When you watch somebody play fast on the guitar do you always wonder if you could learn to do that? Let us look at what resources we need to increase our own guitar playing speed on a regular basis.
The very first thing you are going to need is a metronome. You can buy one from your local music store, steal one from a maiden aunt or download one for free on the internet. If you choose to steal one, then I am afraid you will not make much progress in your quest to play guitar fast because shortcuts just do not work. Most of us look for the quickest and most painless way to do things, and that is why most of us are not playing guitar at the speed of light.
Okay, you have your metronome and an attitude adjustment. You are ready to begin. The next thing you need is something to practice. It can be a solo passage from a song. It can be an exercise, like a series of arpeggios or a picking exercise. You need to choose your material carefully because you will need to know exactly how fast you want to play in terms of the settings on your metronome. You may or may not need to spend time learning your passage from scratch as some familiarity with the piece is necessary to start increasing how fast you play it. By familiarity I mean the muscles in your fingers, hands and arms need to be able to play your piece without hesitation.
So that is the next thing you need. In order to play guitar fast you need to be able to play slowly. The exercise you have chosen to play should not be too easy, but at the same time it should not have too many tricky bits. That is why you are using an exercise or an isolated passage rather than a song or long solo.
Now you are starting to see the way ahead. If you have your practice passage ready, check it with your metronome. Make sure you know what your present speed is. The next thing is to take a metronome setting not too far above your present one and make that your goal.
Let us now talk about something you do not need. Muscular tension. You need to practice playing guitar fast without building a level of tension in the muscles that will work against your goal. In order to escape the possibility of too much tension you need to forget about time frames. You have your goal in the metronome setting. Leave the time open ended. The idea is not to actually PLAY guitar faster at sometime in the future, but to WORK A LITTLE BIT ON PLAYING FAST every day.
So if you choose a passage to practice in order to play fast, and you devote some time every day to practicing, your guitar playing speed will begin to increase. Once you have reached a level of skill on one exercise, choose another one with a couple more challenges. But remember to begin again from the beginning. Ascertain where you are now and decide on a realistic goal for your next step.