Some tips to playing fast guitar licks

If you are playing fingerstyle guitar songs, chances are you will come across a fast lick. Here are three tips on how to practice and play these fast guitar licks successfully as a fingerstyle guitarist.

Tips to Practice Fast Guitar Licks

1. Play With Precise Fingering Patterns

Were you taught this method: play the lick over and over again, slowly at first, then faster, and the speed will come naturally?  This is not very good advice – some licks are impossible to speed up due to fingering pattern problems.

You need to practice a lick slowly using the exact fingering pattern that you will use when you will be playing quickly.

Study other guitarists to create fast licks

If you are stuck on which fingering pattern to use, study other guitarists and use their fingering pattern.

2. Don't Use Big Stretches

Big stretches actually don’t work very well for accuracy in fast passages. Consider using small shifts instead of no more than two frets.

3. Use Legato Technique

When we practice scales, generally every single note is picked. This isn’t the case with licks as we can use pull-offs and hammer-ons anywhere in our lick. These slurs are used to avoid picking all the notes. This can also help you create an efficient right hand picking pattern.

If the picking pattern doesn’t allow for an easy string crossing, you can slur into the note that precedes the awkward fingering.