3 Helpful Guitar Technique Shortcuts That Greatly Increase Your Speed & Make Playing Guitar Feel Effortless

By Tom Hess

Why are shortcuts so awesome?

They often get rid of hard and unnecessary work from our lives.

This is why we constantly look for shortcuts (and nothing is wrong with that!).

Your bicycle, your cellphone, your dryer, your freezer… these are all shortcuts that make your life a lot easier than it would be without them.

So are there are shortcuts you can use to make guitar playing easier as well?

You know it!

Now I am giving you the greatest guitar playing shortcuts from THREE amazing guitar teachers (who are all former students of mine).

Let’s get into it!

Guitar Technique Shortcuts Group 1: Efficiency Shortcuts

(Demonstration given by myself and pro guitar instructor Dan Mayhew, from the UK)

Get started by checking out this video to see how to make guitar technique more efficient:


What’s the best way to use this in your guitar playing now?

Have a look at this:

Picking Hand Efficiency:

Keep your pick close to the strings whenever you can.


Because every millimeter of unnecessary motion you make with your pick slows down your speed.

Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say you want to play one thousand notes per minute (this comes out to 16.7 notes per second).

Every millimeter of motion you make takes away from the # of notes you can play for that one second.

Additional efficiency tip: don't move the pick using your index finger and thumb.

When picking on a single string: use your wrist to move the pick. When switching strings: use your forearm.

Fretting Hand Efficiency:

Read below to find out how to make your fretting hand very efficient:

  1. Fretting notes using the tips of your fingers (not by using the padding). This is how you make clear sounding notes while using the least pressure possible.

Want an easy way to tell if you are doing this the right way?

Play guitar in front of a mirror and watch your fingers.

  1. Keep your fingers close to the strings after playing a note.

This is critical after a pull off. The closer you keep your finger to the string, the faster you can complete the next pull off.

Notice: Don’t sacrifice articulation for efficiency. You can play pull offs with a lot of power while moving your fingers efficiently as well.

Want to learn more ways to play with better technique and speed on guitar? Study this free guitar playing speed eGuide and discover how to play guitar unbelievably fast.

Guitar Technique Shortcuts Group 2: Excess Tension Control Shortcuts

(Taught by expert guitar instructor Mike Philippov from the USA)

Having tons of muscle tension in your body kills your guitar technique.

How do you get rid of it?

Check out this video to learn 3 quick shortcuts to get rid of excess tension from your playing forever:


Here is how to utilize these shortcuts to your guitar playing today:

Step 1: Pick any exercise you want to play much better.

Step 2: Now choose a metronome tempo that you can confidently play at without feeling a ton of tension.

This means not having any tension in:

…your fingers, stomach, chest, legs, face, tongue, shoulders, arms, forearms and feet.

Repeat your exercise at that same tempo 10 times.

Step 3: Set your metronome tempo up by 5 beats per minute. Then repeat the exercise seven more times while staying relaxed.

Raise the tempo gradually and focus on keeping your body relaxed.

When you do this, your guitar playing becomes easier and playing guitar licks and solos that felt unplayable before now become effortless.

Guitar Technique Shortcuts Group 3: Fretting Hand Bio-Mechanics Shortcuts

(Taught by expert guitar instructor Tommaso Zillio, PhD from Canada).

Want to improve your fretting hand’s ability to play large stretches without needing any plastic surgery?

Then this video is what you need:


How to use these shortcuts to improve your guitar playing:

Tip #1: Play guitar licks that you have a hard time with and focus on your fretting hand position.

Pay particular attention to your thumb.

Adjust your thumb position to match the position you just saw in the video.

…and watch as it feels much easier to play these licks.

Tip #2: On occasion, you must wrap the thumb over the top of the guitar neck.


Because it’s the most effective way to bend strings in tune and make your vibrato sound great.

Want to see an example? Watch this video:


Take this action:

Practice both playing with your thumb over the top of the neck and playing with it behind the neck. Then practice changing between the two positions to make it effortless to play fast and clean.

Tip #3: When you change positions on guitar, make sure your thumb is behind your middle finger.

Here is what you should not to do:

Don’t let your thumb to point towards where the headstock of the guitar is.

Why not?

This makes it incredibly hard to spread your fingers and play guitar fast.

After you play with the right thumb position, it becomes easy to play stretches that felt impossible before.

You now understand how to make your guitar playing feel easy and sound better. The next step is to learn other excellent strategies that quickly develop your technique and speed. Study this free guitar playing speed eGuide and discover how to play guitar unbelievably fast.


Author's Bio: 

About The Author:

Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and composer. He teaches guitar players from all over the world in his online guitar lessons. Learn more on the Tom Hess Wikipedia page.