Learn Tremolo Picking For Faster Playing Ability

Learn Tremolo Picking For Faster Playing Ability

If you want to increase your speed when playing guitar solos, you need to learn tremolo picking for faster playing ability.  This will allow you to take your guitar playing to the next level.

A lead guitar lick that extends on the technique of alternate picking. Alternate picking allows you to play fast, tremolo picking allows you to play super fast! So if this is where your interest lies, this lesson is for you.

Alternate picking

The first thing you want to focus on is getting good at alternate picking.  This is where you pick each individual note in a different direction.  In a four-note measure, the 1 and 3 will be picked downward and the 2 and 4 will be picked upward.  This will result in a down and up motion on one string, then proceed to multiple strings.

alternate picking tremolo picking

Here is an example of what I’m talking about.  Down, up, down, etc.  You must master this first before you try to do it faster.  Here is another example of this very common guitar technique.

Alternate picking tremolo picking

In this example the open A string is played with alternate picking.  Eight notes that are picked down and up.  Then you proceed to the 3rd fret on the same string and do the same thing.  Odd notes are picked downward, and even notes are picked upward. Once you get alternate picking down thoroughly, you can then proceed to tremolo picking.

Tremolo Picking

Tremolo picking is also very common with playing guitar.  It can be used to play fast rhythms, or it can be used to play fast guitar solos and melody lines.  No matter how you use it, I recommend you learn how to do it.

In fact, you are going to find when you learn guitar, that certain parts of songs and musical concepts can’t be executed properly without using tremolo picking.  So it is highly worth the time put in to learn how to do it correctly.  The rewards, in the end, will be well worth the effort.

Watch the video lesson below

Starting out slow

The main thing that you are trying to do is pick consistently at high speed.  This is very much like driving a car really fast.  There is a certain amount of control that must go into it.  This is where starting out slow comes in to play.  To do this technique correctly, you want to practice tremolo picking on a daily basis.

Start out slow with alternate picking and then slowly progress to tremolo picking as you get faster over time.  Make sure you take time with this.  Tremolo picking is a more advanced technique and will take some time to learn.

If done correctly, you can accomplish a few things.  Such as:

      1. Learning how to alternate pic more thoroughly

      2. Improve your timing while staying on beat

      3. Develop a foundation for tremolo picking.

Practice plan

By setting up a daily practice plan to accomplish learning the tremolo picking technique, you will be able to develop the skill much faster and utilize it much better.

Step 1.  Set a solid foundation by mastering alternate picking.

This is very important.  Make sure as you execute this technique that you learn to control your pick.  The way you hold your pick and utilize proper picking technique makes a huge difference.  As well as how well you develop timing.

Make sure the pick is close to the strings and don’t go too far off as it causes more time needed to get back on.  Practice diligently and go slow until you have it down well.

Step 2.  Start with repetition and simplicity

Tremolo picking is for your faster notes like 16ths.  So it is best to master your other notes first.  8ths and 1/4 notes.  Quarter notes are the easiest to execute.  Easy, boring and repetitive.  It provides the opportunity to start with simplicity.

One common mistake I see a lot of guitar players make is overlooking the fundamental principles of the techniques that they are learning.  This is no different.  Make sure you focus on the repetition of the technique.

This simplicity might seem mundane and boring in the beginning, but I assure you that if done properly for a period of time, it will pay huge dividends.  Never underestimate the power of repetition and simplicity.

Step 3.  Move up to 1/8th notes for faster playing ability

Once you have mastered the fundamental 1/4 notes, then proceed to move up to 1/8th notes for faster playing ability.  This will be the next step up.  Remember, the best way to learn is to take it step-by-step.

Focus the timing sequence of 1 2 3 4.  Then when you feel comfortable that you can execute that well, move to the 1/8th note sequence of 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &.  This will allow you to speed up a bit and develop a bit more fluid ability.

Remember to focus on keeping a consistent tempo and not necessarily speed.  This will come in time.  But if you focus on speed first, you’ll get sloppy and won’t sound proficient.  You want to do it right so, in the end, you can produce a very clean guitar tone.

Step 4.  Move to 16th notes for super-speed ability

Here is where the fun begins.  Quarter notes are a count of 1 2 3 4.  Eighth notes are based on a count of 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &.  Sixteenth notes are a count that adds to more parts.  1 e & ah, 2 e & ah, 3 e & ah, 4 e & ah.  As you can see there are two more parts to this timing sequence.  An extension of the eighth note.

It is the mastery of these sixteenth notes and being able to play them in time that tremolo picking really comes into play.

Step 5.  Use a metronome for better timing development

The best way by far, to accomplish getting this technique down is to use a metronome.  A simple device designed to keep and adjust the tempo.  Mastering the tempo is what music is all about.  The metronome helps you to accomplish this.


The reason you want to use a metronome is that you can start out with a very slow bpm (beats per minute) tempo and gradually increase it over time.  This allows you to develop the ability to hold rhythm at a good steady tempo.

