Strengthen Your Hands

author: Unregistered date: 01/19/2005 category: correct practice
rating: 9.5 / votes: 253 
Everyone who has ever touched a guitar has seen the same old exersices before. I'm not going to repeat old news, cause you dont need to know it for the millionth time. So these lessions go beyond the normal practice routine and into the world of vigerous practice. I'm wrinting this lession from the perspective of how I play it so here it goes. Play all exersices to a metronome and evenly space the notes, it doesnt matter the speed! Remember accuracy is more important than speed and day. Exericises (a, b, c, d, e, f) are my basic examples that I will use for references. as the lession progresses, I will simply add little things that will strengthen your hand in a different way. I have 3 main changes that I use that I will show you in this lession, for each change I will give an example using "Exercise a", keep in mind the 3rd example is mainly for your picking hand, but keep the same form in your fretting hand.
a) - use your index and middle finger only.
|---------------------------1-2-1----------------------------------|
|----------------------1-2--------2-1------------------------------|
|-----------------1-2------------------2-1-------------------------|
|------------1-2----------------------------2-1--------------------|
|-------1-2--------------------------------------2-1---------------|
| -1-2-------------------------------------------------2-1---------|

b) - use your middle and ring finger only.
|---------------------------2-3-2----------------------------------|
|----------------------2-3---------3-2-----------------------------|
|-----------------2-3-------------------3-2------------------------|
|------------2-3-----------------------------3-2-------------------|
|-------2-3---------------------------------------3-2--------------|
| -2-3--------------------------------------------------3-2--------|

c) - use your ring anf pinky finger only.
|---------------------------3-4-3----------------------------------|
|----------------------3-4---------4-3-----------------------------|
|-----------------3-4-------------------4-3------------------------|
|------------3-4-----------------------------4-3-------------------|
|-------3-4---------------------------------------4-3--------------|
| -3-4--------------------------------------------------4-3--------|

d) -use your index and ring finger only.
|---------------------------1-3-1----------------------------------|
|----------------------1-3---------3-1-----------------------------|
|-----------------1-3-------------------3-1------------------------|
|------------1-3-----------------------------3-1-------------------|
|-------1-3---------------------------------------3-1--------------|
| -1-3--------------------------------------------------3-1--------|

f) - use your middle and pinky finger only.
|---------------------------2-4-2----------------------------------|
|----------------------2-4---------4-2-----------------------------|
|-----------------2-4-------------------4-2------------------------|
|------------2-4-----------------------------4-2-------------------|
|-------2-4---------------------------------------4-2--------------|
| -2-4--------------------------------------------------4-2--------|
Alright now for the first change. Basically I'm just hammering on each note accending, and using pull-offs for the decending. apply this example to each base exercise then continue to the next change.
|---------------------------1h2p1----------------------------------|
|----------------------1h2--------2p1------------------------------|
|-----------------1h2------------------2p1-------------------------|
|------------1h2----------------------------2p1--------------------|
|-------1h2--------------------------------------2p1---------------|
| -1h2-------------------------------------------------2p1---------|
The second change will be simple but willtake some getting used to for beinggers. Basically each string accending will have a hammer-on and a pull-off, this will be especially difficult for a week or two for your forgotten finger, (your pinky). here's how to apply it.
 (slight change) ******
|-----------------------------------------------1h2p1-2p1h2--|
|--------------------------------------1h2p1-----------------|
|-----------------------------1h2p1--------------------------|
|--------------------1h2p1-----------------------------------|
|-----------1h2p1--------------------------------------------|
|--1h2p1-----------------------------------------------------|

|------------------------------------------------------------|
|--2p1h2-----------------------------------------------------|
|-----------2p1h2----2p1h2-----------------------------------|
|-----------------------------2p1h2--------------------------|
|--------------------------------------2p1h2-----------------|
|-----------------------------------------------2p1h2--------|
Now if you cant peform pinch harmonics, just skp this part of the lession and practice the parts you do understand a little more. Basically just play a pinch harmonic for each note, its supprysingly hard to keep a pinch harmonic ringing with your pinky, but you will get the hang of it. Also a pinch harmonic tip: if you get stuck on a certain harmonic, than your probly picking it in the wrong spot, try picking it closer to the bridge or closer to the neck, just mess around with them until you get a harmonic everywhere on command. Some more pointers for this little lession: 1) Do not bar anything in this lession, and this is very important in building each fingers strength up, because the finger peforming the hammer-ons and the pull-offs is not the only finger that is being worked! it takes strength to frett the root note. 2) Make sure that everynote that is touched upon rings clearly, and I mean everything! The ones you hammer on are as important as the ones that you just plain old strike. 3) Most people who actually attemp this lession will do fine with all the fingering except for the pinky, if you have trouble with any one thing more than another thing, play it more than the easier ones, this will equal out your hand strength so that you will have 4 strong fingers, instead of 1 or 2 useless fingers an two good ones. 4) Move the patterns everywhere on the neck, these are just basic "shapes" for these exercises, in order to incorperate this into your playing, you need to do this everywhere on the frettboard, because it takes different strength to play it in different areas on the frettboard. 5) Buy a metronome and use it! They are one of the most useful tools you can own if you play music.
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