How Playing Guitar Fast Becomes Easy With Directional Picking

Jul 11 19:35 2016 Tom Hess Print This Article

When you use efficient picking technique, fast guitar playing becomes effortless. For instance, directional picking technique (a very efficient style of picking) uses smaller, faster motions – this leads to faster playing with a less effort.

When you use efficient picking technique,Guest Posting fast guitar playing becomes effortless. For instance, directional picking technique (a very efficient style of picking) uses smaller, faster motions – this leads to faster playing with a minimal effort. This video demonstrates how directional picking can be used to play guitar faster:

Very Critical: watch the whole video to understand the remaining points in this article!

Main Question: “Tom Hess, doesn’t directional picking only work if I am using 3-note-per-string scales? What about scales that only use 2 notes on a string… 4 notes, etc.?”

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 Only 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.

Check out the video (beginning at 0:50) to see a demonstration of how to correctly use these picking motions.

  1. Play With 3-Note-Per-String Chromatic Runs

Once you can pick through the string transition in isolation, start playing 3-note-per-string chromatic runs. For instance: use only your first three fingers to play frets 1, 2 and 3 on every string. This simultaneously trains your 2-hand synchronization skills while maintaining your focus entirely on your picking hand motion.

  1. Make The Picking Motion Second Nature 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 Strong Articulation: Use more force to pick in order to give the notes more articulation and bring out inconsistencies in your 2-hand synchronization.

-Using Correct Pick Position: Don’t simply use the tip of the pick. Hold the pick between your thumb and index/middle finger higher up to pick with more surface area. Additionally, play with the pick down deeper into the strings (towards the body of the guitar). This will give your notes more volume with less effort.

-Using Correct Pick Angle: Pick the strings at a 45-degree angle. This makes picking much easier and gives you better tone.

  1. Integrate Directional Picking Into Context Using Different Scales

Start practicing any scale you can play using directional picking. Being able to play string changes on 3-note-per-string chromatics helps you play any 3-note-per string scale effortlessly and fast.

  1. 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 speed resource shows you how to play faster while practicing less.

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About Article Author

Tom Hess
Tom Hess

About The Author:
Tom Hess is a professional recording artist, composer, and expert guitar instructor. He teaches and trains guitarists how to become great musicians in his online rock guitar lessons. Visit to receive additional free guitar playing resources and to read more guitar articles.

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