My number one tip is to find a guitar instructor who can definitely guide you in every step of this process. This is not an overnight process but you can progress pretty quickly with the right system. I don’t believe the vast majority of guitar players can do it from a book or a video or most can just build speed naturally. What if you think you are doing it right but are missing some key elements and then 3 to 6 months later you realize it’s not working. I’ve been able to help students of all ages and levels improve guitar speed dramatically and play cleanly.
2 things that need to be in place and are critical is you have to make time and schedule this specific practice into your day. I would do it the first thing of your practice. This is where your teacher should help you organize a schedule with your daily routine. The second necessary thing is to be able to track your progress. Let’s say you start playing something at 60 bpm with eighth notes comfortably. Well try to bump up the metronome each day by about 4 to 6 beats and see if it’s still comfortable to play. Keep bumping it until you are frequently missing notes then bring it back down to a number you can play smoothly and correctly. I remember when I started doing Technique exercises for about a year for an hour a day and went from a weekend band member to a gull time musician. I was asked to join several bands after that year. You can make massive progress in a year with just 15 to 20 minutes a day of the right stuff.
When you are practicing these speed development exercises or Technique exercises you do need to pay attention to your hands, play on your fingertips, is there tension in my hands or shoulders. Again, this is where a great teacher can help you know what to avoid to make the fastest progress. Some people clench their teeth, hold their breath, I used to have a lot of shoulder tension and it took me over a month of retraining to get it relaxed. It was transferring tension into my hands from the shoulders. I believe you should do right hand, left hand and a combination of synchronization exercises to get the best result. I also teach hand loosening and strengthening exercises that just take a couple minutes before you start your warmup. It’s the same idea as training for an athletic event. You don’t walk up to a bar with 200 pounds on it and lift. Or you don’t try to beat your 40 yard dash speed on your first run.
I also you a variety of methods to help you measure your progress and have fun at the same time. The metronome is what can give you feed back on your numbers to be able to track progress. For the fun factor, a drum machine and backing tracks can also help when you are able to tap the beat of the song then play eighth, triplets, sixteenth’s, etc. It’s not only playing for speed but we need practical application. If you can’t hear the rhythm in your head and tap it out you won’t be able to play it to a track. Ultimately as guitar players we want practical application of what we learn. That’s when you’re playing music and it’s not just an exercise anymore. The guitar is always about repetition but it’s the right repetition. I consider myself a guitar problem solver for my students. If you need help with guitar playing problems that frustrate you please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.. I do Skype lessons or if you are local to New Orleans, Metairie or Kenner La. I do private lessons. Keep playing, keep moving!