Five Impressive Ways to Improve your Guitar Picking

So you want to play like the greats? You need to put the time in and practise, but not just any practise will do. Read on to find out what the best way of making the most of your practise time is.

Go Slowly

This might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised. One of the best ways to increase your accuracy is (oh, the irony) to practise slowly. Practise slowly, do your best to get everything in the place it should be, and then pick up speed when you are confident in your abilities. If you do this, you will always be accurate, and avoid a lot of the sloppiness which can sometimes come up with other players. Going slowly lets you learn the music properly, before you speed up.

Use a Metronome

A metronome is a device which counts out the beats using ticking noises. The ticking can go either faster or slower depending on how high or low you crank the metronome, so it is handy to have around. When practising your picking technique, a metronome is handy in two ways – you can practise slowly, and use the metronome to ensure that your pace is steady. This is how you make sure you are accurate. When you are ready to speed up, you can then turn the metronome to the appropriate speed – this will again keep you steady as you play.


People have a tendency to tense up when they are doing something intense, and this is not a good practice. Tensing up will make it more difficult to play, not less, so try and stay as relaxed as possible. Granted, this is much more difficult than it sounds, but it can be done with some practice. Remember that staying relaxed means that your posture and fingers will move more easily, which means that you will be better at playing. Staying relaxed means that you can play for longer than you otherwise could; it means that you won’t get cramps in unexpected places.

Practise Quickly

Doing part of your practise quickly can also help you with your picking technique. A lot of the articles on are focused on how to be quick and improve your picking ability. This works because it gives you good practise in moving through finger patterns quickly, and so helps you to become more accurate. This also ties into the last section, where more practise in moving quickly also helps you to learn how to relax while playing quickly. The more you practise, the easier it will be, and the better you will be.

Practise Regularly

This applies to all areas of practise, but particularly when it comes to picking, regular practise is key. Making sure you practise regularly will help you become more accurate, and steady practise will help everything get in your head much more quickly. Practise will also help you to memorise what is going on, and that in turn will help with picking, because it is one less thing to concentrate on. Picking is something that benefits from regular practise, because that builds muscle memory –muscle memory is what helps us to remember how to swim and ride a bike, and it can be used in musical instruments too.