How to Play Guitar Faster


This mini guitar lesson will give you some tips for increasing your playing speed. Choose a phrase or riff you'd like to be able to play faster and have a go at following the steps below!

Go for Accuracy First

Initially, go for accuracy before speed. Your fingers need to know exactly what they are doing so that it doesn't become messy when you try to play faster.

Here are four steps to increasing your playing speed with a chosen phrase:

  1. Practice (repeat) the phrase at a very comfortable tempo at first, and repeat until your fingers are thoroughly warmed up.
  2. If you have a metronome, tap it or alter the tempo to find your current comfortable playing speed.
  3. Every four repetitions or so (depending on how long your phrase is), increase the tempo by just one beat per minute (bpm).
  4. By the time you reach your target tempo, you will have played the phrase so much, and ingrained it into your finger (kinaesthetic) memory that it will be so much easier for you to play without even thinking about it! This helps to make the higher tempos easier.

Be Persistent

Even if you don't reach your target bpm today, just take a break and come back to it tomorrow. You will find that if you follow the same routine (maybe starting at a slightly faster tempo), you will soon reach your target.

Small Movements

Keep your finger movements on your fretting-hand small. If you find yourself lifting your fingers too far off the neck, they will just have further to travel to get back on again...! You only need to lift them off enough to clear the strings.

The same applies with your plectrum-hand. If, for example, you are playing alternate picking on one string, your plectrum only needs to go from one side of the string to the other. No greater movement than that is needed.


I have taken students through speed training many times, and I find that the repetition really focuses the mind and hones your finger (kinaesthetic) memory. My private one-one lessons will go into much more detail than this, and are completely tailored to suit you.

Contact me to book a lesson, or take a look at some of the other topics we'll cover.

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