Guitar Speed Trainer
Interactive training software to develop kick-ass speed, precision and groove on guitar. [Testimonials]

To play guitar FAST, with PRECISION and GROOVE, you really, really, really need to do these three things right:

Note: everything you read on this page is based on direct experience. We have been creating and refining training software for musicians for more than 20 years. During this time we also answered some 50,000 emails from users of our software, with all kinds of suggestions, comments, feature requests, and feedback on countless different training techniques. Everything that we learned along the way was used to improve our training software as much as possible, and everything that you read in these pages is also based on this accumulated experience.

1. Understand the difference between walking and running

Imagine training for the 100 meters dash race by walking as fast as possible...

I know, it sounds ridiculous, but this is exactly the mistake that most guitarist make -- possibly including yourself!

When it comes to playing fast, the first thing that you must know and use in your training is that playing fast is an entirely different process from playing at slow or medium speed.

Playing fast requires different posture, different movements, different muscles, and even different ways of holding the pick, compared to playing at slow and medium speed.

If you simply take you medium-speed playing, and try to do it faster and faster, you will fail. You will never be able to go beyond a limited threshold. Just like you will never be able to walk faster than a limited threshold, no matter how long you practice and how hard you try.

In fact, do you feel frustrated because you don't make progress in your playing speed and quality? Do you even wonder if there's something wrong in your hands or in your brain, which is preventing you from playing as fast and smooth as many others?

If you do, I have some good news. There is nothing wrong with you. There is only a problem in the way you are training -- you are trying to reach the speed of running by increasing your walking speed, which of course is never going to work.

And the solution, of course, is to stop walking and start running!

So, make no mistake. Playing fast is a completely different process than playing at slow or medium speeds. With the right speed-playing technique and with an effective training method, you can make a lot of progress even in a relatively short time. And vice-versa, without a good speed-oriented technique, and without an effective training strategy, it is impossible to go beyond a medium playing speed, just like it is impossible for the fastest walk in the world to get anywhere near the speed of running.

Bottom line: I strongly recommend that the first thing for you to do is to learn a real good speed playing technique and an effective training strategy to put it into practice.

If you have access to a good teacher, I recommend that this is what you should ask for and focus on for at least a few months.

I also recommend that you install the Guitar Speed Trainer software and learn everything you can from it. Even with only the free trial version of the course, you will get a lot of critical information, play-along demonstrations, and training guidelines that you can start to apply immediately.

Let's continue with our list...

2. Practice at the ideal training speed

Practicing too slow is a waste of time. You don't become a fast runner by taking long walks in the park. Sure, take all the walks you want and enjoy them, but also understand that if you want to develop your top speed you must practice in a way that works.

Practicing too fast is a waste of time AND a sure way to develop bad habits and a sloppy, error-ridden playing style. If you spend too much time playing at a speed where you make a lot of mistakes, then your brain will learn to accept terrible playing as good and normal, and that will make it extra-difficult to remove those mistakes and bad habits and play faster and clean. That's the opposite of what you want!

OK, so what's then the best practice speed?

Here's the answer, read it carefully:

You will make the most progress in the shortest time by practicing from slightly below to slightly above your top clean speed for that material at that time.

Let me explain it with an example:

Let's say that you are practicing a scale, and that right now you can play it clean up to a metronome speed of 100 BPM. Above that speed, your playing becomes sloppy, you start to make misakes, and so on.

Therefore, right now, for that scale, your "top clean speed" is 100, and the ideal training speed for the maximum skill development is from slightly below that to slightly above that, let's say from 90 to 110/115 BPM or so.

Please note that your top clean speed can change a lot from one moment to another: For example, after even just 5 minutes of practice your top clean speed could easily be 10 or 20 BPM higher than at the beginning of your training session.

Your top clean speed also changes a lot depending on what you are playing at the moment -- a familiar scale in a familiar position on the fretboard will have a much higher top clean speed compared to a less familiar scale or a less familiar position.

Bottom line: if you want to make a lot of progress in the shortest possible time, you should always fine-tuning your practice speed according to your current top clean speed, for that material.

Failure to do that, practicing at whatever speed you feel like, means that you are only getting 5% or 10% of the benefit that you could get if only you paid attention to this crucial detail.

