The great city of Rome was not built in a day, according to the saying, and the bad news for
budding guitarists is that the great talent of Jimmy Page was also not built in a day; (at the time of writing
it had been built for 67 years and still is very much a work in progress – the man just keeps getting better
These series of
articles have been designed to help accelerate your development and point you in the direction of the great
resources to help you budding Jimmy Page’s out there and this one will help you with guitar exercises. The
modern rock guitarist who’s accomplished in guitar solos and riffs will need to have two key attributes apart
from raw talent. These are technical attributes that these guitar exercises will help you develop and that is
speed and strength in your fingers.
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Speed and strength is
important in both hands but with different emphasis. If you can imagine the plucking hand this has to strike the
string at exactly the right moment to produce the note when it’s required - get the timing wrong and your
blistering solo will fall flat. Therefore it’s important to develop accuracy of speed. Strength is also an issue
as although you could be using a guitar pick, eventually your fingers could start to ache. With the fret hand,
strength in your fingers will soon become an issue. Of course you need some accuracy of speed to make sure that
the string is fretted in time but your fingers will very soon start to ache unless you develop the right sort of
strength in them. We are going to look at two very simple guitar exercises to get you going in developing these
attributes of strength and speed.
First, let’s look at
the plucking hand.
- Start by plucking each string from the low E to the top
E and back again, (it doesn’t matter that the previous string you pluck will still be resonating), just
keep working up and down and concentrate on keeping the gap between each note the
- Now do these exact same guitar exercises in time to a
metronome; (if you don’t have one, there are plenty of digital metronomes on-line - just Google ‘on-line
metronome’). Keep building up the speed until you get proficient at the high speeds you desire.
- Now it gets tricky. Do the same as before but always
pluck the low E string before each successive string, so for example:
E - A - E - D -
E - G - E - B - E - e - E - B - E - G - E - D - E - A - E
Again do this at
increasing speeds to the metronome. When you get up to around 200 beats per minute you may want to exceed the
speed your metronome will take you, in this case you strike the base E note on the metronome beat and the second
note between the beats; (you’ll have to turn the speed of the metronome back down again to start with).
Earlier on in these
guitar exercises I said not to worry about the previous string you plucked still resonating when you pluck the
next one. However, as your speed increases you could be ending up a wall of sound that will make it difficult
for you to distinguish between the string you’ve just plucked and the others. If this is the case, lightly tie a
handkerchief around the neck so that the strings are ‘damped’ taking care not to let any of the strings touch
the frets. These are great daily guitar exercises to help develop strength and speed in your plucking
In this next section
we’re going to give you a couple of guitar exercises that will really help build up the strength in the fingers
which is essential for fast, accurate fretting - without this strength you’re fingers will become tired and lazy
causing you to miss frets or not lift your finger in time.
- Sit at a table with your left hand about two inches
above and now start to tap on the table with each finger in turn from the index finger to the pinkie and
back again. Try to make a loud, rhythmic beat and when you get used to doing this get the metronome in play
again and work on your speed. This is where a book comes in useful; not a book about guitar exercises,
although it could be, but simply anything for you to read - you need to do this for about twenty minutes at
a time and you’ll need something to read to stop you getting bored. It is important that you ensure you
only have one finger touching the table at any one time - you’re aiming for a clean lift. Do this two or
three times a day for a couple of weeks.
- This guitar exercise is very similar to the one above
although instead of tapping on the table direct, you will be tapping on a thin piece of plasticine or
blu-tack that’s been rolled flat by a rolling pin. This will simulate the ‘give’ of the strings but also it
will allow you to measure your strength. Over the coming days you will want to see the impressions made by
your fingers in the plasticine getting deeper. In addition, the aim here is to get your fingers into the
same impressions in the plasticine without looking…. this will build up your accuracy as well as strength.
Again, do these two or three times a day for twenty minutes for a couple of weeks; this will really build
up the strength you need for speed and accuracy.
- Now you get to put the right and left hands together.
There are many guitar exercises that will help you do that, but an excellent starting point is speed
scales. If you have not done so already, read the articles ‘Learn Guitar Scales’ and ‘How to Play Guitar
Scales’. The concept of speed scales is simple - you just fire up your metronome and start playing them in
beat faster and faster and faster. These simple guitar exercises if practised regularly will give you a
good foundation for impressive things to come.
Do you want to improve your guitar playing beyond all
Do you want to learn how to dominate
Do you want to learn the secrets to ninja depth skill in
mastery of the guitar?
If the asnwer to these questions is yes, Click here for Guitar Scale