If you've been following our conversations, you're probably thinking: "It's taken him long enough to get to this!" If you've stumbled across this post without visiting the philosophic approach to shred guitar and musicality, I highly suggest giving it a look (check it out here). If you're already current, let's continue on as we will explore how to increase your playing speed in 3 simple steps.
If you're visiting this site, chances are that you're a fan of some variety of shred guitar, and are aiming to achieve a certain degree of virtuosity. This can be achieved with time and effort, but what you practice and how you practice can greatly affect the outcome. Unfortunately, there is a dark side to the art of lead guitar, one that seduces players into focusing entirely on fretboard athleticism, resulting in an undervaluation of the true purpose of the instrument - musicality. By heeding the following lessons, you will become a well-rounded guitar Jedi.
If you're like me, chances are you're encountering the subject expecting to rip through sequences that span the length of the guitar neck. This desire may have struck you after coming across a YouTube clip of Yngwie Malmsteen dominating his fretboard with blistering speed and precision, and may have caused you to fixate your attention on speed alone. Such achievements can certainly inspire a player, and impress an audience, but if left unmitigated, it can hamper a player's ability to phrase in a way that is expressive. It may be tempting to invest a bulk of your on time working on speed, but be sure to spend quality time with scales, modes, and especially phrasing. Remember: playing fast is simply a means to an end - not an end unto itself.