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Speedy Ideas Series 1: Building Speed

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This tutorial covers a method of building speed at playing scale sequences on one string. We'll start with a focus on efficient picking hand technique and control. Then we'll add a focus on fretting hand positions to play both the minor and major diatonic scales linearly on one string. Finally we'll combine these techniques into several exercises designed to help gain and improve speedy scale line playing. The key to training your mind and body to do some specific physical technique is repetition of the proper motions until they become second nature.

We'll use notes from the A minor and A major scales. We'll sequence the notes into patterns you can visualize in certain hand positions. This makes it easier to plan ahead while being able to shift your way through the entire scale along the fretboard. All the patterns in this tutorials are are on one string, in this case the high E string. You can of course apply it to every string and I encourage you to do so. In later tutorials we'll use more than one string at a time.

It can be helpful in terms of physical dexterity to practice things like chromatic patterns or symmetrical fretboard shapes. However, I personally prefer to practice patterns I will actually use when playing music. That's why we'll focus on sequencing scales.

You can use an electric guitar with a gain tone or a clean tone. You can use an acoustic guitar or nylon string guitar. I'm using an electric with some gain because I'm approaching this from a rock guitar style.

I'm using a relatively thick pick at 1.5mm. I find that thicker picks are stiffer & bend less making it easier to pick faster. Tilt the pick at roughly a 45 degree angle from the length of the string as well as perpendicular to the plane of the strings. Every individual player has to experiment with the positioning and tension of holding the pick to find the optimal way to do this technique.

Lesson Info
Speedy Ideas Series 1: Building Speed