Speed Picking

Welcome to the Guitar Speed Picking Workshop

The Speed Picking Workshop is for any Guitarist looking to vastly improve their Speed, Accuracy and Coordination using an alternate picking technique. The online workshop allows you to develop this technique using a measured and methodical approach. This method promises fast, solid and measurable results for the guitarist that demands real progress and has the determination and patience to achieve their goals.

Free Speed Picking Training Demo
  • Do you want one place that has all the tools, exercises, and advice to get you up to speed?

  • Do you want a productive daily practice routine and method where you can measure your progress?

  • Do you want to play as fast as humanly possible?

  • Speedpicking.com has everything you need to reach your goals!

Get Started Now!

The Speed Picking Workshop is very easy to use all you need is your guitar, amp, browser and computer speakers. You can get started using the fully featured demo on this page right now, but before you do make sure you understand the 6 Steps below. Read it over at least 3 times! Do not cut corners, follow the method exactly and you will get excellent results!

Step 1: Philosophy

The path to playing fast is the art of mastering playing to a beat, slowly, accurately and with minimal muscle tension.

You may of heard of the term "Practice Makes Perfect". This term is incorrect. The new term you need to adopt is "Perfect Practice Makes Perfect". Make this your mantra.

Many guitarist spend hours practicing but make the same mistakes over and over, they put the time in but don't get the results. By leaving their mistakes unchecked all they are doing is training themselves to play poorly. You could not really expect that if you played something poorly 10000 times why it would get any better.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
-- Albert Einstein

Now Einstein wasn't renowned for his incredible solos but his wisdom is the key that so many guitarists fail to understand.

If you train your body to play perfectly then you will play perfectly. Conversely if you play faster than your skill level with a lot of errors over and over then you will only ever produce poor playing results. Break your cycle of producing errors now! Slow down, keep your hands relaxed and play to a beat. Playing very slowly allows you time to catch and correct any mistake before they happen allowing you to build a very solid foundation for your playing.

Step 2: Method

The Speed Picking Workshop method works in two modes, Foundation Practice Mode and Advanced Practice Mode


Foundation Practice Mode

The first thing you need is create a solid foundation for you're playing with no errors. No Errors means just that. Foundation mode runs between 20BPM to 130 BPM. Anytime you play in Foundation Mode you are not allowed to make any errors.

Start at a Target Speed of 65BMP for any new exercise
and build up gradually from there in 5BMP stages, do not jump any more than 5BMP at a time as you want to develop solid results. Do not increase the Target Speed until you can play your current Target Speed setting perfectly in a relaxed and fluid manner. Remember your ears and be honest...if it sounds average then your not ready to increase the Target Speed. If you do then your technique will stop progressing.

In Foundation Mode you are not wanting to make any errors. You're Error Margin in this Mode is 0%

Advanced Practice Mode

Once you reach Target Speeds of 150BPM and over the method changes a bit. At this point you have developed a solid technique to build on. This is where we add an "Error Margin" to the exercise. The Error Margin tells you how many mistakes you can make while the exercise is playing at its fastest point or "Peak". This can be seen visually where the progress bar is behind the yellow triangle. The Error Margin works out to be 2% of the notes you play during this Peak. The example below tells you you can make up to 6 errors during the Peak of the exercise, the rest of the exercise however must be played perfectly.


This number represents your 2% Error Margin of the notes you can play during the Yellow or Peak section of the exercise.

You're probably wondering why you now want to make errors? Well its simple and based on the same idea athletes and body builders use to get the edge. Now that you have developed a solid technique up to 150BPM you can now afford to stress the body a bit. If you stress the body outside its comfort zone it responds and tries to adapt to what your mind is telling it to do which creates results faster.

You might be thinking "why didn't we just start with this method?", well the thing is you need to be able to walk properly before you can run and that's the very reason many guitarists get to a point then find it difficult to progress by trying to play too fast too soon.

Providing you have built up a solid technique in Foundation Practice Mode you will find progress develops at a faster rate once you start practicing in Advanced Practice Mode.

To increase your Target BPM in this mode you must be able to play your current Target BPM perfectly. Only this time you can move up in increments of more than 5BPM as long as you do not exceed the Error Margin.

Step 3: The Right Hand (Picking)

Everyone has a slightly different way when it comes to the picking hand. The good thing about this is that this is where you can create your own personal tone. You have probably already developed a natural style of your own which you are comfortable with. If your happy with it and its not holding you back then stick with it.

There are 3 main methods you can choose for the picking action Wrist, Elbow and Finger/Thumb. I prefer the Wrist method. Watch guitarists that you admire and copy their method to see if it works for you.

Initially just pick the string with the very tip of the pick. Use as small a stroke as possible, economy of motion is the key.

Many fast players hold the pick at a sharp angle so that the pick easily rolls across the string this is called Angle Picking or "Slicing". Although this creates a thinner sound than Parallel Picking I recommend using Angle Picking if you are using a distorted tone .

The good thing about the "Slicing" method is you can use a lighter pick (.73mm - 1mm thickness is good) which gets a great rhythmic, scratchy tone on the lower strings when you accent the first note of each beat then use the tip of the pick for the remainder of the notes between the beat.

NB: Using a lighter pick with Parallel Picking is a bad combination as it will bend the pick too much.

Palm Muting
To control the strings as you pick dampen them by resting the side of the hands palm on strings at the bridge. You will get a different tone depending on how much weight you put on the strings.

Step 4: The Left Hand (Fretting)

Make sure your left hand is relaxed while you play. The tension in your muscles will slow you down and course you to make mistakes especially when shifting positions. The goal is to develop a relaxed and dexterous left hand that flows.


Ensure the hand is relaxed. For this exercises use the thumb position on the back of the middle of the neck. This method will give you longer reach and will make for faster position changes.


Make sure your fingers are relaxed. Curl them towards the fret board and play on your finger tips. Lift each finger as the next finger comes down so only 1 finger is ever on the fret board at any one time. Keep all other fingers not on the fret board hovering less than half an inch of the fret board but curled towards the fret board. Distance Equals Time so the closer you hover over the strings the faster and easier it will be to play. Economy of motion is key.

Step 5: Demo Chromatic Exercise

Familiarize yourself with the tablature, this simple Chromatic exercise is an excellent all round exercise for developing synchronization between both hands. All exercises use Alternate picking (Down/Up/Down/Up). This is a 16th note exercise, you play 4 notes per beat. Play through this a few times then go to Step 6.
Playing Notes:
Always accent the first note of each beat with the pick.
When ascending you can keep all your fingers fretted but make sure you move your index finger (1) to the next string as your 4th finger frets its note.

Variations for this exercise include:

  • Play the exercise using alternate picking starting with an Upstroke.
  • Play the exercise using only Down Strokes
  • Play the exercise using only Up Strokes
Step 6: Start

Ok you're good to start your practice session.

Make sure you play amplified with a clean tone as this will be less forgiving than a distorted tone. You want to be able to hear clearly any mistakes so you can correct them.

You're going to be playing at a painfully slow speed to begin with, this will give you time to correct any mistakes before they occur so focus on keeping your hands relaxed and make sure your left hand fingers hover as close to the strings as possible. Remember to accent the first note of each beat and play as accurately as possible. Even by running through this method and exercise 4 times a day you will notice results after a couple of weeks. Aim to increase your Target BMP by 5BPM a week. Click here to go to the FREE DEMO page, start the Target Speed at 65BPM, and click "Play" to play along with the exercise.

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