Finger Independence Exercises

author: Wininacan date: 03/22/2013 category: correct practice
rating: 8.2 / votes: 83 
Finger Independence Exercises
The purpose of this article is try help you break outside of the world of boring noodling, and give you some real finger independence. Throw away those useless 1234 exercises and defeat the evils of noodling. A lot of people will sit for hours and practice and exercise like this:
----------------------------------------1-2-3-4-
---------------------------------1-2-3-4--------
-------------------------1-2-3-4----------------
-----------------1-2-3-4------------------------
---------1-2-3-4--------------------------------
-1-2-3-4----------------------------------------
Now this is all good and dandy if you're a brand new guitarist and you can bearly hold a note. But if you keep practicing this forever this is all your fingers can do. These exercises will add new muscle memory to your playing and you will truly play outside the box, so lets get this started. Here is the first one, make sure you use ALL FOUR FINGERS, don't neglect your pinky, most players do and they are limiting themselves by 25% of the notes that could be played. When you do this one keep shifting up a fret till you get to the end of the neck.
---------------------2-4---------------------
-----------------1-3-----1-3-----------------
-------------2-4------------2-4--------------
---------1-3--------------------1-3----------
-----2-4----------------------------2-4------
-1-3------------------------------------1-3--
Now flip it in reverse and repeat:
---------------------4-2---------------------
-----------------3-1-----3-1-----------------
-------------4-2-------------4-2-------------
---------3-1---------------------3-1---------
-----4-2-----------------------------4-2-----
-3-1-------------------------------------3-1-
Now I will show you a whole bunch of them, do that same thing you did with the first one, keep shifting up a fret till you cover the neck, then do the same exercise in reverse.
---------------------2-3---------------------
-----------------1-4-----1-4-----------------
-------------2-3-------------2-3-------------
---------1-4---------------------1-4---------
-----2-3-----------------------------2-3-----
-1-4-------------------------------------1-4-

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

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

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

---------------------4-3---------------------
-----------------1-2-----1-2-----------------
-------------4-3-------------4-3-------------
---------1-2---------------------1-2---------
-----4-3-----------------------------4-3-----
-1-2-------------------------------------1-2-
Now the next problem in combating the noodle, is that most players play all their melodic lines using their index finger to root their hand on the fretboard and play a blasting slur of a couple notes located under that one. So lets continue, I think you'll get the point of this exercise when you try it. When a note is in parentheses, keep your finger planted on that note until the next one comes.
(descend)

----------------------------2-3-4-----------
----------------------2-3-4-----------------
----------------2-3-4-----------------------
----------2-3-4-----------------------------
----2-3-4-----------------------------------
-(1)----------------------------------------

----------------------------1-3-4------------
----------------------1-3-4------------------
----------------1-3-4------------------------
----------1-3-4------------------------------
----1-3-4------------------------------------
-(2)-----------------------------------------

----------------------------1-2-4------------
----------------------1-2-4------------------
----------------1-2-4------------------------
----------1-2-4------------------------------
----1-2-4------------------------------------
-(3)-----------------------------------------

----------------------------1-2-3------------
----------------------1-2-3------------------
----------------1-2-3------------------------
----------1-2-3------------------------------
----1-2-3------------------------------------
-(4)-----------------------------------------

----------------------------2-3-4------------
----------------------2-3-4------------------
----------------2-3-4------------------------
----------2-3-4------------------------------
-(1)-----------------------------------------
----2-3-4------------------------------------

---------------------------1-3-4-------------
---------------------1-3-4-------------------
---------------1-3-4-------------------------
---------1-3-4-------------------------------
-(2)-----------------------------------------
----1-3-4------------------------------------

----------------------------1-2-4------------
----------------------1-2-4------------------
----------------1-2-4------------------------
----------1-2-4------------------------------
-(3)-----------------------------------------
----1-2-4------------------------------------

------------------------1-2-3----------------
-------------------1-2-3---------------------
--------------1-2-3--------------------------
---------1-2-3-------------------------------
-(4)-----------------------------------------
----1-2-3------------------------------------

------------------------2-3-4----------------
-------------------2-3-4---------------------
--------------2-3-4--------------------------
-(1)-----------------------------------------
---------2-3-4-------------------------------
----2-3-4------------------------------------
Hopefully you get the idea of how this one works, keep going until you've cycles through all the patterns, and then guess what you do next. :) Shift up a fret and do it again. Finger exercises are not about repeating over and over again until you are some sort of speed demon. They are about building connections between your brain and the muscles in your hands, to give you the freedom to have the physical ability to play the notes that you want to play, not just the ones you can play. Don't stop with these exercises, this is only a very basic beginning. Every time there is a motion you have troubles with, turn it into a finger exercise. Happy playing!
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