Get amazing TECHNIQUE & SPEED with these 5 simple steps. (Really) – Rotem Sivan

I Streamlined My Guitar Practice to Unlock Speed: Here’s My 6-Step Routine

For many Guitarists, nimble improvisation feels utterly magical yet unattainable. How do icons like Jeff Beck effortlessly fly across fretboards dishing licks faster than mortal ears discern intervals?

The pursuit of instrumental velocity often becomes a practice room quagmire leaving development stagnated.

Through years imprisoned by speed plateaus myself, I designed a streamlined 6-step system targeting common hurdles. By identifying core techniques, drilling fundamentals, linking physicality to musicality, and conquering weaknesses, rapid results manifest through deliberate sessions.

I’ve since saved over 3,000 hours of inefficient practicing using this routine. Read on to unlock your lightning improv potential!

Step 1: Forge Finger Independence with Dexterity Drills

Most speed barriers stem from a lack of fine finger control. My first breakthrough came in isolating individual digits with repetitive hammer-on and pull-off exercises.

Placing any finger on a single string to fret and then quickly hammer or pull notes trains intrinsic hand muscles and neural connections facilitating responsiveness. Start slowly ensuring clean articulations before incrementally ratcheting the metronome. Stay relaxed through fluctuations – velocity not duration should expand.

Once each finger flows freely, chain combinations like 1-2-3 four times then shift strings. This builds independence so lines flow rather than sticking on favored digits. Frequent short practices cement neuromuscular memory rapidly transforming static licks into fluid streams of eighth notes.

Step 2: Program Your Hands to Effortlessly Connect Notes

Hammer-ons and pull-offs constitute a guitarist’s secret weapon for velocity called legato playing. By connecting notes without retriggering with the picking hand, phrases glide seamlessly faster than alternate plucking each tone.

My next milestone came programming hands to default linking notes automatically. Set short-duration goals playing a note then smoothly hammering the next. Release left-hand pressure at the end producing clean pull-offs back to the original pitch. Loop endlessly synchronizing both hands subconsciously until cementing natural motions. Use a metronome and consciously match the desired rhythmic response as if gently plucking each note normally then accelerate tempo.

Training hands to perform these micro motions consistently prevents trips and unevenness sabotaging speedy licks. Daily balanced legato fundamentals practice untethers your runs rapidly.

Step 3: Master Metric Modulation Between Groupings

We’ve trained mechanics, now morph technique into breathtaking music. Rhythm provides the bridge between sterile exercises and soulful playing. Moving between varied subdivisions expands improvising richness so listeners crave each unexpected syncopation and phrase elongation.

Start with comfortable 16th notes before periodically modulating into quicker triplet groupings then half-time eighths. Tap your foot subdividing properly to truly feel how hammer-ons and pull-offs fit within each rhythmic grid. Get accustomed changing time feels mid-lick without losing orientation.

Sudden rhythmic shifts throw less prepared players but consciously practicing metric modulations builds critical hardness needed for melodic versus technical playing. Master various groupings masterfully manipulating time itself!

Step 4: Forge Fluidity Linking Technique to Grooves

A metronome provides essential tempo discipline. Jam simple subdivision drills over records or backing tracks instead of click tracks. Stay locked honing hammer-on legato exercises amid syncopations and chord changes keeping time steadily.

Resist temptation drifting into pure melodies prematurely – ideal practice blends some exercises undergoing refinement. Constantly oscillate between honing raw skills and applying them musically. These rhythmic links forge fluidity as both calculator and improviser.

Step 5: Identify and Confront Weak Fingers

At this stage converting burgeoning prowess into exhilarating solos requires confronting harsh truths – which fingers lag behind?

For most Guitarists, our pinky and ring finger fail to keep pace with thicker index and middle digits. Cease hiding behind strengths and instead direct attention to improving vulnerabilities.

Create exercises repeating favored pointer and middle finger hammer-on’s yet force weaker fingers to perform pull-offs building intrinsic capability (3-2-3-2 etc). Alternate between weaker and stronger fingers. Isolate solely troublesome fingers if essential. This forces confronting deficiencies directly until their capabilities catch up through focused training.

With balanced manual competence secured through eliminating weaknesses, fretboards melt away leaving only you and your guitar truly bonded as one musical instrument.

Step 6: Improvise Technical Exercises Within Melodic Improvisations

Finally, bridge technical exercises like repetitive subdivision groupings to actual music making. Noodle a melody then suddenly switch into isolated alternate picking or legato drills before returning back to melodic playing.

Constantly shift between newly attained pinky finger dexterity and soulful phrases making statements. sprinkle dazzling sweep arpeggios amid standard pentatonic riffs to display fresh capabilities.

This final step cements muscle memory allowing awe-inspiring technical feats on-demand when soloing. More critically, the iterative practice process fosters internalizing these linkages enabling sequences to manifest directly from the heart during improvisational peaks without consciously planning moves. Now let inspiration take flight with technical impediments removed!

I continue reaping exponential musical growth dividends sticking to this efficient 6 step routine even today years later. Hopefully, it brings similar speed breakthroughs to your personal guitar journey! Let me know in the comments if any questions.


How long should I drill exercises before getting musical?

No universal ideal duration exists, but pay attention to improvement rates as an indicator of applying skills melodically.

What if my fingers feel sore early on?

Some mild joint stiffness adjusting to learning new motions is normal. Rest if there is any pain then resume gently backing off if persists.

How do I know which finger is weakest without bad habits overcompensating?

Excellent question! Isolate and test each finger individually to reveal its true independent control and capability.

My pinky won’t ever catch up, so should I give up on drills?

Maybe expect limitations but some unique expressive qualities may emerge from asymmetry. Focused training maximizes individual strengths.

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