In this regard, the Guitar Speed Trainer program places enormous importance on practicing at the ideal training speed. You'll find explanations and demonstrations in the free trial version, and even more advanced information and training material in the full version.

3. Practice your most important material at ALL speeds

This point does not help you increase your top speed, but is extremely important in developing precision and a great groove, which is one the most important qualities for any musician. After all, whatever you play, fast or slow, only sounds good if you can groove, swing, be in the pocket, or whatever you want to call the ability to play with a great sense of time.

Now, there are many aspects to playing with great groove, and we cannot cover them all here, but here I'd like to tell you about one simple thing that can greatly improve your playing with very little effort.

In fact it's so simple, and so beneficial, that once you know it, it would be foolish not to do it regularly.

It's simply this:

From time to time, practice your most important material at all speeds, from very slow to your top clean speed.

What's your "most important material"? If you play Jazz standards, the head (original melody) of the tunes would qualify as important. If you play songs with written lines or non-improvised solos, this would also be considered as important material for you. I think you get the idea.

Now, many people treat their most important material like this:

1. They learn it bit by bit, playing it slow a few times until you get it, and then try to play it at the real speed as soon as possible.

2. After learning it, they occasionally practice it again, whenever they feel the need, by playing it at its standard speed.

Is that what you do too?

Now, while there's nothing wrong with that, I will argue that if that's all you do, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to easily play your important material much better than you currently do.

What I recomment is this.

From time to time, pick one of your important parts and practice playing it at all speeds, starting at a slow speed and very gradually, through small incremental steps, play it over and over until you reach your top clean speed.

Note that this is regardless of the speed at which the part is supposed to be played -- whether it is a slow ballad or a fast solo, practice playing it all the way from a pretty slow speed and all the way up to your top speed.

The first few times you do this, you may be surprised to find the exercise more difficult than expected.

For example, you may very well be able to play a certain phrase very well at high speed, but when you slow it down you may be surprised to discover that you start to make mistakes, or that you can't play it with good time.

The goal of this exercise should be that you can play your important material at any speed, with good time, while enjoying the whole experience.

And if you do this, you cannot fail to notice that the next time you will play the part in its normal way, you will have a much higher confidence in yourself, you will have a much more refined sense of time, a much finer level of control over how you want to make it sing and swing and groove.

And if you were to record your standard performance before and after this all-speed exercise, you will definitely notice a big difference, a big improvement.

The Guitar Speed Trainer software contains a special training tool, the "Speed Curve Trainer", which makes the all-speed exercise super-easy to do. You'll find several examples and play-along demonstrations in the free trial version of the program.

Bottom line: You can do this playing along with GST's Speed Curve Trainer, or you can do it manually with any old metronome, but do include this training strategy into your musical life -- it's too useful and too easy to ignore.

+1: Use the Speed Curve Trainer tool

While the previous points may be put into practice with or without the help of the Guitar Speed Trainer software, in this final point I'll describe an extremely effective training strategy that uses a unique GST feature: the Speed Curve Trainer.

With this tool you can prepare a sequence of metronome speeds (the "speed curve") and then play along with the trainer as goes through the sequence, i.e. the speed curve.

GST also includes a selection of play-along exercises with an integrated speed curve, which makes it extremely easy for you to practice not only at the ideal training speed, but with the ideal speed curve, which is the absolute best way of mastering any material by quickly developing your speed, precision and groove.

In the GST software you'll find all the details of how the speed curve trainer works, together with examples, demonstrations, and the ready-made exercises, but the bottom line is that the speed curve trainer gives you such good and quick results because it helps you to play along with the learning material by starting a little below your top clean speed, then gradually increase the play-along speed until it is slightly beyond your top speed, and then gradually coming back down a little.

The result is that your top speed is gently stretched, gently increased, forcing you to practice at near 100% of your ability all the time. And when this happens, you will not fail to notice that you will make progress two or five or ten times faster than ever before. What more can I tell you? If you're interested in serious improvement of your playing, I won't ask you to necessarily believe in what I say, I won't ask you to necessarily believe in what other people say, but I'll only ask you to try it out for yourself. Try it out seriously and then draw your own conclusions about what it is truly possible for you to achieve with this kind of help.

Wishing you all the best,

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