Space Invaders Exercise

On February 28, 2014

Space Invaders Exercise

Description: Improve your finger strength with these printer friendly instructions for guitar playing space invaders exercise.

1. Align 1st finger to 9th fret.

2. Allocate one finger per fret so that the 2nd finger takes care of the 10th fret, the 3rd finger the 11th fret and the 4th finger the 12th fret.

3.Play the following notes using the fingering pattern 1 2 3 4 . As you use each finger leave it pressed down on the fingerboard until it is needed again. This means that after the first four notes you have all four fingers pressed to the fingerboard. To play the next note (fret 9 on the 5th string) you move only your first finger across from the 6th string. For the next note you move only your 2nd finger and so on.. (The movement of your fingers may remind you of the way in which the aliens moved in the old computer game ‘Space Invaders’. )

e---------------------------------------------------9-10-11-12-
B-----------------------------------------9-10-11-12-----------
G-------------------------------9-10-11-12---------------------
D---------------------9-10-11-12-------------------------------
A-----------9-10-11-12-----------------------------------------
E-9-10-11-12---------------------------------------------------

e-9-10-11-12---------------------------------------------------
B------------9-10-11-12----------------------------------------
G----------------------9-10-11-12------------------------------
D--------------------------------9-10-11-12--------------------
A------------------------------------------9-10-11-12----------
E----------------------------------------------------9-10-11-12

4. Move down a fret and repeat the exercise in exactly the same way.

5. Move down another fret and repeat .

6. Continue working in this way down the fretboard one fret at a time until you have reached the open position.

7. If pain or cramp sets in stop and relax your hand and start the exercise again a few minutes later.

8.Important note: You will get more from doing this slowly than from doing it quickly. It is a very powerful finger strengthening and coordination improving exercise.

Speed Developer Exercise

On February 28, 2014

Speed Developer Exercise

Description: Play guitar faster with this printer friendly instructions for guitar playing speed-developer exercise.

1. Align 1st finger to 9th fret.
2. Allocate one finger per fret so that the 2nd finger takes care of the 10th fret, the 3rd finger the 11th fret and the 4th finger the 12th fret.
3.Play the following notes using the fingering pattern 1 2 3 4 3 2:

e----------------------------------------------------------
B----------------------------------------------------------
G----------------------------------------------------------
D------------------------------------9-10-11-12-11-10------
A-------------------9-10-11-12-11-10-----------------------
E--9-10-11-12-11-10----------------------------------------

e------------------------------------9-10-11-12-11-10------
B-------------------9-10-11-12-11-10-----------------------
G--9-10-11-12-11-10----------------------------------------
D----------------------------------------------------------
A----------------------------------------------------------
E----------------------------------------------------------

e--8-9-10-11-10-9------------------------------------------
B-------------------8-9-10-11-10-9-------------------------
G------------------------------------8-9-10-11-10-9--------
D----------------------------------------------------------
A----------------------------------------------------------
E----------------------------------------------------------

e----------------------------------------------------------
B----------------------------------------------------------
G----------------------------------------------------------
D--8-9-10-11-10-9------------------------------------------
A-------------------8-9-10-11-10-9-------------------------
E-------------------------------------8-9-10-11-10-9-------

5. Move down another fret and repeat the whole exercise.
6. Continue working in this way down the fretboard one fret at a time until you have reached the first fret.
7. If pain or cramp sets in stop and relax your hand and start the exercise again a few minutes later.
8. Focus on accuracy: fingers just behind frets, even tone, connected (legato, not stacato) notes, rhythmic timing, strict up/down alternate picking.
9. This exercise done accurately and patiently will develop speed. Done quickly and carelessly it will simply waste time!

Further finger exercises

On February 28, 2014

This free guitar lesson will be all about further finger exercises to build finger strength in all 4 fretting-hand fingers.

These will also be good for building coordination between your picking hand and fretting hand. A few things before we begin, however:

1) Use a metronome when practicing these (try this one).
Simply select a number on the metronome, this will be your tempo/speed in beats per minute. Start at a low tempo and build up the tempo as you improve your finger speed. I cannot stress enough the benefits of using a metronome. Having that steady tempo really forces you to focus on playing in time and gives you a great foundation to build technical skills and speed.

2) Don’t try to fly through these at lightning speeds. Start of slow, and be accurate. If you start noticing that your notes aren’t ringing clearly or you are going out of time, slow down a bit and work your way back up. Speed comes with accuracy. I’ve seen many guitar players forget about that.

3) Don’t numb yourself with drills and finger exercises. Break up your practice time with other things. Play some songs, learn some riffs. Don’t bore yourself with one exercise. OK so let’s get down to business.. These first few exersizes are spinoffs of your typical chormatic patterns.

