#1
Okay so I started playing a year ago,I didnt have a teacher or anything,I just used youtube and google. Learned the basic chords,barre chords and beginner stuff. A few months ago I fell in love with fingerstyle but I started practicing only like a week ago or so. My right hand has the feel for picking and with practice I think it will be just fine,the problem lies in my left hand. Its so used to the basic chord shapes that it feels impossible to go out of the box and play strings individually and change them fast enough. Are there any excercises that focus on this problem to make the left hand more fluid? I was thinking of learning scales,even got the basic major scale pattern down but I dont know if that will help. Any advice would be much appreciated.
#2
It'll be the same old advice. You have to get good at changing chords at really slow speeds (e.g. around 1 chord change every 2 beats at 40 bpm). You have to watch really carefully what each finger is doing, and "plan a route" from one chord to the next with minimum finger motion.
#3
Tension tension and more tension. Tension slows you down.

Play so fucking slow you think time will stop. Simply change from chord to chord (or whatever you are stuck on) but move your fingers as if you are watching them in slow motion. REALLY slow motion. You will notice that this is fucking hard to do. Your fingers will shake/tremor and move involuntarily. They will want to fly away from the fretboard. They will want to move together. The amount of concentration required is pretty high. Keep at it until it's smooth and effortless and then bring up the speed slowly. Imagine your fingers are performing ballet or yoga. Slow slow slow. I can't stress how slowly you need to do this. Ever seen those slow motion 1000fps videos of a balloon popping or something? Yeah, that fucking slow!

Secondly, and the above will help here, but after placing a chord down, srum it a few times, then release/lift one finger and wiggle it around, place it back down, strum again, and release\lift a different finger, and wiggle that one around. If you have too much tension this will be bloody hard cus your fingers will lock down. Learn to sense that tension so it doesn't build up.

Thirdly, don't squeeze that thumb. A little pressure is fine but most of the pressure should come from letting your arm relax, and thus letting your elbow drop. This will in turn push your hand and fingers into the fretboard so you don't have to push each finger into the fret. Imagine that if the fretboard wasn't there your arm would just drop to your side. It's a weird sensation if you're used to just squeezing between the thumb and fingers. Once you master this you can even play without a thumb (useful if you play high up the neck and don't have a cutaway).

Look into buying Guitar Principles by Jamie Andreas. It goes over all of this in great detail.
Last edited by gweddle.nz at Feb 19, 2017,
#4
yeah...its all the clichés .. learn to walk before you can run...drink burgundy before bourbon...all that stuff...and do it all very very s l o w l y
play well

wolf