Have you been struggling to increase your guitar speed? Has your guitar picking reached a standstill? Only recently did I come to notice a seemingly insignificant flaw in my guitar practice routine that was holding me back that I can bet you'll find in your own playing.

This poor guitar technique was making my left hand move sluggishly, not only when picking fast on a single string but it was increasingly noticeable when I tried to move across strings up the fret board.


What I was doing was not lifting my up fingers after playing a note. For example, if I was playing up a scale, let's say from the fifth fret to the seventh and then eighth fret, I would simply leave my fingers down. By the time I had hit the note on the eighth fret my other fingers would be locked down in place on the fifth and seventh fret.

By not lifting my fingers slightly up from the fret board after playing I was wasting an incredible amount of energy any time I would try to repeat a series of notes like the example below. This is because instead of just nailing my finger down again, I would first have to lift them all before starting the series over again.

This technical flaw became even more clear when I tried moving across strings because they would all have to be lifted up and then moved over to the next string instead of just lifting one finger.


Fortunately I've been able to make great progress in correcting this fundamental flaw in my guitar playing rather quickly. What I did was set up a metronome to an extremely slow tempo, about 40 beats a minute. I then practiced playing up and down scales in quarter notes. By playing the guitar scales at such a slow speed I was able to focus intensely on lifting up my previous fretted finger just as I played a new note.

As a result, I'm able to play across guitar strings much more fluidly and pick each string much faster without nearly as much tension or strain.


  • Play at a very slow tempo and make sure you're lifting your fingers when you fret a new note with a different finger.
  • Play with a metronome at a very slow tempo (40 BPM) and focus on synchronizing your hands so that on the beep you move lift off your fretted finger and fret the new note with the other finger at the same time.
  • Try to fret the notes instantly when practicing at a slow tempo (think striking like a snake) instead of slowing coming down to fret the note.