So for my first blog, I think I will answer the question I get asked the most. "How old are you?”. Sorry, not that one. I meant, "How do you play so fast?”. Well, it is a multitude of skills, and I will explain these.
Starting slow may seem counter-intuitive, but it is essential to playing fast. Is there a run or lick you want to learn? For example, let's use the intimidation lick from the Crossroads guitar duel (see video).
Starting to play it at 60bpm at 16th notes might not be the most exciting thing to do, but it is essential to play every note efficiently when playing fast. To play efficiently, you must start slow.
Get a metronome.
On the same train of thought as starting slow, get a metronome. There is a great app called Pro Metronome: it has tap tempo and everything you need. I would highly recommend it. However, it is a paid app. A free option is just to google “metronome” in your web browser, and it will come up with a very basic metronome that you can use when practising.
Switch to a clean channel.
While playing on the clean channel of your amp (preferably without reverb) isn't the most exciting, it does ensure you are playing each note cleanly. Trust me. It is essential as playing fast without playing cleanly is like trying to learn to drive a car on a fragile ice lake; it will work, but only to a point. It also makes the clean channel on your amp feel a little less lonely.
Practise alternate picking and legato.
This is essential. I did this by sitting down and practising all the modes of the g major scale to a metronome at 90bpm alternate picked. I repeated this many, many times, and this is what I credit for giving me the ability to alternate pick.
I saved the most important one for last: a consistent practice routine goes a long way. If you do not practise, you will not see any progress in your speed; I personally usually practise 3 hours a day, and when songwriting, I might play the guitar for over 5 hours but don't start with a practice schedule that long, you have to ease into it. Otherwise, you risk injury.
And there you have it - all my tips for playing fast.
Love you all..JB