You’ve made friends with your electric guitar and now you want to increase your playing speed? Are you ready to take your finger playing to the next level? Then let’s get started!
Playing the electric guitar is a fulfilling hobby and an enjoyable pastime for many. However, if you’re into it, you know that it’s not always easy. Special challenges usually arise when you try to increase your playing speed.
The right equipment
Before you can even begin to play faster, you need to make sure your equipment is set up properly. The action (string height) and tension of the strings can significantly affect your ability to play fast. Make sure your guitar is set up well before you try to improve your speed.
Preparation and warm-ups
Any intense activity requires a proper warm-up, and playing the guitar is no exception. Various finger exercises – such as running down scales or simple chord progressions – will prepare your fingers for the stress ahead. In addition, a proper warm-up improves circulation in the fingers, which can have a positive effect on speed.
Understand the basics
Before you dive into the tricks and techniques for fast guitar playing, it is fundamental to know the basics well. Your ability to form chords and change them fluidly, as well as your sense of rhythm, are just as important as the fast movement sequence of your fingers.
How to: Increasing Speed on the Electric Guitar
- Always start with a warm-up: Before you start playing fast, warm up your hands and fingers. Some simple stretching and movement exercises should do the trick.
- Start slow: Speed is the product of accuracy. You should start at a speed where you can play the exercise flawlessly.
- Gradually increase the speed: Use a metronome to make sure you stay in time and methodically increase speed.
- Practice regularly: Continuous practice is the key to increasing your speed. Schedule regular practice sessions that provide enough time to improve your speed.
- Focus on accuracy: before you work on speed, make sure you hit the notes and chords accurately. Making mistakes and then repeating them is not good practice.
- Use a metronome: A metronome is an ideal tool to improve your rhythm and work on speed at the same time. Start slowly and increase the speed gradually.
- Choose an appropriate exercise: Choosing the right exercise is of great importance. One method used by many professional guitarists is to practice sequences or patterns found in scales.
- Repeat the process: Consistency is key – you should make sure that you repeat these exercises regularly.
Exercises for fast guitar playing
Exercise 1: The Spider Exercise
The “Spider” Exercise is ideal for improving your finger agility and independence. Here, the four fingers of your gripping hand are placed on the four frets of a string. Then you move each finger individually to the next string without changing the position of the other fingers. This not only trains precision and dexterity, but also helps you to finger different, slanted chords.
Exercise 2: The Tremolo Technique
The tremolo technique can help you play impressive solos. Focus on one string and play fast, repeated notes by alternately hitting the pick down and up. Initially, you can practice this with a metronome to get a handle on your rhythm and speed.
Exercise 3: Scale exercises
Scale exercises are an effective way to improve speed and accuracy. Both major and minor scales can be used for this purpose. Start with a slow speed and gradually increase it as you try to hit each note clearly and cleanly.
Internalize these exercises to improve your technique and speed on the electric guitar. With patience and perseverance, you will surely progress and venture to even faster, more polished tunes. Remember that practice makes perfect!
Exercise 4: Two-Note Per String Scales
A very effective exercise for increasing playing speed are the so-called “two-note per string” scales. Here you simply play two notes per string in a given pitch. This exercise is particularly effective for improving the dexterity of both hands.
Exercise 5: Four-note-per-string scales
Once you’ve mastered the “Two-Note-Per-String” scales, you can move on to the “Four-Note-Per-String” scale. By playing four notes per string instead of just two, you will be forced to move your fingers faster while improving synchronization between your right and left hands.
Exercise 6: Arpeggios
Arpeggios are another effective way to improve your playing speed. By playing arpeggios, you practice switching quickly between different strings and thus improve your fingering speed.
Always remember: speed on the guitar is not a sign of skill, but of practice and patience. You can’t expect to get faster overnight. But if you stay consistent with your exercises, you will notice how your fingers gradually become more dexterous and faster. In the end, it’s the music that counts, not the speed. So always play with passion and joy, and you’ll appreciate your progress all the more.