Sunday, February 11, 2007

How To Play Fast Guitar

By: Steve Higgins

How to play fast guitar-7 tips to improve your skill in 7 days

Playing fast guitar is something that eludes many guitarists,
yet is something which all of us aspire to at some point. I'm
here to bust open the myths and the "secrets" which people seem
to think hold the key to playing fast. Implement this stuff and
you will be faster in seven days. I guarantee it.

1-Practice-It's obvious but many people claim they want
to be a great guitarist yet don't put the time in. You get out
what you put in! Even if you don't have much time to spare, half
an hour a day is enough to help you improve.

2-Focus your practice-You can increase the benefits of
your guitar practice exponentially by practicing the same stuff
each time. A good way to start this is to choose 4 licks or
scales or parts of scales (anything except chords will work just
fine), and play through each lick in a loop for 15 minutes. By
the end of the FIRST WEEK you'll be two or three times as fast
as you were with those licks to begin with.

3-Think long term. Focused practice everyday is great,
but it's even better to have a goal in mind. for example if you
want to learn a particular piece, gear your practice toward
licks and techniques used in the piece and then dedicate the
last 15-20 minutes(depending on how much time you have) to
practicing the actual piece. Nothing helps you stay focused and
motivated more than being able to see your daily progress.

4-Work on legato-Legato actually means smooth, or
flowing, but in guitar circles it is the term given to fretting
notes with your left hand and making them sound without actually
picking anything with your right hand. It could also be called
the art of hammering on and pulling off. Excellent practice as
it will strengthen your left hand, not only making you faster
and smooth, but will improve your vibrato and chord changes too.
It just makes your hand fitter! A great way to practice this is
to run up and down some scales, but only pick the first note on
each string, so you will be hammering on going up and pulling
off on the way down. It's tough at first but persevere and you
will get rewards!

5-Use a metronome. Other musicians seem to use metronomes
with no trouble, but guitarists are allergic to them, or at
least seem to be! I'll spell it out - An hour with a metronome
does A LOT more good than an hour without. It's simply the best
tool for highlighting the weak areas and inefficiencies in your
technique. There is a learning curve but stick with it-your
playing will change for the better, permanently! Buy one!

6-Use a hard pick. Controversial? I know that people
should use whatever pick they want to, but a softer pick WILL
slow you down, and a harder one won't. It's simple physics. Most
picks have a degree of flexibility, so after picking a note we
have to wait for it to return to its proper shape before we pick
again, or the note is not picked cleanly. Put it this way-trying
to learn to pick fast while using soft picks is like putting
bicycle wheels on a Ferrari and then trying to drive fast. Not
going to happen!

7- Start slow-Work on something until you can play it
with no mistakes at all before you crank up the speed. This will
do more for your all round musical skills than just pushing the
metronome up a few beats every few minutes. If you move forward
before your skills are ready your playing will be very very
sloppy, and that will be a real hard habit to get out of!

Hopefully those tips will help you break out of a rut and get
your fretboard burning!

About the author:
Steve Higgins has been a guitarist/musician for over 20 years,
both playing and teaching in his local area. If you find these
tips useful and would like to learn more please click here

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