EX1
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------1-------1-2-----1-2-3---1-2-3-4-
---------1-------1-2-----1-2-3---1-2-3-4---2-3-4-----3-4-------4---------
-1-2-3-4---2-3-4-----3-4-------4-----------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------------1-------
---------------------------------1-------1-2-----1-2-3---1-2-3-4---2-3-4-
-1-------1-2-----1-2-3---1-2-3-4---2-3-4-----3-4-------4-----------------
---2-3-4-----3-4-------4-------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1-2-----1-2-3---1-2-3-4-
----3-4-------4---------
------------------------
------------------------
------------------------
------------------------

To do that descending, just follow the pattern backwards

EX2
-------------------------------------------------------------1-2-1-3-1-4-
-------------------------------------------------1-2-1-3-1-4-------------
-------------------------------------1-2-1-3-1-4-------------------------
-------------------------1-2-1-3-1-4-------------------------------------
-------------1-2-1-3-1-4-------------------------------------------------
-1-2-1-3-1-4-------------------------------------------------------------

-4-3-4-2-4-1-------------------------------------------------------------
-------------4-3-4-2-4-1-------------------------------------------------
-------------------------4-3-4-2-4-1-------------------------------------
-------------------------------------4-3-4-2-4-1-------------------------
-------------------------------------------------4-3-4-2-4-1-------------
-------------------------------------------------------------4-3-4-2-4-1-

EX3

-----------------------------------------4-3-2-1-
---------------------------------1-2-3-4---------
-------------------------4-3-2-1-----------------
-----------------1-2-3-4-------------------------
---------4-3-2-1---------------------------------
-1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------

-1-2-3-4
---------4-3-2-1---------------------------------
-----------------1-2-3-4-------------------------
-------------------------4-3-2-1-----------------
---------------------------------1-2-3-4---------
-----------------------------------------4-3-2-1-

EX4

-----------------------------------2---4-4---2-----------------------------------
---------------------------2---4-1---3-----3---1-4---2---------------------------
-------------------2---4-1---3---------------------3---1-4---2-------------------
-----------2---4-1---3-------------------------------------3---1-4---2-----------
---2---4-1---3-----------------------------------------------------3---1-4---2---
-1---3---------------------------------------------------------------------3---1-

 

Part 2

These next part of my lesson does not require tabs.

Individual finger strength is something that a lot of guitarists seem to overlook. I have found a few different things that really help build individual finger strength and independence. These will also help you with control.

Pressure And Control

Here’s a great exercise to bring into perspective how tense you are while playing without even noticing.

Pick a fret, any fret will do on any string. Now mute the string with your finger and slowly apply pressure until you hear the note ring out clearly. Notice how light you are pressing? Try playing through some exercises and scales without pressing any harder than that. It takes some concentration doesn’t it?

An important part of finger strength is being able to control how hard you are pressing down on the fretboard. Having that control enables you to apply many different expressions to your playing.

Metronome

Again, I cannot express how much working with a metronome can help you. Just use the one I recommended, if you don’t already have one of your own. It is important to note that when you increase your tempo on a metronome, not to increase it by too much. You can overload yourself and get frustrated easily if you do so.

Please be warned, that improving your speed and technique will take time. But it will be  worth it in the long run when you can play through an exercise at 200 bpm smoothly. When increasing, try not to increase more than 4-6 bpm at a time. I stick to 4, just because it’s simple for me when using that metronome I recommended to you earlier.

All in all, just experiment and find things that work for you. You can take any chromatic pattern and change it to make it more difficult. Instead of 1-2-3-4 try 1-3-2-4 or any other variation. You can even try string skipping, or changing the pattern on each individual string. The possibilities really are endless. Thank you for taking the time to read through this. Hopefully these exercises help you as much as hey helped me.

Finger Separation Exercise

On February 28, 2014

Hand Stretching Exercises

Description: Good exercises to work on stretching your hand – printer friendly instructions for guitar playing finger separation exercise.

In this lesson I’m going to show various stretching exercises for fingers of the left hand. I’m going to say what they are good for and what should be watched out for. The first one is a really easy beginner exercise the others are harder to play. Important:

    • To make exercises easier/harder you can play them elsewhere on the fretboard
    • Don’t force yourself to do too much at once. Take a break if it begins to be painful, but accept that to build muscles in your hand, you will need to accept a bit of an ache. You have my word that it will get easier every day.
    • If you can play all of these exercises, your fingers are in shape anyway.

