Learn To Play Faster With These 3 Tips! (Part 1)

Fun Fact: The first band that I was in was a thrash metal style band. 

So playing fast is something that I know a lot about. Whether you are playing speed metal, Jaco Pastorius-esque jazz, classical or any other type of music that requires speed this is important to know. 

But just because you want to play fast does not mean you should. Playing fast notes can have negative consequences if you are not using it correctly. The rhythm, beat, and flow of the music should guide the speed of your notes.  

The following tips I am going to give you, you can use to play with your fingers or with a pick. I am a finger playing so any song examples will be done with them.  

TIP #1: Take it slow! Yes you heard that right. Taking it slow is the key to playing fast because you want every note you play to sound smooth and concise. 

It is not normal for our hands and fingers to play so fast so it is an esaier adjustment to just slow it down. 

Playing notes in twos, threes and fours will help build speed, rhythm, and stamina. At the end of this article I include exercises for you to follow. I will be including another video with advanced exercises.

It is ideal to practice these exercises daily to build up your speed.

TIP #2: Listen to what you are wanting to play over and over again. 

From there, I want you to pick a couple of songs that you have been wanting to play and start off by playing them slow. Increase your speed as needed. This will help you learn the songs progressions, rhythm and more. 

I encourage you to ear train but if you are crunched for time or you need to learn a song quickly, tabs are good to do too.

As important as it is to play different exercises and scales all day, it is important to put this into practice. 

Practicing your favorite songs will get you to more than likely stick with a routine and have a beautiful pay-off in the end. 

I chose Got The Time by Anthrax and Master of Puppets for songs for me to learn to play fast. 

TIP #3: Take It One Note At A Time: When playing fast it is important to not rush through notes because it can sound messy. In the exercises below, I have outlined various ways that you can play fast note by note. 

I use a combination of 8th notes and 16th notes played two, three and four times to demonstrate the different types of speed you will encounter. 

If you want to start off easy, I would suggest doing each note four times, then three then two and finally one time. 

Counting each time will help you get the rhythms and speed down as well. You can also use a BPM online to play at a certain speed as well. 

EXERCISES

It is ideal to practice these exercises daily to build up your speed.

*Something to keep in mind that it is totally normal for your hands to cramp and be sore. When you feel a cramp coming on take a break, stretch your wrists and hands, and go back to practicing when you’re ready. This just means that good change is coming your way!

It takes time to learn to play fast so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it down right away. Playing music is a lifelong journey full of practice and constant learning. 

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