The Muse's Muse  
Muses MailMuses Newsmuse chatsongwriting resource home
Regular Columnists

Learn How To Play Guitar Super Fast & Clean Using Perfect Two-Hand Synchronization - Part 1
By Tom Hess - 04/27/2015 - 04:42 PM EDT

Do you ever struggle to play guitar both fast and clean once you reach your top speed? Tons of guitar players have this same issue and attempt to resolve it by “moving their hands faster”. However, this will not help you play guitar fast and accurate. To do this, you must solve the fundamental cause of your problem. This takes more than simply practicing various speed exercises.

There are 2 fundamental elements all guitarists need to master in order to play cleanly:

-First, you must get rid of all undesired guitar string noise (learn more about this by reading this article on how to mute guitar string noise).

-Second, you must play with excellent two-hand synchronization. Two hand synchronization refers to your ability to fret and pick each note at exactly the same time. After mastering this, you’ll be able to play guitar at faster speeds without hearing muffled, inarticulate notes or making sloppy noises (that occur while picking the string too early/late).

Before you learn how to develop excellent two-hand synchronization, check out this video demonstration so you can see the MASSIVE difference it makes in the quality of your guitar playing:

Once you’ve watched the video above, perform the following (easy) adjustments in your playing in order to play faster, more accurately, and more precise while gaining greater synchronization in both hands.

Adjustment #1: Stop Holding The Guitar Pick Close To The Tip

One of the most common guitar playing problems guitarists experience occurs when they play guitar fast and hold the pick extremely close to the tip. This causes their guitar playing sound extremely weak - PARTICULARLY if you are playing without distortion. Rather than doing this, hold the pick closer to the middle.

How This Adjustment Will Improve Your Two-Hand Synchronization:

When you hold the pick further away from the end, it ensures that the pick is the only thing to come into contact with the string (instead of your thumb or the picking hand fingers). This will eliminate any unintentional harmonics that could occur and keep you playing with great 2 hand synchronization. Plus, it will make it a lot easier to feel when both of your hands contact the string at the same time. Developing this feeling should be your main objective while mastering two hand synchronization.

Even though it may feel “unnatural” to hold the pick like this, keep holding it this way for a couple of weeks straight. This tiny adjustment will make a BIG difference in the quality of your guitar playing. Go back and watch the video above and notice how big of a difference this makes for helping you to greatly improve your guitar technique.

Adjustment #2: Put The Pick Deeper Into The Strings

Place the pick deeper down into the strings (closer to the actual guitar body) as you are playing rather than merely brushing the very tip over them. This will instantly add more volume and clarity to the notes (using no additional effort). This is a very easy and natural adjustment to make whenever you become accustomed to holding the pick closer to the middle.

See the picture below:

Note: Don’t overdo this by sticking the pick too far down in between the strings. To locate the ideal medium, angle the pick at 45 degrees pointing at the head of the guitar as shown in the picture above.

How This Adjustment Will Improve Your Two-Hand Synchronization:

When you hold the pick away from the tip and place it deep into the strings it will force you to play with excellent, loud articulation. This will make it simple to feel whenever your hands are in perfect sync (unlike when you barely graze the top of the strings with the pick). It’s just not possible to articulate notes clearly whenever your hands are out of sync, so mastering articulation also forces your two hand synchronization to develop at the same time.

To quickly gain the benefits of this in your guitar playing, apply the next adjustment below:

Adjustment #3: Pick With A Lot More Force

Many people make the mistake not using much force in their picking attack whenever they play fast. Unlike fretting hand technique, which should generally involve as little energy as needed to fret the notes, your picking hand requires the use of MORE force (in contrast) to articulate every note you play. This will cause your playing to sound more clear and keep it from turning into a big mess when you play guitar at very fast speeds.

How To Put These 3 Ideas Together To Improve Your Two-Hand Synchronization:

Step 1:Choose any short and repeating exercise (like the one below) and practice it by implementing all the adjustments described in this article. It’s important to use something that is very easy to play, so you can put all your focus into the technical aspects of what you are practicing.

Hear It

Step 2:Play through the exercise you chose for a whole minute while using TONS of force in your picking attack. After the minute is through, play another minute with very little force. This will cause you to observe the level of precision in your picking hand (and will make it much easier to play in sync).

Step 3: Use only downstrokes to pick every note in the lick for two minutes.

Step 4:Use only upstrokes to pick every note in the lick for two minutes.

When you pick with additional force AND use only downstrokes / upstrokes, you will improve your ability to play articulate and clear notes at fast speeds with excellent two-hand synchronization.

Step 5:Repeat this process (the four steps above) for 15 minutes.

Now that you have a good understanding of the steps you must follow to play guitar fast and clean with great two-hand synchronization, implement the ideas you learned into any lick, phrase or solo you play. Eventually, you will gain tons of results, and the quality of your speed guitar playing will skyrocket.

To learn how to move beyond merely playing guitar faster and start developing your skills in ALL areas of guitar technique, take lessons with a good guitar teacher.


About The Author:

Tom Hess is a professional touring musician, composer and successful rock/metal guitar teacher. He helps guitarists around the world learn to play guitar online. On his website, you can find guitar playing tips, free guitar resources and more guitar articles.

[ Current Articles | Archives ]

Help For Newcomers
Help for Newcomers
Helpful Resources
Helpful Resources
Regular Columnists
Music Reviews
Services Offered
About the  Muse's Muse
About Muse's Muse
Subscribe to The Muse's News, free monthly newsletter for songwriters
with exclusive articles, copyright & publishing advice, music, website & book reviews, contest & market information, a chance to win prizes & more!

Join today!

Created & Maintained
by Jodi Krangle


© 1995 - 2016, The Muse's Muse Songwriting Resource. All rights reserved.

Read The Muse's Muse Privacy Statement