The Simple Secret to Playing Fast
Well to tell to you the truth there isn’t a trick or anything to playing fast. All it takes is dedication and proper practice. Playing fast in and of itself does not really mean anything and can often end up sound like gibberish.
To play fast you’ve got to pick fast. – That’s all there is to it, alternate picking is the key. Alternate picking means that the pick moves up and down for hitting the strings. You must pluck the string going down and also on the upstroke. Make your movements as smooth and efficient as possible.
While there are several different points of view, I prefer to pick from my wrist, it allows me to do some fast runs without straining myself. I used to speed pick with my wrist locked and move from my elbow, but ended up giving myself tendonitis and could not play for a few weeks. I had to retrain myself to use my wrist, the end result being I became faster and do not stress my tendons as much.
As far as the fretting hand goes I use simple 3 note per string fingerings when I want to rip up the fretboard. I don’t always use the same patterns since you can vary any pattern a little bit to end up with something else.
My first choice for speed is to go for the 3 note per string patterns. In my opinion they seem to flow easier for my fretting fingers and picking hand. Now the patterns I use for this purpose are normally simple to finger, if they were complex and hard I am sure that the pattern would probably play much slower.
The 3 note per string patterns I use are based on licks that I make up from scales. At this time I won’t go over all the scales or licks. And unless specifically asked I am not going to tab any out my belief is that one should develop their own library of patterns to draw from (that way you get your own sound and style).
So to summarize this quick lesson on playing fast –
1) Playing fast requires practice.
2) To play fast you have got to pick fast.
3) To play fast you have got to fret fast.
In my mini website lesson series I will eventually touch on the other aspects of shred guitar. Tapping, sweeping, legato etc. Stay tuned and check in often you’ll never know what comes next.
© Brad Corpus 2005