The Importance of Using Small Movements in Your Guitar Playing

When building speed picking or in our fretting of notes, the key is to economize movement as much as possible.  If you watch some of the fastest guitar players, the speed at which their fingers move is fast, but not blindingly fast.  A great guitar player will make playing fast look effortless.  So how do they play so fast, with so little effort.  The answer is by using as small movements as possible.  The extra distance your fingers have to move to the frets can cut your speed in half or more.  Try to keep your fingers in position and within a centimeter of the strings.

Also, when fretting notes try to keep the last joint of your fingers bent down toward the strings and don’t let your fingers fly up away from the fret board after you have picked a note.  This unnecessary movement can slow you down considerably.

When picking try to keep the distance your pick moves as small as possible.  Imagine drawing a line back and forth a piece of paper with a pencil.  Try to keep that line as short as possible.  This is much like picking a note.   We need to shorten our pick strokes only as much as needed to produce a note.

As always practice this slow at first and use a metronome, and you will see your speed increasing steadily over a few short weeks.




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