Playing an instrument with accuracy and speed is the ultimate goal for musicians of all types. Virtuosos are remembered for their abilities to play at speeds that often seemed to surpass human capabilities. For example, the violinist Paganini born in 1782 is still appreciated today for his ability to play the violin at lightning speed. Many musicians today hope to achieve this level of mastery that Paganini was so well-known for.

Guitar is an instrument loved by all levels of musicians. While guitar can be used for simple tasks, such as a simple strumming pattern in combination with few chords, guitar can also be played at a virtuosic level. Fingerstyle guitar, which can be incorporated into almost any type of music, is something you’ll need to learn if you want to play guitar at lightning speed.

Here are some ways you can increase your speed while playing guitar:

Accuracy first, then speed

Although many musicians find playing slowly tedious, it’s necessary to do so in order to progress to an expert level of playing. Imagine construction workers and engineers rushed the process of building a large structure to meet certain deadlines, whether academic, professional, or personal. In order to meet the deadline, the foundation of the structure would be rushed. This would likely be disastrous in the long-run.

The foundation of the structure would begin to erode, and the whole structure would then suffer as a result. This is how you must think about your technique when you’re training to play at a fast tempo. Be sure to build a solid foundation first, and then work your way up to that virtuosic speed. If you sacrifice your technique to obtain speed, you’ll be disappointed with the poor technique you’ll have to work so hard to change later on.

Metronome exercises

Using a metronome is an excellent way to measure your progress. Starting slowly on a metronome and gradually increasing your speed every day will give you perspective on how much you’ve improved over a certain period of time. Try logging your metronome setting every day in a notebook, and increase the settings gradually.

Remember that while it’s important to push yourself when using a metronome, it’s also important to find that sweet spot of attainable challenge. Sometimes, musicians challenge themselves too much and then lose motivation to continue practicing. Make sure the goals you set are attainable so you won’t leave your practice sessions feeling unaccomplished if you don’t achieve them right away.

When learning scales on the guitar, it can be useful to choose a metronome beat and play eighth notes instead of quarter notes. This will give you a much larger range to work with on the metronome. If you only play once per click on the metronome, you’ll likely have to start at the upper ends of your device. A good example of metronome goals for practicing scales on the guitar could be the following: “On May 1st I played my scale at 100 bpm. On May 10th, I’ll be able to play the scale at 115 bpm.” This goal will provide you with a date and a specific metronome setting, both of which are measurable.

Reduce shifting

It’s important to remember that speed will also be a result of strategic playing. When using the fretting hand, it’s important to train yourself to use whatever fingers are most logical, despite the fact that your index and middle fingers will most likely feel more comfortable in the beginning.

When playing a scale, many musicians tend to change positions in an attempt to avoid using their ring and pinky fingers on the fretboard. “Changing positions” refers to switching the fret your index finger is on. If you’re playing a G major scale in the first position, it’s better to play the F# on the fourth string with your pinky finger because it will prevent you from having to shift your hand. Shifting to different positions may not seem too time-consuming, but when you’re teaching yourself to play something at a virtuosic speed, that split second can be painfully noticeable.

Remember to move your hand around as little as possible, even if it involves using fingers that are less comfortable. It will pay off in the long run. For more on how long it will take to learn guitar, take a look at this article.

In Conclusion

Hopefully, you found this article on how to increase your speed when playing guitar useful. The guitar is an excellent instrument to showcase virtuosic abilities through complex fingerstyle playing. Mastering an instrument in the goal of musicians of all levels and in all genres of music.

In order to achieve virtuosic playing speed, it’s important to build a solid foundation, complete metronome exercises that will allow you to measure your progress, set attainable goals, and use logic when planning out fretting fingers. Collectively, these tips should help you greatly improve your playing ability. Enjoy!