Fingerstyle Guitar Exercises for Speed

Learn exercises that will help you play faster from guitarist Adam Smale in this online guitar lesson from Howcast.


I'm going to show you an exercise to help build your speed up. If that's something that you're looking to do, you're never going to get that fast unless you learn how to sync your right and left hand up together to work at the same time. So what I'm going to do is show you an exercise that you can play on a single string that uses both hands, and if you start off slow . . . and again, I'm always going to preach here. If you use a metronome, start up slow, and you'll gradually build your speed up, and you'll be able to play super fast.

Here it goes. I'm going to start on the third string at the 12th fret. And the really cool thing about this exercise is you can kind of kill two birds with one stone, actually. You can pick any scale to do this with. Right now, I'm just going to pick a scale that comes from harmonic minor. And what you do is I'm going to play 16th notes, which is a ratio of four to one, meaning I'm going to play four notes for every beat.

I'm going to start at the 12th fret with my first finger. And it doesn't matter which finger you use. You can use multiple fingers. You can use one finger over and over. It doesn't really matter.

[playing guitar]

I'll do it again.

[playing guitar]

So this technique that I'm using here is I'm reverting back to my usual default technique of being able to play fast, which is my thumb and index finger, alternating back and forth. But you could practice it with the piccato technique.

[playing guitar]

That works, too. This is a great exercise. Once you build your speed up, you'll be flying.

[playing guitar faster]

Hoy! [laughs]

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