Fast Picking Guitar - 7 Tips on Taking Your Skills to New Speeds

I'm sure that we've all seen a fast picking guitarist and just thought to ourselves, "Wow! I wish that I could do that." The good thing about fast picking on guitar, is that you CAN, eventually, do that.

Really, all it takes to master fast picking guitar is consistent practice, dedication, and a few pointers to give you some direction. Here are some things that I've found can help you progress a little faster towards the fast picking style you want.

* Find a guitar pick that's right for your playing style.

Most of the time, fast guitar picking is really dependent on the guitar pick that you're using since they can come in all sorts of varieties. They come in different thicknesses, lengths, shapes, and materials. Take some time to experiment with your pick choice and you might find your guitar picking getting faster immediately.

* Change the position of your fingers on the guitar pick.

Most fast picking guitarists find that holding the pick closer to the strumming tip greatly improves the speed in which they're playing. Experiment with a few different placements of your fingers on the pick and see what speeds up your guitar picking.

* Practice slow to go fast.

I know that it seems like if you play guitar slow, you're never going to make it to fast picking styles. Well, that's simply not true.

If you start your riffs and scales slow, you're going to develop better technique and form. With better technique and form, you'll create a solid foundation to starting building your fast picking guitar style.

* You should be double-picking (up and down).

If you haven't figured this out yet, you can't achieve a fast picking guitar style if you don't double-pick. Limiting yourself to picking downwards only will not only put a cramp in your wrist, but one in your brain since you won't believe how slowly you're playing. haha

* Accumulate a set of riffs and scales to practice in your down time.

To achieve fast picking guitar, you really need to have lots and lots of constant practice. Find a set of riffs or scales that challenge your skills and turn them into a fast picking challenge as well.

If you don't know any scales, take a riff from your favorite song and practice keeping a steady tempo and a fast hand. Try playing along with a metronome for added rhythmic skill.

* Is your guitar right for fast picking?

Maybe you've been practicing over and over and nothing seems to be working. Could your guitar just be impractical to achieve fast speeds? It's very probable.

Play on other guitars with natural fast action like Jacksons or Schecters, and see if you notice a difference. It might actually be that old cliche of "It's my guitar, not me."

* Adjust the string distance from the fret board.

When you're practicing for a fast picking guitar style and it seems like you have to press too hard on the strings to make a solid tone, maybe the bridge needs to be lowered. Lowering the bridge so the strings are closer to the fret board can help develop lighter fingers that allow you to move quicker across the strings.

Don't get discouraged if you can't seem to get a fast picking guitar style going after a few practices. It's going to take some time!

Heck, some of the fastest guitarists have decades of playing under their belts! The important thing is to keep your goal in mind and not get discouraged when things seem fruitless.


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