Improving Finger Stretchability

author: Kimikk date: 06/15/2009 category: for beginners
rating: 8.5 / votes: 13 
One problem all guitar players have to deal with early on is how far they can comfortably stretch their fingers. Even more so is the fact that the middle and ring fingers are an almost inseperable couple. So I created this set of exercises to help remedy that which is kind of like the saying "Boiling a Frog." What this exercise does is slowly allow you finger to be able to reach farther and farther. At the end of the lesson will give example of how you can spice these exercises up a bit. What you need to do is at a point on the fretboard where you can comfortably put on fret between one finger and the other like for example the middle and ring finger, go up a half-step from that, and simply do runs up and down for a couple minutes or so. Make sure that you keep your fingers relaxed and do not tense up. You will also want to do this to a metronome, make sure that you play it cleanly, each of the notes should sound clearly (not muted), and most importantly keep your fingers as parallel with the frets as you can (DO NOT slant both of your finger toward the pickups or bridge). Lets begin, this first exercise is where I ws able to start with my middle and ring finger but you can start where ever you like.
Exe. 1:
|--------------------------------17-19--------------------------|
|--------------------------17-19-------17-19-(cont. descending)-|
|--------------------17-19--------------------------------------|
|--------------17-19--------------------------------------------|
|--------17-19--------------------------------------------------|
|--17-19--------------------------------------------------------|
After you are done with that go up another half step if you feel like can do so. Make sure that if you hand feels sore or a slight burn, that you take a short break. If you aren't careful can injury yourself. The first exercise dealt with making your fingers more comfortable stretching. This next one will deal with gaining control over stretching your fingers. With this exercise you need to make sure that you keep your fingers on the fretboard at all times unless you are switching from one string to the next or are going to play a lower note. Like with the first exercise, keep it clean, sound each not clearly and keep your finger parallel with the frets.
Exe. 2:
|--17-18-17--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-----------16-17-16-----------------------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------18-17-18--------------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------16-17-16-----------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------18-17-18----------18-17-18-{cont. ascending)-|
|------------------------------------------------16-17-16----------------------------|
Like with the first exercise, after you are done you can shift up a half step, remember to take a break when you hand is sore and don't hurt yourself. Customizing these exercises: 1. First thing you can do is add more fingers. 2. Use different finger combonations, like say index and pinky finger or middle and pinky finger. 3. Putting more frets inbetween each of your fingers. Keep in mind though that you don't over extend and hurt yourself. This has dangerous potential to cause injury. 4. If you want a bigger challenge try doing this but, keep your index finger and ring finger on the 13th and 16th fret of the 3rd string. You can change this up and play it on the 2nd and 3rd strings with your middle and ring finger and keeping you middle and pinky finger on the 15th and 18th frets of the 1st string, or you can change the which finger you keep down and which fingers you use to fret with.
|--15-18-14-17-------------15-18-14-17-------------|
|--------------15-18-14-17-------------15-18-14-17-|
|--------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------|
5. Well I'll leave the rest up to you there are more ways like adding string skipping or hammer-ons and pull-offs, and many more. Thanks for listening and Keep Shreddin'!
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