Speed On Guitar Is The Byproduct of Accuracy

As many of you know, Guthrie Govan is one of my top 10 all time favorite guitar players.
Guthrie published 2 books, which you can find here:

And apparently, which just found out why doing this research, Guthrie also published a volume 3 (Recording Effects), which you can get here:

Following cool information is inspired by this Creative Guitar Volume 1.

All 24 Finger Combinations.

If you place your fingers on 4 adjacent frets, and you play every note only once, then you have 24 possible finger combinations.

1234 — 2341 — 3412 — 4123
1243 — 2431 — 4312 — 3124
1324 — 3241 — 2413 — 4132
1342 — 3421 — 4213 — 2134
1423 — 4231 — 2314 — 3142
1432 — 4321 — 3214 — 2143

These 24 combinations serve as great dexterity exercises.

Here’s how you practice these 24 finger exercises:

  1. Alternate pick everything.
  2. Play the 4-note finger exercise on the low E string, starting on the 1st fret, then move on to the A string, then the D string, and so on, without any pause.
  3. When you got to the 1st string, move up 1 fret and keep doing the finger combination exercise, now moving back to the low E string, 1 sting at a time; again; without taking any pause from string to string.
  4. Move your fingers very slow and controlled. Keep your whole focus and concentration on keeping ALL your fingers as close as possible to the fret board.
  5. Do this for a week: 1 ½ minute per exercise, 12 exercises a day. (= 18 minute daily drill).
  6. THEN (2nd week): start doing the exercises with a metronome. Very slowly, playing quarter notes (1 note per beat). Go up max 3-4 beats at a time on metronome. When you get to a speed where one of your fingers wants to move more: focus harder on keeping that finger as close as possible. When you don’t seem to be able to manage to keep the revolting finger close by: slow down metronome 20 beats, and work it up again, in increments of 3-4 beats at a time.

Remember: you whole focus is on moving as little as possible, NOT on moving fast.
The moment your fingers start making big motions, you want to slow down to take control over each finger.

Conclusion.

No matter how contradictory it may sound: the more you focus on playing very slowly with minimal finger motions, and not on playing fast, the sooner you will be able to pick very fast.
When you focus on accuracy (economy of motion), you gain speed.

You might think to yourself: “Yeah, but I don’t have the intention to become a shredder”
Might very well be… but you still benefit in many other areas from gaining better control over your finger motions and from improving your coordination between both hands. Being able to pick fast lines is only one of the many benefits.

Overall: see this as some sort of meditation.
You literally feel like you’re “very in the moment” when your whole concentration is focused on the task of moving your fingers very minimally.

Not only that: many students reported something I have witnessed too.
After a while, if you focus super crazy hard on moving your next finger to the next note with as little motion as possible, after a while you can almost feel the area in your brain that takes care of the finger motions.
It’s like every time you move a finger, you feel it in your brain.
Interesting sensation.

It’s also fun to notice how, after only one week of doing these drills, you don’t have to focus so hard anymore to keep your fingers from moving when you don’t want them to move.
It’s really fun to see that progress.

Have fun moving slowly. (For now)
Very soon: you’ll be shredding with the best. 🙂

Be on the look out for more blogs about everything guitar, music, songwriting and music education.

Meanwhile: give this blog a rating and give me your feedback in the comments section below. I believe everything can always be improved, and I gladly would implement your suggestions and ideas in this blog or the next.



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