Easy finger exercises for guitar are designed to give you finger flexibility. 10 minutes daily practise will get you quick results. If you want to play lead guitar or combined chords and melody, you need to get muscle memory.
I’ve had arthritis in my hands from the age of 16 and have played for over 42 years, these exercises keep my fingers supple. Over time you will get speed. They are simple, easy and quick.
How To Do The Exercises
Grab your guitar! Tune it! Place your palms together in front of you and push them gently together, spread your fingers. When you press gently this stretches the muscles in the back of your hands and the webbing between your fingers. Shake them out and start!
Look at the chart below and analyse it.
Each number is a finger. 1,2,3,4
Place your first finger on the bottom E string on the Fifth 5.
Look carefully at the chart and note the downward arrow.
You will play from top to bottom of the first column (1234), then move on to the top of the second column(2134) and work to the bottom.
Then move onto the top of the third column (3124) and play down to the bottom. Finally, start at the top of the fourth column (4123) and play to the bottom.
A Planned Approach
You play each set of four numbers on each string until the top E string, then move your fingers back to the bottom E string and start the next set of numbers.
Then move down to the next four numbers.
Go very slowly at first and gradually speed up. Preferably, do it to a metronome to keep the tempo moving steadily. It will help with keeping time with chords and lead too.
This is what I call my mindless (meditation) practise. I can sit down for 10 minutes and work my way through the chart without having to think. This can be a great thing, as there is no pressure to perform.
You might grab a few minutes waiting for your partner to get ready for work. Or while dinner is being made ready. After a while you can make this a very relaxing way that you start your practise before tackling a new chord or song.
If you do this practise everyday for just 10 minutes, you will improve!
Let’s Talk About Pick Strokes
Each time you place a finger down you need to play that string. You could do all down strokes or all up strokes. But the best way is to alternate. Down, Up, Down, Up.
Now you are practising two skills, one for your Fret hand and one for your picking hand. If you play slowly one note at a time and look at how you play each string, you will find the most comfortable way for you to play this exercise.
Alternating your picking will allow you to slowly build to a great speed but patience please.
Hints and Tips
When you first start playing this exercise you may feel a pull at the back of your hand. Don’t worry, that is only the ligaments that move each of your fingers stretching for this new technique.
You may find yourself speeding up, as you move from string to string and then start to make mistakes. This is the time to slow down on that particular sequence. It’s not a race and in fact all great guitarists will tell you that you don’t improve unless you slow down.
A slow steady practise will give you consistency and accuracy and your dream guitar hands over time.
Grab your metronome and set it to 60 beats per minute, this is a nice pace to start at. Indeed, if you raise the time on your metronome by 2 everyday, you will never notice that your speed is increasing! If you don’t have a metronome you can check them out here.
Above all else, try and find ways to blend your fundamental practise in between the fun stuff. If you are not having fun and slowly improving, it’s a recipe for disaster and you might quit.
There is not always a dramatic ending to your guitar playing. You just notice you walk around your guitar instead of picking it up or it stays in the closet. When practise becomes too boring or too difficult, anyone will fade away. It’s human nature. Therefore, choose carefully what bits of practise that you do each day. Some fun, some skill!
Easy Finger Exercises For Guitar – Conclusion
Why should you bother with finger exercises? That’s a good question, one I didn’t ask for most of my life, as a guitarist. I hope it doesn’t take you as long as it did for me, to realise that I needed to have a little structure in my playing.
Although, I could play close to 300 songs I wasn’t really improving my guitar skills over the years. That was sad and it wasn’t until I wanted to play chords and melody that I found it way too hard. That is when I found these exercises and became serious about making little moments to practise. This wasn’t a great big commitment, just small daily steps.
I had to start learning all over again, as I didn’t have the finger dexterity to move one finger at a time and hold other strings down for the chord.
I hope that you will be able to blend this chart into your life and reap the rewards.
Please leave a comment about your journey, as I would love to hear from other guitarists.