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The real secret to playing fast

play slow to play fast

Recently I increased my playing speed from 78 bpm to 170 bpm on a certain exercise. In two days. That’s an increase of 118%. I never imagined I’d be able to achieve something like that, but it was surprisingly easy — so easy that I am kicking myself in my metal butt for wasting so many years practicing inefficiently.

I’m so excited about this breakthrough that I had to share how I did it so that you can try it yourself. Here’s how I increased my strict alternate picking speed by over 100%, and finally mastered a picking exercise that had eluded me for YEARS, one that I honestly thought I’d NEVER be able to play.

The key, in a nutshell, is slow practice. Yes, to play fast, you have to play slowly first. Really f’n slowly.

Now before you stop reading in disappointment, rushing straight to the comments section to tell me “That’s nothing new — it’s common sense!”, hear me out.

In my experience, most people — even if they start out playing slowly — try to play too fast too soon. And let’s face it, having to play slowly when you really want to play fast is a drag. You get bored and end up hacking away as fast as you can — fooling yourself for instant gratification — and still sounding “OK.”

But who wants to settle for “OK?”
“OK” is for other people; we’re going for MIGHTY.

Here is how to dramatically increase your speed while maintaining clarity, accuracy, and articulation

Tools needed: metronome, programmable timer, practice diary for recording progress, and PATIENCE.


  1. Slow way down and carefully analyze your technique until you discover what is holding you back.
  2. Decide what you need to do to fix your technique.
  3. Practice this new technique ridiculously slowly, using a metronome.
  4. Make sure you can play what you are attempting for one minute solid, relaxed with no mistakes, then…
  5. …increase speed by 1 bpm.
  6. Repeat until the desired speed is reached, over several sessions if necessary.

timerOverall approach
If you find your technique getting even slightly sloppy at a certain speed, then that’s your top speed for that practice session. Back up the metronome a few clicks to a comfortable speed again, and finish the practice session by playing a few one-minute repetitions at your highest RELAXED and CLEAN speed. It’s important to finish your session feeling successful so that you will be eager to resume practice the next day.

Remember, the whole point of playing slowly is to give yourself room to analyze your playing, identify any tension or bad habits that are holding you back, experiment to find your optimal technique, and let your brain and muscles gradually learn to consistently get it right. If you are feeling tense, you are playing too fast. To make real progress, you’ll have to fight the natural tendency to want to rush past the boring slow speeds and get to the sexy faster stuff. But if you move slowly move forward, one click at a time, past the frustration point and through the impatience barrier, it will pay off. Guaranteed.

the shred curve

A practical example

Here is the example I started with. It’s an ascending scalar pattern that I’ve wanted to be able to play fast and clean for as long as I can remember, but — no matter how much I practiced it — have never managed (unless you count HACKING my way through it).

Lori's alt picking exercise

Note: in this article BPM refers to quarter notes per minute. The exercise above is sixteenth notes, so at 60 bpm you’d be playing 4×60 =240 notes per minute. At 170 bpm you’d be playing 4×170=680 notes per minute.

I made it my goal to master this pattern. Three notes per string, alternate picking is what I was striving for, but something wasn’t working. Using my original technique I could only play this pattern at 78 bpm without blurring certain notes. Pathetic.

I slowed down to 60 bpm to investigate what I was doing wrong. Carefully observing my picking hand, I discovered that I wasn’t alternate picking all the notes as I thought I was; I was doing some half-assed economy picking here and there. Therein lay the bad habit I needed to fix.

Objectives identified, I started practicing the pattern at 60 bpm following the method described above. (I was reformatting and reinstalling Windows on my laptop at the time, so it gave me something productive to do while waiting.)

By the time Windows and my favorite apps were reinstalled, I had increased my speed to 115 bpm. A couple of times I’d slipped back into my lame economy picking habit and had to slow back down. But by the end of the session I felt confident and relaxed at 115 bpm.

metronomeThe next day I started at 100 bpm and easily worked my way up to 120 bpm, my goal for that day. In fact, it felt so easy that I kept on going, one metronome click at a time. At this point I reduced the duration for each pass to 45 seconds because it seemed to be enough, but I stuck to increasing speed in one-click increments. In this fashion I gradually reached 140 bpm before starting to feel a bit of tension. I considered 140 my top clean speed for that session.

