guitar playing speed


Brief guide on developing your right hand speed


If you’re not first – you’re last

Ricky Bobby, Talladega Nights

How fast you play is absolutely crucial for guitarists. Even though technical guitar solos are appearing less and less in today’s hit songs, the need to be able to play fast riffs is still there.

Speed itself is not something that impresses everybody anymore, but what’s actually important is the ability to play fast so it doesn’t stop your creative process. Of course, there are plenty of metal genres out there that are based solely on fast riffs, making it so your right-hand technique and accuracy are important to master.

When developing right-hand speed, you will find tons of different advice on hand placements, how to hold the guitar pick, muscle tension, and more. I believe that everyone has a different hand structure, so something that works for one person may not work for another.

All you have to do is:

  1. Find a position that allows you to play the fastest you can right now. It all comes down to an anchor point, and the balance between the relaxation and tension of your right hand’s muscles that make that “drill” sound the fastest
  2. Determine your current bpm that you can play a certain riff or melody the fastest while remaining consistent. By consistent I mean you can play the riff 10 out of 10 times without mistakes. Let’s assume for now that it’s 170 bpm.
  3. Choose three riffs that you’ll be working on for the next month or so. One should be with alternative picking only. The second – with down-strokes only. And the third – a more complex combination of the first two.
  4. Play every riff for 5 minutes non-stop over your current bpm. Then add 1 bpm every day.

1 bpm is a very small difference, so small that you won’t even notice it because it’s almost the same as it was yesterday, but in a month your speed will increase to 30 bpm! Which, as you already know, is quite significant.

After you reach speeds of around 215 bpm, you’ll be able to play literally anything that is being played out there now!

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