BecomeSingers is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More
Playing the guitar faster can be challenging because it demands a high level of concentration and the ability to coordinate a number of different physical and mental skills at a fast pace.
We will cover everything you need to know to help you reach your goals as quickly as possible, from learning the basics, developing proper techniques, and building muscle memory to using tools like metronomes and incorporating different genres into your practice routine. This demands extensive practice and in-depth knowledge of music theory and exercises that are crucial to help you play faster. Whether you’re just starting out or have been playing for a while, we will provide the best tips, exercises, and insights you need to become a faster and more confident guitarist.
How to Play the Guitar Faster
It requires time, effort, and commitment to play the guitar faster. You must develop proper technique, perform exercises regularly to build muscle memory, practice alternate picking, experiment with different styles of music, use a metronome while practicing, take breaks frequently, and, most importantly, be patient.
If you want to improve your speed on the guitar, there are some steps you should follow.
The first and most crucial step is to develop a proper technique, which is the foundation for playing guitar with speed and accuracy. Pay attention to your body and hand posture, finger placement, and pick grip. Make sure your arm, hand, and wrists are relaxed and not tense, as all these elements can impact your guitar playing and limit your speed.
The next thing you should do is build your muscle memory. And the key to that is repetition. Practice playing chromatic scales, legato playing, alternate picking, fingerpicking, arpeggios, and chord progressions (to name a few) until you can play them effortlessly and accurately. Keep in mind that consistency is essential to developing your muscle memory and skills, so keep performing these exercises until they become second nature to you.
Another powerful tool if you want to get faster at playing guitar, is the metronome. You can use the continuous beat of a metronome to improve your timing and accuracy. And as you practice playing notes precisely and in time with the beat, you can improve your hand-eye coordination and develop better rhythm, eventually boosting your guitar playing speed. A good idea is to challenge yourself by starting out at a slower tempo and working your way up to a faster one when you feel more comfortable.
Finally, you should take regular breaks and just enjoy the journey. You must set aside some time to relax and recharge, as rest can help you play better and quicker. Playing for extended periods without taking breaks can lead to fatigue and injury, slowing down your progress. Muscles need time to relax and repair so that you may avoid stress and injuries and return to your training sessions feeling rejuvenated and ready to go. And most importantly, rest can prevent frustration and burnout, both of which can kill your love and enthusiasm for playing the guitar.
Exercises to Improve Your Guitar Speed
It’s crucial to perform different exercises that will help improve your guitar speed. Here are some of the best ones, starting with alternate picking:
1. Alternate Picking Exercise
If you want to develop a tidy and consistent picking technique, practicing alternate picking is a great way to go. This exercise is excellent for developing hand coordination and dexterity since it requires the player to alternate between upstrokes and downstrokes with the pick.
- Choose a simple lick or sequence that you can play repeatedly using alternate picking.
- Start out slowly, playing at a speed that allows you to perform it accurately and consistently.
- Make sure to maintain the alternate, down-up motion of the picking hand as you gradually boost the tempo.
- Play the lick for several minutes at a time, progressively accelerating the speed until you are playing at your fastest.
- Perform the lick again, this time focusing on your technique and playing at a steady tempo.
- When you’ve mastered the lick and can play it quickly and accurately, try integrating it into your playing.
Remember to concentrate on proper technique and refrain from playing more quickly if your technique isn’t clear yet. Maintaining proper technique while playing will help you gain speed over time.
2. Chromatic Scale Exercise
This is a great exercise for developing guitar finger strength and speed. The steps are as follows:
- Using alternate picking and the high E string, start by playing every note on that string, 4 frets at a time, ascending first.
- Once you reach the highest note, play the notes in reverse order back down to the lowest note.
- Repeat for all strings aiming to strike each note equally so that dynamically they will sound the same.
Make sure to practice the scale regularly and try incorporating it into your other playing and practice exercises.
3. Sweep Picking Exercise
Sweep picking is a technique used by guitarists to play multiple notes on successive strings with a single, fluid motion. The sweep-picking exercise can be done by following the steps listed below:
- Choose a simple chord progression you want to play using sweep-picking.
- Start by placing your picking hand over the strings, with your fingers relaxed and ready to pluck the strings.
- Pluck the first note of the chord progression, then swiftly move or “sweep” your picking hand in a continuous motion across all the other strings.
- Make sure to play every note clearly and accurately without any buzzing or noise from the strings.
- Pay special attention to the speed and accuracy of your motion as you practice brushing up and down the strings.
- Increase the exercise’s speed gradually until you can play the chord progression quickly and effortlessly.
Repeat the exercise, focusing on different chord progressions and tempos.
4. String Skipping Exercise
String skipping is a guitar technique in which notes are played on different strings while skipping other strings in between. This exercise can increase your guitar’s speed and accuracy while developing finger dexterity.
To perform the string skipping exercise, follow these simple steps:
- Ensure that you are sitting comfortably and that you have easy access to the guitar’s six strings.
- Play some scales and chords to warm up before starting the exercise.
- Select a simple chord progression like A – D – E.
- Play the first chord, the A chord, with a down stroke.
- As you play the second chord, D, skip the string between D and A. (skip the F#)
- Repeat this process for each chord in the progression, skipping the string between each chord.
- Begin slowly and progressively picking up the pace as you become more comfortable and faster performing this exercise.
Practicing string skipping regularly if you want to develop your speed, accuracy, and coordination.
5. Basic Legato Exercise
The term “legato” refers to a style of guitar playing in which the notes are played continuously and smoothly. Here’s how you can put the legato exercise into practice:
- Start with choosing a scale, like any major or minor pentatonic scale, and play through it using alternate picking.
- Once you’ve mastered the scale, switch to hammer-ons and pull-offs instead of alternating picking to play it.
- It’s best to take it slowly at first and work on making clean, seamless transitions between notes.
- As you become more comfortable with the pattern, you can gradually up the pace.
- Keep practicing by starting on different frets and alternating between the ascending and descending pentatonic scales.
Practice regularly, and you’ll be able to play the pentatonic scale and other scales more quickly and smoothly.
6. Arpeggios Exercise
Practicing arpeggios is another great way to get faster on the guitar. Here’s how it’s done:
- Choose a simple chord like a C Major or A minor.
- Break down the chord into individual notes. The notes that make up the C Major chord are C, E, and G.
- Play each note individually, starting with the lowest note and working your way up to the highest note in the chord.
- Once you’ve gotten the hang of playing the notes one at a time, you may start picking up the tempo. Try to go slow at first and then speed up as you get used to the pattern. Use a metronome to help keep a steady tempo.
- Play arpeggios using different picking techniques, including alternate picking, sweep picking, and hybrid picking.
- Try playing arpeggios in different keys, both major and minor.
Practice playing arpeggios with different chords to develop your finger speed and dexterity on the guitar.
How long does it take to play guitar fast?
What is harder to learn, piano or guitar?
How many hours a day should I practice the guitar?
In conclusion, playing the guitar faster and with more confidence is challenging, but can be accomplished by dedicating time and effort to mastering proper technique and keeping an open mind to learning new things even if you’re already a skilled and experienced player. You have to remember always to enjoy the process and not put constant pressure on yourself, as this should always be a fun journey, not a stressful one. You will see progress in your guitar playing as long as you stay persistent and follow all the steps we mentioned today. So stay focused, practice as often as you can, and watch the magic unfold!
You can also experiment with different musical genres and incorporate different styles into your playing. By exposing yourself to a broader range of musical genres, you can learn new chord progressions, rhythmic patterns, and techniques to implement into your music.