Then, just as an experiment, the little devil on my shoulder told me to try 150 bpm to see if my technique would fall apart……I tried……It didn’t.

160 bpm?

Piece of cake.

170 bpm?

Too much tension, but it still sounded good.

At 175 bpm I started having timing problems, so I considered 170 bpm my absolute-if-I-have-to-do-it top speed for that day. The slow playing had definitely paid off.

Above 140 bpm I was just starting to feel tension, so that is the speed I logged in my practice diary. But what’s important is that after a measly TWO DAYS I was playing well enough at 170 bpm to use this technique in a recording if I wanted to. It sounded fine; it was the tension I was unhappy with. It is obvious to me now that by using the same method I will eventually reach a relaxed 170 bpm (heck, why not go for 200?). And if a non-shredder like me can do it, so can you.

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+ Comment by --=MR.JOE=--
2007-07-02 19:52:19

This is the second time in less than a week that I’ve heard another guitar player say to play fast you need to play slow. It makes perfect sense to me. The first time I heard this advice it was coming from Steve Vai and now from you. I’m sold.

Always Hot and Fresh!

+ Comment by Neo
2007-07-02 20:00:12

Loriiii!! Now you can change the title of your website from “female melodic metal guitarist” to “female melodic metal shredder guitarist”.

Hey, now that you can play the exercise at that speed, upload a video of the exercise at 175bpm ( the fans want vids :D )

+ Comment by Lorinator
2007-07-02 20:21:02

Neo: Oh dear, I’ll never be a “shredder” the way the term is used today (think Rusty Cooley — the dude is SICK). But it would be fun to have a reserve of fluid, effortless speed up my sleeve for the few times I might actually need it. 175 is still out of my reach on this exercise, but it won’t be for long. I’ve never been interested in playing fast, but it would be fun to crack 200 :twisted:

Mr. Joe: Right, the concept of playing slow to play fast is nothing new. But it’s the implementation that is tricky (or has been for me!).

+ Comment by rdyfrde
2007-07-02 21:15:31

That example exercise looks interesting. I’ll have to try it out when I get home from work tonight. My speed picking has been lacking for years. Not enough practice I’d assume.

+ Comment by jomaheux
2007-07-03 00:45:55

That tickles my competitive streak…

+ Comment by Lorinator
2007-07-03 09:37:40

Rdyfrde: If something is lacking, it’s definitely a matter of practice. I’m so excited about having found something that actually WORKS to get through sticking points — practicing is fun now :)

Jomaheux: Cool! If you try it, let us know what your results are.

+ Comment by Joe
2007-07-03 11:31:27

I don’t know, that kind of repetition might give me a ‘mind explosion’.

+ Comment by Kristof
2007-07-03 12:00:22

I’ve built a little metronome track in Cubase, which lasts for 5 minutes at 100 bpm. I’m planning to step it up a little every week. 10 bpm at a time. If I’m not comfortable, I take it back 5 bpm for that week.

+ Comment by Mps
2007-07-03 12:48:53

Nice tip Lori. Thanks for share!

+ Comment by Captain Zilog
2007-07-03 13:18:40

I like refingering these kinds of patterns to get rid of the inside string crossing seen between the 5th and 6th notes in your example. Try this (I added a few extra notes for some extra moto perpetuo… begin on downpick & strictly alternate)


Presto, instant Pretrucci! It can take a bit of extra planning to work out your runs this way, but when I notice pesky “accidental half-ass economy picking at high speed” errors cropping up in my own playing it’s usually a sign that a more optimized picking approach is waiting to be discovered.


+ Comment by --=MR.JOE=--
2007-07-03 14:07:27

Does anyone have trouble playing fast because of the size of the guitar neck and frets? I have Hulk-sized hands and when I try to play super-fast my fingers get all jammed and cramped. Especially when I’m playing up past the 12th fret. I picked up a jumbo fret 7-string the other day so I’m hoping this helps with the problem. Of course now I’m hitting strings I didn’t mean to hit because I’m not used to playing a 7string. Sometimes I fear that I’m one of those guitar players that’d be better off playing bass. :(

Always Hot and Fresh!

