In Guitar Exercises Beginner we are going to get your fret hand fingers strengthened, exercise your picking hand (for individual strings). We will not be working on chords in this lesson, however, if you are looking for Chord Exercises click here.
After you are done with this lesson, you should be able to do these exercises along with a metronome (If you don’t have a metronome, I suggest you buy one as it will help in your development in timing. There are free online metronomes, even smart phones now days have free metronome apps so there is no excuse for not having and practicing with one as this will only benefit you).
NOTE : This first section is going to be lengthy as I describe in detail my method. Once we get past this initial phase, you should understand how my system and approach goes, where I will be able to be less descriptive so you can get to working on your development with my exercises faster.
Set your metronome at a slow speed (between 50-60 bpm) and using quarter notes (one note per click count 1 2 3 4, one number per click (this is one bar in 4/4 time) at the same time you strike the string. Count 1 2 3 4 again, over and over to the click of the metronome as you strike the string. Once you can do an exercise accurately with no mistakes at a slow speed, increase the tempo (5-10 bpm). If it’s so fast that your notes are sloppy and you can’t keep up set it lower.
Single individual finger exercise 1
For our first exercise we are going to be strengthening each finger individually… Place your fingers as close to the strings as possible without touching them so you are not muting/muffling them. Position your hand so that each finger is over a fret starting with fret 1-4. Even though we are only going to be using one finger up and down the neck, still have your hand positioned one fret per finger as that is how your hand will pretty much always be when you solo.
Strike the top string open with a down stroke and then press down on the 1st fret with your first (index) finger and strike the string with an upstroke (upward motion). Now shift your hand up to the next position, spanning your fingers over frets 2-5. Strike the open string with a down stroke and then push down on the 2nd fret with your first finger and hit it with an upstroke. Keep shifting your hand up one position and continue just using your first finger to press each fret all the way up to the very last fret of your top string of your guitar.
Now with your hand up in the highest fret position jump down to the 5 string and work your way back down to the first position, alternating between open strings and frets using just your index finger while alternating your pick stroke down and up with your pick hand. Now jump down a string and do the same thing up the neck to the highest fret, jump down a string and work your way back down again.
After you get down to the bottom string stay at the bottom string and work your way back up to the highest string using same index finger for all the frets. Once you get to the highest fret, jump up to the 2nd string and work your way back down, repeat this process for the rest of the strings and the rest of the frets.
Now do the same thing using your 2nd (middle finger) to play up and down the neck and strings hitting all the frets with it as we did with our index finger. After that do the same thing using your 3rd finger and again using your pinkie.
Individual finger exercise 2
Starting with your fingers hovering over the first four frets, one finger per fret we are going to strike the 6th string open with a down stroke of the pick and then press down on the first fret with our first finger(index finger).and strike the string with an upstroke of the pick at the same time you press down on the first fret. Then lift up your finger and hit the string open again and then press your 2nd finger(middle finger) down on fret 2 while you upstroke the string.
NOTE : As you do these exercises, make sure the notes are ringing out clearly and only press down with enough pressure for the note to ring out. For accuracy, aim for pressing down right before the fret bar (if you hear a buzzing than your finger is touching the fret and you want to back it up a little. Try to make the note you press ring out the same volume as the open string and make sure your upstroke is in sync with your fretting hand. Also, keep your fingers as close to the string as possible so there isn’t much distance to press it down.
Now we are going to hit the open string again with a down stroke and play the 3rd fret with your 3rd finger(ring finger) as you use an upstroke to sound the note. Now hit the open string with a down stroke again and finish with hitting the 4 fret with your 4th (pinkie) finger using an upstroke.
Repeat the process on the 5th string 4th. string 3rd string 2nd string and 1st (bottom) string. Once you get to the bottom string reverse the fingering pattern by this time starting with a down stroke on open string and play 4th fret with upstroke, open string with down stroke 3rd fret upstroke, open string, 2nd fret, open string, 1st fret and work your way back up each string until you’ve played the top string.
Individual Finger Exercise 3
For exercise 3 we are going to do something similar to exercise two. The only difference is after you hit the top string open with a down stroke and the 1st fret with an upstroke, reverse what you just did and keep your finger on 1st fret and strike it again using a down stroke and then hit the string open with an up stroke. Now down stroke open string, upstroke 2nd fret, keeping your finger pressed down, down stroke 2nd fret, upstroke open string.
Down stroke open string, upstroke 3rd fret, down stroke 3rd fret, open string upstroke. Down stroke open string, upstroke 4th fret, down stroke 4th fret, upstroke open string…. Repeat this same exercise on each string as we did in exercise 1 and then reverse it.
To reverse it strike 1st string open with a down stroke 4th fret with and upstroke and then while your 4th finger is still pressing down 4th fret strike the string again, this time with a down stroke and then open string with an up stroke and repeat this pattern with each fret and each string as you work your way back up to the top string.
Congrats on completing this finger strengthening exercise…. Click Here to go to the next lesson of finger exercises to help gain finger independence.
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