1) PICK A PICK THAT WORKS
Choosing the right pick when you learn to play guitar is very important. Too hard and your tones become harsh and clunky. Hard picks give more resistance and therefor slows you down. If your pick is too soft you loose the dynamics of the pick and the timbre of the notes. Of couse it has a lot to do with the type of guitar your playing and the type of music. I might use a lighter pick for playing folk music on a 12 string guitar, and a heavier one for electric power chords on a metal tune.
2) SLOW DOWN!
The best way to learn a fast lick is to play it very, very slow.
This can seem boring but the pay off is big. Start playing a scale or a riff with the time at 50 and then increase to 60 ect. Concentrate on making every note PERFECT. Stop when you start to screw up. Going faster than you can play perfectly can do you more harm than good.
3) Live An Alternate Life Style.
Learning to alternate pick is the single best thing you can learn to improve your playing. It is used by almost all the great players and is a key tool for shredders. It enables the player to maintain outstanding control while playing fast and smooth.
It works like this: every note is played with up and down strokes alternately no matter where they are on the neck. Sound simple enough, but mastering this technique can take a long time to master. In my private lessons I show my students exercises to build up speed and control. After a couple of lessons and a little practice you will see a great improvement.
4) THE 4 T’S: TUNE-TIMING-TOUCH-TONE
These are the most important elements of good guitar playing.
TUNE. Being in tune is simply the most important thing in guitar playing. Without proper tuning anything you do will sound off. This is especially important when you are first learning the guitar. If you are not hearing the notes as they were meant to be heard, it will through your ear off and your playing will sound wrong. You must tune up every time you play.
TIME. It takes time to get good timing. The only way is to hear the beat over and over. Eventually it will become part of you.You could know every chord and every scale but if your timing is off it will sound bad. That is why you should always play with a metronome or drum machine.
TOUCH. This is how your pick and fingers come in contact with the guitar strings. For the left hand: The key here is balance. Balance is perhaps the overall most important in thing in like in general, It is the basis of the Buddhist philosophy and the meaning behind the yin and yang symbol we all know.The way your fingers touch the strings should not be to hard or soft… firm yet resillant. Always relax. NEVER TENSE UP! It is also about where your fingers hit the strings in relationship to the fret. You want to be just before the fret.
For the right hand: Holding the pick correctly, using alternate picking (up and down for every note) and using minimal movement of your right hand is essential to producing a crisp clean tone. Always use alternate picking.
Tone. For electric guitar players, getting a tone you love can be long hard search. Most new players are not playing with the greatest for guitars and amps, but here are 2 tips that will help.
First turn all the knobs on your guitar up and all the knobs on your amp down. Now start turning the volume up untill it sounds clear. Now turn the gain, and tone up the same way. Don't over do it! You want to have nice balanced tone.
The next thing you may want to do is invest in a guitar effects processer such as the digitech series.