+ Comment by Dinosaur David B
2007-07-03 19:53:02

Hey Lori,
What you describe here is ALSO the exact the process I had to go through to try and lose a hitch in my picking technique. When I started back playing in 1999 after a lonnnng layoff, I started with some lessons from my buddy who happens to be a guitar teacher and has been for 30 years. I told him where I wanted to go with my playing, and he said to me: “Sooner or later, you’re gonna have to lose that hitch in your picking technique (and learn to pure alternate pick) or you’re never gonna get the to speed you’re trying to get to.”
So I set about DE-constructing my picking technique. I put a mirror up on the wall and practiced in front of it. Saw my hand cheating like crazy — like you say –economy picking. I got out the metronome and put in on a very slow speed, and started practicing pure alternate picking (mostly 4 point layovers). There was a hitch at a particular point between the B and the G when crossing strings where I constantly want to throw in a down-down or an up-up. I had to slow down the metronome to the point where I could do it without that hitch. It’s a very humbling experience, but eventually you reach a tempo that’s so slow and so stupid that you CAN do it correctly and clean. Then you have to work it back up to speed. I practiced this technique for about 30-40 minutes a session a few times a week. It took me about 2 months from the time I began to break it down to the time I had worked back up to speed. It certainly did improve my technique. I was playing better than ever. And as long as I remained conscious of it and worked at it every time I practiced, I continued improving. But you know what? If I don’t work on it continually (and I don’t) that damn hitch still creeps right back in. It’s a total bitch.

+ Comment by Sylvain
2007-07-04 07:24:37

Really good article, with all the information to practice the correct way !
Thanks Lori. ;-)

+ Comment by Lorinator
2007-07-04 12:52:27

CaptainZilog: Interesting variation! Putting in extra notes for ease of picking is a cool trick. I do that to try to keep to 3 notes per string, alternate picking, as often as possible.
Oh, and I bow to your tab! :-)
Joe: Resistance is futile! :twisted: Seriously though, you don’t need to practice everything like this. Far from it. But for breaking through sticking points it’s hands down the best technique I’ve ever come across. I can now play something I honestly thought would be forever beyond me.
Kristof: Cool plan! I expect a full progress report!
Mps: You’re welcome! Glad you found it useful.
Mr. Joe: I can see how having thick fingers could cause trouble in the upper registers because the distance between frets could be too small. But if your problem is cramping and tension, then it sounds like a technique issue.
Dinosaur David B: Great story! Yes, staying conscious of your weak points is crucial, or you’ll backslide for sure. Once I get to a point I’m happy with, it will be time to figure out the optimal maintenance program. I’ve had a rather long layoff myself, pretty much since returning from the last tour. Despite the best of intentions, I just haven’t had the energy to play much at all since then. But I started feeling markedly better a few days ago, and practicing is fun again. I was cursing myself for taking such a long break, but now I’m trying to make the most of it by starting fresh, breaking old bad habits, and establishing new good ones.
Sylvain: Cool! Glad you liked it.

+ Comment by jomaheux
2007-07-04 19:17:19

The hard part of the exercise provided by Lori,i find,is the second set of four notes when playing an up stroke on the B string(10th fret),then a downstroke on the E string(7th fret).
I could play that at around180-185 yesterday morning but had to slow down to 160 in the evening after work.
At that tempo,160,i could feel better the right hand motion.
Also,since it’s a twelve note patern,i made a little beat in Cubase in 3/4.I found that it made sound less like an exercise.

+ Comment by Kristof
2007-07-04 22:10:14

The problem is my left hand, not my right hand :(

Wait, wait! I feel another anecdote coming up … Yes, here it is!

I have always had trouble teaching my left hand what the fretboard is like. Fact is that I’m extremely righthanded. I’m a righthand-extremist. The way to actually physically prove this is by measuring your arm around your biceps (don’t tense it, let your arm hang and ask someone to measure your biceps). The largest biceps is typically on the side of your dominant hand (unless you’re a top notch body builder).

The larger the percentile difference, the more left/righthanded you are. My difference is more than 6% which is rather significant.

So, all get your lint tapes out and jot down you’re percentages :)

At least that gives me an excuse for not being very good at the guitar :) Well, that and the total lack of practice but I’m the only one to blame for that so I won’t.

