How to break through the speed barrier

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The strategy described in this article could increase your speed instantly! (Seriously)

I assume that you are using the methods described in the category “Get more out of praticing”. If you are not, you are going to experience a lot more challenges than I describe in these articles. But even though you do everything right, at some point, you are going to hit the wall. You are going to reach a level of speed that you cannot seem to get beyond. It’s like your fingers simply won’t cooperate no matter what you do. It will seem like it’s not physically possible for you to reach a higher level.

But unless you are picking as fast as any of your favorite guitar players, you haven’t reached the top of the mountain yet. Remember: It does not require any special inborn talents to be able to play fast. But it does require balls my friend. The balls to look for a way around, above or under your challenges, and to keep looking until you find that way. This article will give you a simple strategy to surpass your previous speed levels perhaps in minutes!

Here it is:

If you have been playing the metronome game for a while you will have a very exact measure of how fast you can play any lick. Here’s a way to surpass that level very fast. This method works best with licks that are between 6 and 12 notes long:

1. Determine your max speed on the metronome

2. Then start the metronome and play the lick at half the speed

3. Then alternate between playing the lick at half speed and at full speed, without pausing.

4. Play the lick 2 or 4 times before shifting to max speed. Then go back again, alternating between half and full speed continuously, again without pausing.

5. When this shifting back and forth feels natural to you, then go for a considerable increase in speed right away. Start your metronome on this new level. Start by playing half speed 2 or 4 times then go for full speed. Keep doing this until you can play the fast part smoothly. If you dont have a metronome you can use this:

You can see an example of this way of practicing in this video: 

It’s a good idea to do this kind of practicing once in a while to stretch your capabilities and get beyond “the wall”. Then return back to the metronome game with this new knowledge of how fast you can really play. Why this strategy works I’m not really sure, the fact is that it does.

Your basic skills set the height

Another way to push beyond your highest level is to take a huge step back and play the lick much slower than you are capable of. Don’t try to play it very fast for a couple of days. Very often, the reason why we can’t surpass our current speed level is that there’s something we didn’t practice well enough in the beginning. If our accents aren’t an automatic part of our pattern of movement or if our picking motion isn’t precise and “robotic” enough, this will set the height of what we can accomplish. The only solution to this is to go back and practice the basics again. Then return and see what happened to your maximum speed level.

Once again we use the same technique as yesterday. One of the advantages of building many licks with the same technique is that every time you practice one of the licks you get better at all of them. Play this licks on different strings and through all the patterns of the E-minor scale

If you start struggling, call a time-out!

I never seizes to amaze me how much I progress when I’m not playing guitar. If you get stuck then take a long break. Don’t do alternate picking for a an entire week. Or even better: Don’t pick up your guitar at all! Then return to it again and see what has happened. The mental and emotional state of “struggling” with something, is not conducive to developing any new skills. The best way to develop is from success to success. From one little challenge to another. The moment we begin to get really frustrated with ourselves, we often grind to a serious halt in our development. Be fair with yourself. Remember why you are practicing in the first place. It’s supposed to be fun right? Take a break, read my articles about how to practice :) create a plan, think!, schedule your practice, pour the coffee and smash through your boundaries. But if you’re really frustrated with yourself right now, you might want to take a serious brake before you launch again.