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Tom Hess: How To Make Fast Guitar Playing Effortless With Directional Picking

How To Make Fast Guitar Playing Effortless With Directional Picking
by Tom Hess

Your guitar speed improves at a quicker pace as soon as you begin using efficient picking hand technique. By using directional picking, you make fast playing much easier. The motions used to pick reduce in size and become faster. This leads to faster guitar speed with minimal effort. The following video shows how directional picking helps you play fast on guitar with ease:

Note: watch the whole video to understand the remaining points in this article!
Commonly Asked Question: “Tom Hess, is directional picking only compatible with 3-note-per-string scales? Does it work with scales that use more than 3 notes on a single string… and/or pentatonic scales?

Answer: Directional picking technique will work in all cases. The main principle of directional picking is to use the shortest route from one note to the next. Occasionally this means using alternate picking. Sometimes, this means to only use sweep picking and NOT use alternate picking. By combining both mechanics together, you will achieve the fastest speed possible with the least amount of effort.

It is a mistake to use exclusively alternate picking, because this means sacrificing efficiency in some situations… leading to more effort to achieve less overall speed.
To completely master directional picking, you’ll have to learn how to seamlessly combine sweep picking and alternate picking together. By working on 3-note-per-string scales, you force yourself to improve this part of your playing and will master it much faster.

These are the five steps to follow in order to master directional picking with 3-note-per-string scales:

1. Focus Exclusively On The Picking Motion
First, mute all the strings with your fretting hand to keep them from making noise as you pick. This is essential for programming the correct picking motion into your picking hand and keeping your focus on the motion itself. Now do this:

  • -Play an upstroke on the high E string (the thinnest string) as you mute it.
  • -Play a downstroke on that same string.
  • -Play another upstroke on the string and pull the hand back towards the B string using a single sweep picking motion. Play an upstroke on the B string.
  • -Play a downstroke on the B string.
  • -Play an upstroke on the B string again, repeating the same sweep picking motion before towards the G string. Play an upstroke on the G string.
  • -Keep playing this pattern to complete the rest of the scale.
  • Play the video beginning at 50 seconds to observe a demonstration of how to correctly use these picking motions.

2. Play 3-Note-Per-String Chromatic Patterns
Once you can easily pick through the pattern from step 1, transition to playing 3-note-per-string chromatic patterns. As an example, use only your first three fingers to play frets 10, 11 and 12 on each string. This will both improve your 2-hand synchronization skills and help you stay focused on the motion being used in your picking hand.

3. Improve The Picking Motion Through Continuous Repetition
To form a good habit, you have to train yourself to repeat the correct movements. Use laser-like focus to get through this step as fast as possible. Focus on:

  • -Using Correct Pick Position: Hold the pick higher up to expose more of its surface area and dig it down deeper into the strings. Don’t merely use the tip. This makes the notes louder without having to pick harder.
  • -Using Correct Pick Angle: Pick the strings at a 45-degree angle. This will make picking easier and give you a nicer tone.
  • -Using Strong Articulation: Use more force to pick in order to give the notes more articulation and bring out inconsistencies in your 2-hand synchronization.

4. Put Directional Picking In Context Using Scales
Integrate directional picking into all the scales you already know. Having the ability to play string changes with 3-note-per-string chromatic patterns helps you play any 3-note-per string scale faster and with less effort.

5. Use Solid Speed Building Strategies To Become A Much Faster Player
Before you can play fast without much effort, you’ll need to have built a solid foundation with your technique. To fully reach your guitar speed potential, you need to have one or more effective speed building strategies in place.

This guitar player speed building resource shows you how to easily double your guitar speed while cutting your practice time in two.

About The Author:

Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar player, composer and international guitar teacher. He also helps musicians learn guitar online and reach their guitar playing goals. Visit his rock and metal guitar lessons site to read more articles about guitar playing, plus get free guitar tips and guitar playing resources.

About The Author

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