+ Comment by Joe
2007-07-04 22:42:34

Btw, when I said ‘mind explosion’, I was thinking of the Human Giant magician comedy skits: . You might like the mosh pit one too:

+ Comment by SirSyko
2007-07-05 00:26:22

There are a couple other secrets to playing fast (shredding). Keep an eye out on my friend’s website. He’s developing a documentary called “Cracking the Code” (unlocking the secrets of shred guitar). His thesis about fast playing has to do with some specific technical characteristics about picking, and he’s filmed players from all sorts of genres of music (not just metal) to illustrate the thesis. There are some commonalities to the techniques used by all of these fast pickers. Besides that, he’s a pretty incredible guitarist himself. Check him out:

+ Comment by SirSyko
2007-07-05 06:55:26

One of the things I learned from troy is echoed by what you’ve posted. He also stresses playing slowly. He turned me onto a great tool that would be useful for any of those players out there who try to cover songs from mp3/cd’s. Check out the Amazing Slow Downer at

Sorry if it seems like I’m hijacking your page advertising other things, but they really are related to practice/learning :0 and I think that you (and others) might find them useful :)

+ Comment by Lorinator
2007-07-05 11:08:35

Kristof: I’ll bet slow practice would work for the left hand as well. Definitely for coordination between left and right. BTW, if you want some good reasons to practice, google: dweck growth mindset.
Jomaheux: I agree that part is hard, just like the string crossing that Captain Z pointed out earlier. But it’s nothing that practicing can’t take care of. I believe John Petrucci has an exercise specifically for getting better at hitting two consecutive notes “inside” two strings, but it’s been a long time since I saw that video, so I’m not sure.
Joe:: Thanks for clearing that up. I thought you might have meant something like this.
SirSyko: Thanks for the links. I don’t mind useful stuff being linked to here. I’d heard of the “cracking the code” thingie ages ago and it sounds intriguing, but the darn thing has been in production forEVER.
For slowing down music to figure out WTF guitarists are doing, I demoed Transcribe a couple of years ago and really liked it for its simplicity and looping function. I’ve not tried the Amazing Slow Downer, though.

+ Comment by FakeScreenName19yrold
2007-07-06 00:38:36

I’ve heard guys like Rusty Cooley, or Michael Angelo, or Chris Impellitteri can play 3n.p.s. patterns at ~360ishbpm on 16th notes.

I can pick about that quickly but having my fretting hand coordinate at that pace is the tough part. :( I’ll keep hacking at it until I hit 400! hahaha so immature of me. :)

+ Comment by jomaheux
2007-07-06 05:44:33

Hi Lori and every one,

Here are my result for tonight(about 1h15min. of drilling that pattern :p):
Warm-up at 160,then up to 170.Then 180,190 and 200.
Observations:at the faster tempos,i tended to rest the pinky and the ring finger of the picking hand on the face of the guitar,a bit like John Petrucci and Michael Angelo.That way i could even hint at 210,playing the pattern four times in a row in my most successful attempt,althought i’m shooting for a “floating” technique akin to Robert Fripp or Paul Gilbert where they have their hand closed.
Then a recap at 170.The feel can be surprising when dropping 20 to 40 bpm from your fastest attained tempo.Also,at any given tempo,it may be helpful to play the thing at exactly half the speed targeted,it gives a little break and a chance to refocus.

Regarding the higher tempos(phew!never wrote that word so many times in one post or message),things may change a bit,you may find that you have to get used to the feel of your hands going that quick and that you may have to try a few “starts” before getting the motion.Of course,it means then that your are training yourself to do it right away.It’s a bit like dancers or gymnasts,they can’t jump or do a back flip in slow motion.But of course,you DO have to play slow first.

Type to you later!

+ Comment by Roadgod
2007-07-06 20:12:51

Hey Lori – you know I never knew you didn’t play slow. Between being your tech and Chets tech I learned so much about things like tone and picking and what not. Chet said to me that your mind is a muscle when it comes to playing and that to get better, opr work on runs, just play slow. Sit in front of the TV and just play scales or whatever over and over because the more you did it your “muscle” would get stronger. It was great advice and one I have never forgotten.

By the way I am not going to be coing over next month. Paula and Olivia are but I am staying here. I was looking forward to seeing you and hanging out. They are going to be visiting the family in Stockholm and Gothenburg. Most of the time I think they will be in Gothenburg, well out on the island (Styrso) anyway.

