Fretting hand doesn't keep up with picking hand


Are there any things I can do to get my hands to communicate at faster speeds?
Mahalo, Ahfoonery


My musical education started with taking piano lessons and I’ve never had any issues with my hands “not communicating” with each other. I’ve never heard a piano player complain of having problems with synchronization between his two hands and I didn’t even know it was an issue for some guitar players until relatively recently. I’d estimate I had been playing guitar for 26 or 27 years when I first heard of this being a problem for some guitarists. So does starting with piano prevent this problem? I don’t know for sure; I can only say synchronizing my two hands when playing guitar hasn’t been a problem for me. Taking up piano or other keyboard instrument might help you; I’m sure it couldn’t hurt! Shawn Lane said his piano playing improved his guitar playing, even when he took extended breaks from playing guitar and focused entirely on piano.


Slow down and then work up to the exact point you lose synchronization and practice near that speed.


Mostly it’s about speed. I tend to accent the last note of a chunk when I play, and it’s a hard habit to break


When I haven’t been playing for a long while (months or more) I will have this problem when I come back to playing.

Just start slow and work up the speed. But also mix in top speed playing to see your progress.

When I have problems I notice its the left hand thats lagging. An experiment anyone can try to show this is to play an “easy” lick at top speed, and then play a lick with the same picking motions, except with a longer reach or a different fingering. I find that when the LH is stretching or less familiar with a movement, that is when I have synchronization issues. This is fixed by practicing that motion/stretch.

IOW, being synchronized is not an on/off thing. How much you have practiced, and how difficult the LH motion is, can affect synchronization. Some things could be perfectly synchronized, and other things might require some work to get up to speed. There is nothing wrong with you.


If you can’t “hear” a rhythm then you can’t perform it. Work on rhythmic rudiments while counting and tapping your foot. Check out Forward Motion by Hal Galpert. Learning Konnakol patterns helped me a lot.


I’ve found trills between your different fretting hand fingers, in different combinations, can help with fretting hand speed and control. Definitely build into this though, starting with small doses and building up over time.