's sad but true, in which every string is downtuned by 2 semitones, making it D,A,F,C,G,D. but there could be more, as i don't know every metallica song out there.
    IR0N_MAID3N \m/
    yao151 wrote: Ragoul wrote: wow ease up on the guy..or at least keep your comments to yourself and make a better one lol you may not like what he's saying, but the fundamentals are 100% correct..make it as hard to play as possible, for as long as you can stand it..and when you return to your standard way of playing, it will be easier than before and you'll notice it dramatically. yes there are other ways to do it but don't discredit someone just for trying to help you all. oh and sad but true, hero of the day and almost all of St Anger is down tuned umm yeah.. you actually liked this lesson, and you considered St Anger in a statement about Metallica... you must be quite the guitarist
    how is someones personal opinion affect how well they play the guitar?
    philbertfwog
    Ragoul wrote: wow ease up on the guy..or at least keep your comments to yourself and make a better one lol you may not like what he's saying, but the fundamentals are 100% correct..make it as hard to play as possible, for as long as you can stand it..and when you return to your standard way of playing, it will be easier than before and you'll notice it dramatically. yes there are other ways to do it but don't discredit someone just for trying to help you all.
    The whole thing is 100% WRONG. It's like saying 'you can't play at 80bpm, so try 300bpm, then when you go back to 80bpm, and still suck at it, you'll seem better anyway cause it's not as hard.' Bullshit lesson. 0/10.
    ramm_ty
    thelonesoldier wrote: prayforplagues wrote: Metallica don't downtune... i can play quite alot of Metallica riffs and there all in standard tuning My understanding is they play E flat (Eb), a half-step (one fret) lower than standard tuning. I guess it's not an extremely noticable difference.
    Almost all of Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning, and Master of Puppets is in E Standard. I can think of maybe two exceptions in those 3 albums. And we all know anything after that isn't Metallica.
    yao151
    Ragoul wrote: wow ease up on the guy..or at least keep your comments to yourself and make a better one lol you may not like what he's saying, but the fundamentals are 100% correct..make it as hard to play as possible, for as long as you can stand it..and when you return to your standard way of playing, it will be easier than before and you'll notice it dramatically. yes there are other ways to do it but don't discredit someone just for trying to help you all. oh and sad but true, hero of the day and almost all of St Anger is down tuned
    umm yeah.. you actually liked this lesson, and you considered St Anger in a statement about Metallica... you must be quite the guitarist
    angryskykitten
    woooooaaaahhhhh... this is worse than youtube... like i said, it works for me. if you don't like it, cool. and yes, it was a "I wanna write a tutorial too". This is a processs known as 'practicing' and 'learning'. i know it's a crap lesson, but it's my first one. Oh, and to 'the_guitar_hero'... yeah... thumbs up mate. Obviously so many people here picked up a guitar first day and were experts immediately. I'm sorry I'm not one of 'em.
    Blakesta600
    This lesson is stupid. You dont have to downtune to play fast. That makes no sense. And there are plenty of guitarists in the world that are amazingly fast and dont downtune. For instance,Edie Van Halen, very fast, tuned differently for the singers David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar but his speed was the same, and there are many guitarists like Steve Dokken, who dont downtune and yet he still plays very fast, along with many other guitarists. How about Joe Satriani, or Phill Keaggy, some of the best and fastest guitarists who also do not downtune. The only way to get faster is to practice, learn scales, and master those scales, and to work on fast picking and fast finger movement. I wonder if the person who wrote this has ever actually played a guitar, or if there one of those people who just kinda act like they play it, but then when it comes down to it really suck? Im guessing the suck part.