+ Comment by LadyLau
2007-07-07 15:00:28

Great stories on here! I’m not a guitarist (not at all) but trust me, this way of practising I think is usefull for every instrument. For me as a pianist, I’ve had to train my scales and chord progressions like that too. Just starting of slowly and speeding it up. It’s been a while since I did that though, and I agree it’s got a lot to do with the patience to keep it up, and not speed up too fast and cheat along the way.
This inspires me to get back to metronome training again, since I haven’t been practising much lately :s…
So: thanx!! ;-)

+ Comment by Lorinator
2007-07-09 12:37:56

FakeScreen: That sounds interesting — is there a video of any of those guys doing that you can link to? Playing 24 notes per second (360 * 4 / 60) is something I need to see for myself before believing it. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, dontcha know!

Roadgod: Nice to hear from you! The embarrassing truth is that I never did much focused practice PERIOD, slow or otherwise. I completely agree with Chet’s words there, though. Ties in well with a book I’m reading at the moment about the Growth Mindset (C. Dweck). Many characteristics that we think of as fixed are actually “like a muscle,” and if you see them that way you are far more likely to work to make them stronger. But if you think that talent, intelligence, etc. are fixed qualities that you are born with and can’t do anything about, you spend most of your time trying to look smart/talented rather than trying to learn. I hope your fam has a nice time over here!

LadyLau: Cool! My goal is for everyone’s interactions here to inspire one another. Good luck with your practicing!

+ Comment by Hugo
2007-07-09 18:14:13

Hello Lori & All,

Here it is one of the Videos Rusty Cooley explains an arpeggio sequence he uses in a music introduction of his band Outworld: (The website has 4 more videos like this one).

I might add that there is another highly and extremly technical itallian guitarist (among others) called “Francesco Fareri” who can run scales at incredible speed. It’s rather too fast for me, and for what i’ve seen, he focus too much on the technical aspect of playing and not in melody/harmony. (Good for others, but not for me) :-)

Also, Joe Stump is said (by a Fan in some forum) to be able to play around 32 notes-per-second. You can catch some videos on YouTube…either way, i’ve seen this video, and what is impressive is that his fingers seems to not move at all, when running up and down the fretboard, it seems he is just cleaning is strings. LOL

Keep on Rockin’ Baby (Can i say this!? :-/ )

+ Comment by nick
2007-07-09 20:40:20

Hi Lori,
Great post! I’ve tried this approach before without much luck but I think I was trying to speed up too quickly. I’ve now taken your lick there and am seeing how quick (and clean) I can get it. Only up to 116bpm so far, which isn’t a patch on some of your other readers, but considering I started at 40, I’m pretty pleased! :o )

Out of interest, have you checked out Troy Stetina’s “Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar” book? I seem to remember he suggested something similar, as well as speed “bursts” where you, for example, play something at a very leisurely, half-time pace and then throw in a single repetition at full speed (double the comfortable pace) … and then slowly increase the number of continuous speedy reps.


+ Comment by Sebas Honing
2007-07-11 12:32:01

I already planned that I’m going to concentrate more on my shredding for the next couple of months, since I’m going to the Rotterdam Pop Acadamy in September.
I’ve tried some sweeps, but I really suck at sweeps (you can hear it on the solo of ARTEMIS on the CD I gave you ;-) ) and though I did try the method of starting slowly, I never crossed the frustration barrier.
Now I’ve left the sweeps in the freezer for a year and a half I’m going to pick it up with my brightened-up spirit, and I guess that with your tips and confirmation that it works I’ll be able to cope more with the frustration barrier. ;-)
So thanks Lori!

Greets, Sebas.

+ Comment by Lorinator
2007-07-11 16:39:53

Have fun at the Academy, Sebas. And don’t worry about sweeping — it’s a highly overrated technique. To be honest, I only write posts about sweeping arpeggios, shredding and playing fast for the Google Juice (that’s the kind of thing people search for). I’d rather play my little melodies and long screamy notes any day… ;-)

+ Comment by Kristof
2007-07-11 21:54:51

I hate sweeping too. I much prefer to just use the Hoover.

+ Comment by Stephen H
2010-01-15 18:52:52

I never “Hoover” ! – I always “Dyson” !

Y’ okay Kristof ?!

+ Comment by JT
2007-07-12 00:47:26

Hi Lori,

Regarding your remark about economy picking, do you always do strictly alternate picking (besides stuff like sweeps obviously)?

