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Top 5 Guitar Technique Exercises – Free Guitar Lesson

Updated on January 30, 2015

A good technique is not the most important attribute to play the guitar or even to become a musician. However, if you want to standout or play certain styles of music, you need to have good technical skills. For me, technical skills are not only about the speed you can play, but also, about flexibility and coordination. That means you are able to play distinct and harder things, learn faster, play faster and, more importantly, sound better! The exercises I will mention are for any guitar player but if you are a beginner, you will have to do them slower. These exercises will give you fast results but you have to do them correctly. That implies you have to start slow and pay attention to each note. If each note sounds clean, it means you can increase the speed. I strongly recommend the use of the metronome but it’s not imperative.

How much time should I spend doing these exercises?

That depends on your level and on how fast you want to progress. If you are an absolute beginner, play around 15 to 20 minutes and don’t play all the exercises every day. If you have been playing for some time, already know some chords, are starting to play scales and are into soloing, you need to really develop your technique, so play at least 40 to 60 minutes. If you are a medium or advanced player and you wish to become really good, play 1 to 2 hours. If you already are very good try the exercises anyway and if you find them hard, it means you still have to develop some aspects of your technique or you are not that good after all. The harder you find the exercise, the more you should practice it.

About the exercises

The exercises will be presented in the order I do them in my daily practise. With the exception for the exercise named Independence , Strength And Dexterity , all the other exercises should be done with the metronome and all over the fingerboard. Don’t do the exercises only on one place because you should feel comfortable all over the fingerboard and master it.

Exercise 1: Acquiring Control

This is a great exercise for acquiring control over your fingers. It’s a four note per string exercise, so it’s easy for your picking hand but for your other hand it’s tricky. Even if you are an advanced guitar player, if you have never done something similar, you may find it a little difficult.

Exercise 2: Developing Speed

This exercise is really good to develop speed and you will see the results really fast. It’s a chromatic exercise of 8 notes per string. The first 4 notes should be played the faster you can and the other four at half speed. You can also do accelerations with the first four notes. In this exercise, when you are ascending and when you are descending, you have to use one finger twice. You can start repeating the first finger when ascending and repeat the fourth finger when descending. That means the first and second note are played with the 1st finger and the fifth and sixth note are played with 4th finger. Then you should try repeating with other fingers.

Exercise 3: Improving Hand Balance

When you play, you generally use more fingers 1 and 2 then 3 and 4, simply because they are your stronger fingers. The result of this practise is an unbalanced hand. You can feel that when you are playing scales or some complex chord changes. Fingers 3 and 4 just don’t seem to respond like 1 and 2, not only because they are naturally weaker, but also because they are not used as much as the other two. This exercise was designed to compensate that, improving agility and control over the whole hand but especially over the weaker fingers.

Exercise 4: Independence, Strength And Dexterity

This is a killer exercise and everyone hates it for the pain it may cause but everyone loves it for the results. In the beginning you have to do it slowly and gradually build up speed. But it is not possible to do this exercise very fast and the goal of it is not to improve you speed but the three aspects mentioned above: independence; strength; and dexterity. After you practise it, you will be able to play more complex things besides changing chords must faster and with more precision. If you feel any pain while doing this exercise you should stop and when you return to it, do it slower.

In the tab below, the numbers correspond also to the number of the finger. All the other finger must stay on the G string, each one on its fret. That means on the first ten repeats finger 2 rests on fret 2, finger 3 rests on fret 3, finger 4 rests on fret 4 all in th G string and all must not move an inch! Only the finger 1 "jumps" between the strings. On the second set only the finger 2 moves and the others are still. And so on...

Exercise 5: Overall Workout

This last exercise is fantastic to develop both hands and especially the coordination between the two. It’s a little difficult to do it faster and clean but it’s an excellent workout, improving your overall performance.

Conclusion

I hope these exercises help you as they help me. If you practise correctly and systematically, you will see fast results, especially if you combine more than one exercise.

Good luck!

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