3 Reasons Why Guitarists Can't Increase Their Speed
Written by Brandon D'Eon on Oct. 16th 2019
I’m not one to say speed is the most important thing. In fact, it’s definitely not… Yet us guitarists are drawn to it. It probably has something to do with the fact that to non-musicians it looks insanely flashy and let’s face it – us humans crave the approval of others. We want their respect. It’s just human nature. I don’t personally think that’s a good system to live by as caring about the opinion of others too much whether it be positive or negative can lead to toxic thoughts and behavior… BUT that’s a conversation for another day. For now, let’s discuss why guitarists can’t actually get faster with their playing.

Reason 1: (The Obvious Reason) They Have Poor Technique

  It is no secret that in order to play fast lines, you must have good technique. If your hands are not in sync with one another your playing will sound sloppy. So how do we solve this problem? The solution is easy in theory, but hard in execution. To have better technique, just practice your damn technique! It’s as simple as that. The reason guitarists struggle with doing this isn’t because they aren’t capable, it is because of other reasons in their life. They lack the discipline it takes to sit down for 30 minutes a day and just work on some right-hand technique. Again this is such an easy fix, but many ignore this daily habit because they would rather watch Netflix or hang out with their girlfriend. 

Reason 2: (The Less Obvious Reason) They Can’t Process Fast Lines in Their Head

The first reason we covered is the fault of the guitarist being lazy. This second reason is tougher to fix. You see in order to be able to play fast lines, you must first be able to hear them in your head. You have to be able to process what is going on. Fast lines can be hard to actually hear sometimes because they blow by you with 20 notes per second. The way to solve this issue is by slowing down the section and paying attention to the rhythm of the notes as opposed to the notes specifically. Hearing the rhythm is more important than the notes. But since us guitarists tend to go straight to the good stuff like soloing, we ignore the fundamentals like rhythm. It’s kind of funny to think about. 

This is actually where I cut you some slack because people don’t talk about developing a good sense of rhythm. Many guitar teachers don’t even teach it. Perhaps that’s the reason guitar teachers are attracted to my content…

Reason 3: The Mental Block

Forget about your guitar for a second. For some reason, guitarists have it in their mind that they’ll “never be able to play fast” which is absolute garbage. If you want to play fast, you must believe that you are capable of playing fast. We aren’t talking about anything technical here. Look it might sound goofy but it’s the truth. Your thoughts shape you. People that lack confidence in certain areas of their life tend to lack confidence in everything they do to some extent. Do you ever notice that some people just seem to be amazing at everything and very successful while other people can’t afford their rent and their apartment/relationship is a disaster? It’s because of how they think. I’m telling you if you don’t think you can play fast, you can’t. Period. 

So how do you solve this issue? Think about accomplishments you’ve achieved. How hard were they? And if you can conquer them, why can’t you conquer other things? I personally believe I am capable of whatever I set my mind to and you should be to. So next time you are practicing, adjust that metronome to 140 instead of 120 and see what happens. You might play like a train wreck, but keep it there for a few days. You might just surprise yourself.


Brandon D'Eon

Brandon D'Eon is an online guitar personality who helps people reach their maximum potential on the instrument. He is an expert at using data and measurements to track progress of students and making the processes simple to follow. If you're interested in talking with Brandon 1 on 1 (for free) then definitely reach out and request a free strategy session today.
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