I’m asking because when starting out guitar I learned economy picking without realizing it and now I’m stuck with it. As far as soloing goes it works and I don’t really mind it that much, but especially when playing one-string riffs on lower strings the notes seem to lack definition when doing economy. The thought of mastering both alternate and economy seems a bit overwhelming to me though (I multitask like Windows – if I have to figure out mid-song if the next pattern is economy or alternate I’ll just crash and burn). Is it possible to un-learn 7 years worth of economy picking and is the switch worth it in the end?


+ Comment by Lorinator
2007-07-12 01:04:07

Kristof: Me too, except that my method is to let OTHER PEOPLE use the hoover. *snort*
JT: Until recently I’ve been totally ad-hoc with my picking. Never really analyzed it or cared much about it. Maybe that’s one reason I’m not a better player. Anyway, as soon as I feel really comfortable with the alternate picking I’ll start working on economy picking as well. It has a cool fluid sound.
I’m quite sure that undesirable old habits can be replaced with good ones; all you need is patience and tenacity! I suppose the ideal is to be able to effortlessly pick any way you like. But there is also something to be said for not worrying about your weaknesses, and focusing on turning your strengths into kick-ass superpowers! In your case, that would mean becoming a terrifying economy picker (if you aren’t already).

+ Comment by jomaheux
2007-07-12 03:25:25

Hi again Lori and everyone,

I’m commenting here on Lori’s last four post so i’m not all over the place in the “recent comments” section.So here i go…

I’ve checked the music made by the new SoPies prior to joining the band and they all ROCK THE BLOCK!

To Nick:regarding the Troy Stetina approach,that’s pretty much what i was hinting at in the lengthy explaination about getting used to the speed.
Speaking of speed,doing some easier patterns than the the one featured in this thread(examples below),Monday evening after work,althought feeling sluggish because of the high temperature and humidity in Quebec,i did a few “speed bursts” of 16th note at 240 bpm(16 notes per seconds).At that speed,it starts to sound like those aforementionned maniacs.Maybe they can push it to 360 but i’m not sure.I stopped for a few minutes and could never go back to that,as if it was a momentum in my routine.
The patterns(strict alternate picking always starting on a downstroke):
E __12__10__________12__10__________
B __________12__10__________12__10__

E ______________07__10__07__________
B __10__07__08______________08__07__

E ______________07__08__07__08__10__
B __07__08__10______________________

…and a little Malmsteen pattern on one string:

E __15__12__13__15__13__12__…

This last one being played usually as a sextuplet(6 notes per beat).
6 notes per beat at 160=4 notes per beat at 240.
Thanks to Captain Zilog for the tabbing he did.I would never have thought of doing it that way.

I like sweeping,it’s much less noisy than Hoovering,plus i have mainly hardwood floors.

To Sebas:i’ve checked your stuff(i always check when people’s name are in pink)and i’m pretty sure that whatever technique you’ll learn will be put to good use.

Of course,one can turn his strenght to super powers,look at Joe Satriani,Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich who both play they fast stuff mainly legato.In rock and metal,as long as the rythm guitar is played with great attitude and confidence,the solos can can be executed in many different ways.

At last,about the learning mechanisms,for myself,i find that getting enought sleep is important.And if i want to sleep less,i have to be quite disciplined about my diet,so no cookies(or Plops or whatever!) and milk before hitting the bed if i’m going to have only 5 to 6 hours of sleep.In fact,i try to avoid eating anything at least 3,preferably 4 hours before it’s bedtime.But that’s for me and it may not work for everyone.

Type to you later!

+ Comment by Kristof
2007-07-12 08:21:35

Would that be possible? Play guitar with a hoover? I mean, Paul Gilbert plays guitar with a drill!

+ Comment by jomaheux
2007-07-13 03:16:34

Maybe with a Constellation model,using the TurboPOWER nozzle

+ Comment by DmoniK
2007-07-17 23:32:35

well.. its true that practicing works.. but yesterday i played the same til 115 bpm, i was finely doing that but suddently i felt my finger going to die :O … then today im telling you this cuz i got tendinitis.. but the lesson is great :D !


