101 Guitar Tips: Tip 2 – Walk before you run!

Speed is the goal that many guitarists aspire towards. Some players would put this above their ability to improvise or to be able to work well with other players. The desire to play burning solos and licks at full on tempos means that guitarists often rush trying to get there. Many new players find it odd that the key to being able to play with speed is to firstly be able to play something slowly. Furthermore, as with tip 1, the right hand is usually the hardest aspect when it comes to playing something difficult.

Here are a few pointers when trying to build up speed in your single note playing:

  1. Buy a metronome or use an online one/app (http://www.metronomeonline.com/)
  2. Whatever you are trying to learn, slow it right down until you can play it cleanly and without any tension in your right arm
  3. Play at this tempo to the metronome
  4. Gradually increase the metronome speed – remember if you tense up slow it back down again
  5. Each day keep a record of what speed you have reached and return to it the next day.


What if this doesn’t work?

Perhaps you’ve picked something that is a little out of your each at the moment or you’re not picking/fingering it in the most efficient way. Either way, playing at speed involves lots of small steps to reach your goal! Rushing will just result in frustration.


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