Practice Makes Perfect
When trying to improve your overall technique, guitar exercises are the best way to go about doing this. They focus on increasing your fingers' strength, speed, accuracy, and dexterity. Doing all the different exercises will also allow you to learn other licks faster due to muscle memory. Practice these exercises and you will find your technique and learning ability will improve greatly!
Remember to start off slowly, focusing more on accuracy and then increase your speed, making sure you hit every note clearly and concisely. Practice with a metronome (at least initially) to make sure your notes are in time and you have a solid rhythm. Also, focus on having the same amount of duration for each note. "Crispness" is what you are aiming for with these exercises. When you have mastered these exercises, I highly recommend the book "Guitar Aerobics". It has an exercise per day, each exercise focusing on a specific style of music and a specific technique. It's a really cool book, check it out!
This is the most basic and common finger exercise for guitar players. It challenges your chromatic playing. This is the best one to start with. To play this exercise, follow the pattern and continue up the neck until you have reached the 12th fret with your pinky. For example, after you have finished the tabs given, you would start again with your index finger on 3rd fret, and continue on.
This exercise is much more complicated, and one of the most challenging exercises I've ever played. But once you have mastered it, it is also the most beneficial exercise you will have learned. It improves the muscle movement between all the fingers, and also challenges your chromatic playing. Do the same thing as you did with the last exercise, once you complete it move up to the next fret and stop when your pinky is at the 12th fret.
This guitar exercise further disciplines the muscles between every possible finger movement combination. There are also two ways to play this exercise: picking every note, or hammering on and off. As with the other exercises, continue this exercise up the neck until your pinky is at the 12th fret.
This exercise is designed to help improve your 3-note-per-string playing, which you will actually use more often than chromatic 4-note-per-string playing. The majority of scales that you will use in guitar have either 2 or 3 notes-per-string, so make sure you master this exercise!
This exercise is designed to improve your playing when forming chords. Make sure you let the notes ring out, playing each note clearly.
And that's it! Master these five exercises and you will find that your muscle memory and guitar technique has improved greatly! It will also be easier to learn new licks and riffs due to the excellent muscle memory you will have built in your fingers. Good luck!
John on June 18, 2020:
If anyone has tried this long term, did it work for you?
Anthony on May 12, 2019:
I am going to try this
Dadu on November 13, 2018:
I am new to guitar and find these exercises great. It is calanging for a beginner like myself however I fell like the payoff will be very beneficial.
Zikoure on August 16, 2018:
Also, make sure to let your wirst and fingers rest after the exercices.
Take care of your body guys, you only get one.
Donald t u y l s on March 03, 2018:
This is a beginning finger exercise for someone learning to play the guitar? But yet you put it in musical notation like someone of that caliber already knows how to read music I don't get it this is the stupidest damn exercise thing I've ever seen maybe tabs I can understand that but sheet music
stevenseiler (author) on June 05, 2012:
Very good point. I often overlook playing with a metronome myself because I've always had a good sense of rhythm and never needed one to stay in timing, however, I can see how others might greatly benefit from this! I'll be sure to add that piece of advice to the article!
saunderscompanies from UK on June 05, 2012:
you missed a key step. If you are going to work on this type of thing should work with a metronome. The metronome will help you to keep both pace and will allow you to hear the different in beat length. (I would say start really slow. set the metronome to quarter note = 50 BPM) Also you should talk about getting the sound to be even in terms on length and volume. Other than that some good exercises.
stevenseiler (author) on June 05, 2012:
Thanks! Playing all these exercises up to the 12th fret also will increase your stamina A LOT.
mwilliams66 from Left Coast, USA on June 05, 2012:
Great pattern use. An excellent idea for increasing speed.
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