+ Comment by Alec
2009-12-01 04:22:29

so to do that lick we would need to do 4 notes per click on a metronome right

+ Comment by Lorinator
2009-12-01 13:06:26

That is correct — 4 notes per click.

+ Comment by Luka
2009-12-02 01:46:45

Hey Lori!

I have a question.

For the last two years or so, Ive been ocupied with my right hand technique. So now Ive finaly found a positions that is almost the same for strumming, fast picking, sweeping…Its been some two months or so, when I started to play unanchored and with movement from the wrist.

My maximum speed one one string was some 150bpm (16th notes). Ive reached this speed with alot of tension im my arm and only one one string.

I practice from 3-6 hours every day (except when serious hangover :) …), but can not play above 120bpm (16th notes) if im playing more than one string.

I must be doing something wrong, but am not sure what.

Its realy frustrating to put so much effort into guitar playing but have no results, but Im not giving up, as guitar playing is the only thing I love to do.

I start out by practicing slow without a metronome, than when I can play the lick, I start practicing with a metronome at soe 72 or 80bpm.

I speed up to about 120bpm, for that I need at least two hours, maybe three. But when I reach 120, my muscles start to tension up. Without the muscle tension I can not play above 108bpm (16th notes).

And it seems that no matter how much I practice, I cant speed up.

Am I speeding up to quickly? Should the speeding up be done with no tension at all?

Ive read books, from Troy Stetina, where he suggest that one should force his right hand to reach new speeds ( I think this is to tension your arm slightly).

Shawn Lane also said, that a balance between loosenes and tension should be found?

What could I be doing wrong?

Is it that Ive changed my right hand picking style and my wrist muscles need to develop first and all this just takes more time?

Greeting from Slovenija,


+ Comment by Random rocker 123
2009-12-22 13:51:54

I’ve been practicing the slow exersize with a different piece of tab, and have been progressing slowly. I think it sounds better than the example tab, so here it is.


Each note is 1/16th so it should take roughly 2 bars. Use the same technique described above and you should really increase your speed.

PS: Does anyone here collect Total Guitar? It’s a great magazine!!

+ Comment by Deborah S.
2010-01-08 02:50:32

Lori –Thank you for posting this helpful info! Your blog has been very motivational.

Quick question. I’ve hit a wall (speedwise) with alternate picking, and someone suggested trying economy (cross) picking. In this post, though, you seem to suggest that this quick fix harms technique over the long-run. Is that because economy picking is inherently bad, or because you were using a combination of alternate and economy picking? If anyone has thoughts on alternate vs. crosspicking, please share. Thanks!


+ Comment by Lorinator
2010-01-13 15:40:35

Deborah, it’s important to keep in mind the distinction between (A) consciously choosing to use economy picking and (B) sloppy-ass alternate picking. I would never say that one method is better than another; they both have their advantages and disadvantages. Hope this clears things up!

+ Comment by hotsutff
2010-01-10 07:57:52

I am confused. Perhaps I mean something else when I use the term “economy” picking. Economy picking is faster than alternative picking, see here:

+ Comment by Lorinator
2010-01-13 15:46:16

Both alternate picking and economy picking are viable, useful techniques. They have different sounds and applications, and players are wise to choose appropriately. In my article I never meant to imply that there was anything wrong with economy picking.

+ Comment by rock
2010-01-12 03:21:15

I realy do like to practice no i think every body should practice and not just sit on the couch and whath stupid old t.v. shows.LOL! But i realy do think people shouldstop wasteing time. :woohoo:

Thanks for listening!
the Angel

that rocks!

P.S. :banana: :woohoo: :twisted: :geek: :!: ;-)

+ Comment by jomaheux
2010-01-15 05:40:10

Hi there!

One amazing picker i found about,thanks to this blog ;-) ,is fellow canadian Conrad Simon.
First,i was impressed by what i heard,because the guy is no poster on youtube.His articulation is totally impeccable.I know for a fact that he uses a lot of economy picking.
Anyways,check him out:

+ Comment by Stephen H
2010-01-15 19:14:36

Totally off-topic, but a belated “Happy New Year” Jomaheux !

Also of course, Lori, and (like-wise) to one n’ all !

2010 ?! – Unreal !

+ Comment by jomaheux
2010-01-17 02:21:00

Thanks Stephen! Happy New Year to you also and of course to our charming and sweet hostess and to everyone reading this. :guitar:


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