In this article, I will give you 3 powerful guitar finger exercises that will improve your technique by practicing just 10 -20 minutes a day.
Guitar finger exercises are basically just like eating healthy food. They are extremely important for developing a good technique.
Think of the guitar finger exercises just like being the equivalent of going to the gym and working out.
By practicing guitar finger exercises regularly you will
- Improve your stamina
- Improve your speed
- Develop finger independence
- You will learn anything that has to do with guitar technique 100% faster
- Enjoy guitar playing more. Hand fatigue always induces frustration and makes you hate the instrument and giving you those “ it is sopping hard to play” or “ I will never be able to…” thoughts
- Improve your finger strength
Without further ado let’s start with the finger exercises.
Table of Contents
The 3 guitar finger exercises
Guitar Finger Exercise 1
This exercise is extremely useful and it probably helped me the most for both building stamina and finger independence.
This is also a very good way to practice hammer-on’s and puff offs.
To be honest with you this is my favorite exercise and I always practice it.
The way you should practice this exercise is by using legato and hammer-ons.
- Play each bar 4 times and pick the first note only in each bar
- Use alternate picking (down/up)
- If you don’t have your finger strong enough (yet) for hammer-on and pull-offs you can pick all the notes
- Apply the 4,3,2,1 X 4 method that I wrote about in The Guitar Blueprint to Success. Play all the bars 4 times each, 3 times each and so on. Just chapter 2 and you will know exactly what I mean.
- Try playing the exercise on all strings
- Try the exercise on different frets
Guitar Finger Exercise 2
This exercise is very useful for training your fretting hand for legato and hammer-ons.
You can consider this exercise as a variation for the above one.
The way you should play the exercise:
- Use the above pattern and complete it with fingering 1-3, 1-4, 2-3, 2-4 and 3-4
- Practice upstrokes when going up and down strokes when going down. This way you practice both finger independence, finger strength and for the picking hand, you get to practice the sweep picking technique.
- This exercise will be very useful especially when attempting to play sweep picking exercises.
- You can also try playing those shapes in other parts of the fretboard
- Very good exercise for developing stamina, finger strength and hands coordination
Guitar Finger Exercise 3
This is the well known chromatic scale or knows also as the spider exercise. This probably one of the first exercises or maybe even the first things we learn to play on guitar. The benefits of this exercise are numerous:
- You learn to coordinate both your hands when playing
- You develop your precision
- You develop your finger independence if you practice the combinations I am going to show you a little later
- Your playing become more natural
- You can mix this exercise with the exercises related to muscle memory that I wrote about in chapter 2 in the guitar blueprint to success
- You develop both your tremolo picking and your finger strength
- You will be able to play any scale sequence effortlessly if you devote time to being able to play this exercise and its combinations
As a bonus for the above exercises, I will give you all the possible combinations for playing the above sequence. This is a thing that I didn’t so to many guitar players practice, probably because they all got used to playing the simple sequence and then moved on to other exercises.
Here is the combination of all possible fingerings:
Although the above combinations may seem like a lot of work, those combinations are actually the same thing starting from different places. The 6 combinations that start with the finger are the same as the other fingerings. The different thing is that you treat fingers 2,3 and 4 as the starting point.
You should try giving a shoot to all the fingerings. You will find some exercises harder than others so I suggest that you practice the fingerings that seem the most unnatural to you. That is how you will develop a very good finger independence.
Things to keep in mind when practicing the above guitar finger exercises
- Use a metronome. By using a metronome you are both measuring your progress in terms of BPM and you also develop your sense of beat
- Start Slow. Start with a BPM where you can play relaxed. That is how you will develop your muscle memory and you are going to be on your way to a perfect technique
- Pay attention to the note values. Exercises 1 and 3 are made out of 16 notes and you have to play 4 notes per beat. Exercise 2 uses 8th notes so you have to play 2 notes per beat. For more information about note values see chapter 4 in the Guitar Blueprint to Success
- Be patient. Speed and good technique come as a consequence of playing perfectly at low speeds
- Alternate the exercises. Try them all out and see which exercise do you like most. Practice it at least 15 minutes a day before you start your normal practice routine
Now that you know how to properly warm up your hands I do recommend that you attend a full proof guitar course designed to help you improve faster.
In the end, I hope that you enjoyed these exercises and that they will help you as much as they helped me.
Happy practicing with your guitar finger exercises.