Finger-Style Workout

author: deadmansharvest date: 04/09/2010 category: guitar techniques
rating: 8.4 / votes: 5 
Hello everyone! Today I am going to go over some finger-style exercises that will help you build your technique on the guitar. Instead of rambling on and on about scales and music theory, I am just going to show you how to play some different exercises that will help you develop your playing. So, with that said, let's get to it. Example 1 : 16th note exercise
   T I M R T I M R T I M R T I M R T I M R T I M R T I M R T I M R M I
e|-------7-------7-------5-------5-------5-------5-------5-|-------5--------|
B|-----8-------8-------5-------5-------6-------6-------5---|-----5---5------|
G|---9-------9-------5-------5-------7-------7-------5-----|---5-------5----|
D|---------------------------------0-------0---------------|----------------|
A|-----------------0-------0-----------------------0-------|-0--------------|
E|-0-------0-----------------------------------------------|----------------|
   E minor         A minor         D minor         A minor
Every note in example one is a 16th note(4 notes per beat) except for the final six notes of the A minor chord. These notes are quickened by making them triplets. The letter above the exercise are the fingerings(which fingers to use) for the pick hand. Make sure you follow the fingerings when you practice, because later on your finger independence will become extremely important in learning advanced finger-style exercises. Here are the definitions for the fingerings: T = Thumb I = Index Finger M = Middle Finger R = Ring Finger P = Pinkie Notice in example one how you only used your thumb, index, middle and ring fingers to strike the notes of the chord? Well, this time try example one again, utilizing your thumb, middle, ring, and pinkie.
   T M R P T M R P T M R P T M R P T M R P T M R P T M R P   T M R P R M
e|-------7-------7-------5-------5-------5-------5-------5-|-------5--------|
B|-----8-------8-------5-------5-------6-------6-------5---|-----5---5------|
G|---9-------9-------5-------5-------7-------7-------5-----|---5-------5----|
D|---------------------------------0-------0---------------|----------------|
A|-----------------0-------0-----------------------0-------|-0--------------|
E|-0-------0-----------------------------------------------|----------------|
   E minor         A minor         D minor         A minor
You will find that it is extremely difficult to reach the same speed you were before using the new fingering. That is the point of practice. I urge you to play this exercise with the second fingering daily. Not only will it guarantee you the ultimate in finger independence, but it will also give you free reign when it comes to learning a new finger-style song. You will have complete control over your hands. Example two will be much more difficult for you to get perfect. This is example will be switching fingerings during the exercise, further challenging your finger independence. Each chord in this example will be played four times until the end, where I will tab out the changes. It just takes to long to tab out the same chords and fingerings when I could just tell you to repeat them. Work on it slowly at first to get all the fingerings correct. Here we go... Example 2 : Advanced Fingering 16th note exercise
   R M I T   R M I T   P R M T   P R M I   R M I T
e|---------|---------|-3-------|-1-------|---------|---------| 
B|-1-------|-1-------|---3-----|---3-----|-1-------|---------|
G|---2-----|---0-----|-----0---|-----2---|---2-----|-1-------| Continue 
D|-----2---|-----2---|---------|-------0-|-----2---|---2-----| below, this is
A|-------0-|-------3-|---------|---------|-------0-|-----2---| the change up.
E|---------|---------|-------3-|---------|---------|-------0-|
   A minor   C major   G major   D minor   A minor   E major

   R M I T R M I T R M I T R M(ALL)  TIMRP
e|---------------------------------|-----0~---------------------------|
B|-1-------1-------1-------1---0~x-|----1~----------------------------|
G|---2-------2-------2-------2-1~x-|---2~-----LET---------------------|
D|-----2-------2-------2-------2~x-|--2~-------CHORD------------------|
A|-------0-------0-------0-----2~x-|-0~----------RING-----------------|
E|-----------------------------0~x-|----------------------------------|
   A minor                     E maj A minor
The x symbol on the tablature is a representation of muting the strings with your right hand. Right after you pick the E major chord slap your right hand down onto the strings to mute them, this also gives the part a very cool sound. The final arpeggio in the last bar takes some practice. In essence you are just strumming a chord. Instead, however, of just raking the notes, you will actually be plucking each one of them with force. Accent the last open e note to give it some more definition, which will, in turn, provide a sense of closure to the piece. I hope this lesson was helpful to someone. Remember, take it slow if you are a beginner. Believe me, there is nothing worse for a guitarist, aside from getting your arms or hands cut off, than to develop Carpel Tunnel. If you have any questions or comments about this lesson, or anything in general you can e-mail me or comment on this lesson, I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks e-mail address: deadmansharvest@hotmail.com
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