Exercise No.1:

This is the Chromatic Scale, the easiest stretching exercise. I suppose most of you can already play it with ease. But if you have never played single notes, this would be what to start with. It teaches you to use different fingers for different frets, using every single finger. And it teaches the position of the left hand thumb on the neck, which has to be correct (=not all around the neck) otherwise you’ll hardly reach the fourth fret. Start at the high e string if you have not done it before as it’s the easiest string to play the exercise on. Because you don’t have to reach up to the thicker strings, which makes playing harder for beginners.

e|1-2-3-4--------------------------------------------|
B|--------1-2-3-4------------------------------------|
G|----------------1-2-3-4----------------------------|
D|------------------------1-2-3-4--------------------|
A|--------------------------------1-2-3-4------------|
E|----------------------------------------1-2-3-4----|

Don’t lift your fingers after you’ve played a note, so that you end up with all four fingers on the four frets of the string before you lift your fingers and move to the next string. If you lift a finger before having completed the string it isn’t a real stretching exercise anymore. Once you have mastered the fingerings you can play the scale in a steady position. And you can lift fingers and play the scale note by note from high to low increasing the speed. After going through several scales played in one position you will see the same scales played in a wider range and in lots of positions. (Check the lesson “Church Modes“) A major:

   i m p   i m p   i m p   i m p   i r  p   i r p
e|------------------------------------------7-9-10-|
B|---------------------------------7-9-10----------|
G|-------------------------6-7-9-------------------|
D|-----------------6-7-9---------------------------|
A|---------5-7-9-----------------------------------|
E|-5-7-9-------------------------------------------|

G# Locrian:

e|-------------------------------------5-7-9--|
B|-----------------------------5-7-9----------|
G|----------------------4-6-7-----------------|
D|---------------4-6-7------------------------|
A|--------4-5-7-------------------------------|
E|-4-5-7--------------------------------------|

Notice the parts going over 5 frets? You’ve got to play them and all you have got are 4 fingers. You have got to play them with the index finger, the middle finger and the pinky. So you are going to need a lot of stretching. Besides just playing the scale up and down you can also do some different exercises.

Exercise No.2:
This is a classic riff used in many songs. Play this exercise using your index for the E string and your middle/ring and your pinky for the A string. i … index, m … middle, r … ring, p … pinky

  m m p p m m p p     
  i i i i i i i i     
e|----------------|            
B|----------------|
G|----------------|
D|----------------|
A|7-7-9-9-7-7-9-9-|
E|5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-|

or:

  r r p p r r p p
  i i i i i i i i 
e|----------------|            
B|----------------|
G|----------------|
D|----------------|
A|7-7-9-9-7-7-9-9-|
E|5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-|

Practice both. Both versions stretch your pinky, The first gives you more of a middle finger stretch and less pinky stretch. The second gives you a harder pinky stretch than the first. This riff is used in many songs. It is equal to a major chord, the lowest note would be the root. If you’re using it for a song, play the version which is easier to play for you. A, D, and E riffs can also be played with open strings in first position to avoid the stretch. For practice use the two stretch versions as said before. If you want an even bigger pinky stretch this would be for you. This exercise is almost impossible to play using your ring finger, so use index, middle and pinky.

e|------------------------|
B|------------------------|
G|------------------------|
D|------------------------|
A|7--7--9--9--10-10-9--9--|
E|5--5--5--5--5--5--5--5--|

Exercise No.3: In this one there are 4 five-fret approaches. Hasn’t necessarily got to be played with hammer-ons and pull-offs, but it does make your hand stronger than if you leave them out. Note that it doesn’t start on the 1.

 +  1      2      3      4      1      2      

 i  p i m  p m i  p i m  p m i  p i m  p m i

|5--9p5h7-h9p7p5------------------------------|
|-----------------9p5h7-h9p7p5----------------|
|-------------------------------9p6h7-h9p7p6--|
|---------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------|

 3      4      1      2      3      4      1

 p i m  p m i  p i m  p m i  p i m  p m i  i

|---------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------|
|9p6h7-h9p7p6---------------------------------|
|--------------9p5h7-h9p7p5-------------------|
|----------------------------9p5h7-h9p7p5--2---|

Exercise No.4: Let every note of these shapes ring clearly one by one. Go through them in the given order – the last should be a great relief for your fingers. To improve the stretch move it down a fret or two.

e|7----6---6---6---6---|
B|8----8---7---7---7---|
G|9----9---9---8---8---|
D|10---10--10--10--9---|
A|---------------------|
E|---------------------|

This exercise above will really improve your chord fingering, because as you can see all the fingers are stretched one by one. This important for chords, especially for several “Jazz chords”, as they often use all four fingers and come in very awkward chord shapes. Jazz Chord examples:

e|-------------------------|
B|6----8----1----5---------|
G|5----9----2----4---------|
D|3----7----3----3---------|
A|5----x----x----x---------|
E|-----8----3----3---------|

Those are just a few jazz chord examples. There also are lots of non-jazzy chord voicings which need flexible fingers too. The exercises should be helpful for chord fingering in general. Despite all the exercises you have still got to practice chord-changing. Hope you enjoyed my lesson.