This is a great learning tool because you can increase the tempo a little bit over time.  Notice I said a little bit.  I say this because most guitar players get bored and try to increase speed too fast.  This can be bad for you later when you get to higher speeds of picking.

Learn to master accuracy

By taking it slow and allowing the skill to develop over time you become more articulate with your guitar pick, you create a much cleaner sound and produce a better guitar tone.  It is this mastery of accuracy that you are after and this only comes with time.

Dedication and determination on a daily basis are the secret sauce to getting down this advanced technique.  With your solid practice plan executed on a regular basis, you can’t go wrong.  You just have to focus and take your time.

I can always tell when someone hasn’t taken the time to develop their guitar skills.  Especially now because of the internet, most people think they can watch a few videos and there it is.  Well, my friend, that’s the furthest thing from the truth.  Although the internet makes learning easier, it still takes hours of work to develop skills.  Especially guitar skills.

Keep hands, wrists, and elbow in shape

Compare what you’re doing in this lesson to that of an athlete.  Since you are working at picking faster than normal, it is very similar to a runner trying to run faster than normal.  You must keep hands, wrists, and elbow in shape.

The best way to do this is with finger exercises.  These are great to use when your getting warmed up for your practice routine.  Kind of like when an athlete does simple stretching to limber up before they get into the activity of the sport.

Another thing that helps as well is a finger exerciser like GripMaster.  This and many of them like it are a great way to exercise your hand and fingers when you’re away from your guitar.

Additional guitar skills

When it comes to learning to play the guitar, there are many many mysteries to uncover.  Maybe that is why we keep coming back to it.  It is the thrill of unlocking these mysteries that make it fun and give us a sense of accomplishment.

As a guitarist and a guitar teacher, I myself have unlocked a few of these mysteries over the years.  In doing so I have put them into some of the guitar books that I have written and published on the internet.

The particular one that relates to this lesson is my guitar book Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1.

Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1

Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1 is all about getting started on the sacred path of playing guitar solos.  When it comes to mysteries to the guitar fretboard, there are many when it relates to guitar solos.

What are the best scales to play?  Where is the best place to play them at?   How to turn scales into solos?  And so forth and so forth.  These are all common questions that need the answer to when it comes to playing guitar solos.

Simple step-by-step

The best way to learn anything new is from a step-by-step system.  The reason for this is so you learn everything in the proper order and you don’t skip any steps.  That is exactly what this book is about.  providing you with a step-by-step system of lesson plans that build upon themselves for the best learning experience possible.

The most common problem with learning how to do anything is skipping steps.  If you were to build a house and say, skip the step of laying down the foundation first, you would be in trouble.  This is avoided by knowing what to do first.

End frustration

When you learn to play the guitar and you take a little here and a little there you can see some progress and get going in the right direction.  The only problem with this approach is that you end up missing some steps.

This is not noticed until later in your training and frustration sets in.  I’ve seen this happen many times with self-taught students who learn on their own without a system to follow.  They run into a roadblock and can’t move forward.

By following a step-by-step system you can end frustration in learning to play the guitar.  Then when you get to that roadblock, you can easily figure out how to get over it.

Running into roadblocks and hurdles is a normal part of the learning process.  Every guitar player has had to deal with them.  Following a system can help you to develop the skills necessary to do so.

Master the fundamentals

Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1 will allow you to master the fundamentals.  The principles, concepts, spells, and incantations that will allow you to play great guitar solos and build a full understanding of why the techniques work the way they do.  You will also learn:

The 12 bar blues progression

Major & minor scales

Guitar riffs for soloing

Alternate picking & octaves

All 5 pentatonic scale patterns

Key progressions to solo over

Tremolo picking and trills

The infamous blues scale

Harmony notes & hybrid picking

Sweep picking

Music theory basics


And many many more things to help you create jaw-dropping guitar solos.  Of course, it will take determination, dedication, and commitment on a daily basis.  But if you’re willing to do this, you will see fast results, as well as build a solid foundation for future learning to be set on.

Lesson conclusion

Tremolo picking is a great technique to learn and a must if you’re going to play fast rhythms and guitar solos.  Especially guitar solos.  You can only do so much with fast down picking.

But if you take the time to learn how to do both down and up picking.  Use a metronome to develop staying in time and keeping up with tempo changes.  Do finger exercises to keep your hands, fingers, and elbow in shape for the extra activity.

Keep up with your practice routine that has been taught in this lesson to stay on see results in the least amount of time.  Always be thinking about the best way to improve your guitar playing in all other areas as well.

And if you haven’t already, I highly suggest that you grab my FREE action-guide “Guitar Solo Secrets” for insider tips and tricks to help you get moving in the right direction with playing guitar solos.

Also, be sure to contact me if you have any questions about anything that has been taught here today.  Best of luck with your training.  Keep practicing on a daily basis and you will see great results real soon.

Sincerely, Dwayne