Raising the action doesn't enable you to play any faster than you currently can, but it DOES make your playing cleaner. This means you can use more of the speed you already have and sound great when you play.
2. Practice Guitar Unplugged (At Least 40% Of Your Practice Time)
Practicing guitar unplugged (without an amp) forces you to strengthen your pick articulation. You cannot hear anything you play unplugged unless the notes are articulated with greater power.
The stronger your pick attack is, the easier it becomes to keep your hands in perfect sync (because you cannot articulate a clear note without your hands being in sync).
When your synchronization improves, you can play a lot faster and cleaner (and your guitar playing sounds great at any speed).
Watch this video to see a more in-depth explanation of why practicing guitar unplugged helps your guitar speed:
By Mike Philippov
Wouldn’t it be great to make your playing faster and cleaner without having to spend a lot of time practicing? Of course it would… and you can. There are 3 simple things you can do right now to speed up your playing with all your exercises and techniques, and more importantly - make your playing clean and accurate at the same.
Here is what to do:
1. Raise The String Action On Your Guitar
“Action” is the height of the strings away from the neck of the guitar. Conventional guitar playing advice may tell you the opposite (to lower the string action as much as possible to make fast playing easier). There is some truth to this (the closer the strings are to the guitar neck, the less pressure is needed to push the string down).
However, often your playing becomes sloppier as a result of lowering the action. Why? The lower the action, the harder it is to release the note you played cleanly (and get it to stop ringing). This makes your playing sound sloppy and noisy.
The higher the action, the more control you have over the note. It becomes easier to mute the note when you want it to stop ringing, so you can play cleanly at higher speeds.
Watch this video to see the benefits that raising the action has on your entire guitar playing:
3. Work On Getting Your Hands To Apply Independent Amounts Of Tension To The String When You Play.
Your hands need to use different amounts of tension to play notes. When your picking hand hits the string with a lot of power, your fretting hand should not fret notes any harder. Likewise, when you are doing a string bend with aggressive vibrato with your fretting hand, your picking hand should not tense up. Pay attention to how tense (or relaxed) each hand feels and don’t allow one hand to tense up in response to what the other hand is doing.
Implement these tips in your guitar practice and watch your playing become faster and cleaner than ever before.
About the author: Mike Philippov is a progressive rock guitarist & music teacher. He also trains guitarists from all over the world how to practice guitar to get big results.