Hi everyone

I've just started playing the guitar and I've been practicing for a couple of weeks now and for some reason I feel like I'm making no progress at all. Sure I can play some songs, but the thing is I keep coming short at all basic guitar techniques you need (hammer ons, pulloffs, bends, tapping, etc) and also as hard as I try I can't successfully do proper chord progressions. I have been looking around for a while and all I see are tabs, people say keep playing tabs and you'll get good (it shocked me when I saw stairway to heaven cited as a beginner song >.>; ). But enough bantering, the point of this thread is to ask you all what are good guitar exercises that help improve basic guitar skills? (ie: hammer ons, play an arpreggio with your left hand, etc)

All your help and contribution will certainly help not only me but all those just starting to play the guitar

I do alot of chromatic picking excercises, scales, work on alternate picking, chord fingerings, barre chords, fingering minors... (lol had to put that in there) and legato runs. Try playing scale alternate picking up and down, then repeat doing legato. Legato is hammering on and pulling off btw.
the best chord practice for me, is knowing a few chord based songs and just relaxedly playing them, over and over at leisure. for individual picking practice i get a metronome (on my keyboard) and just move around a little bit using all 4 fingers and staying on the beat.

it actually gets to a point that it is hypnotic and gets easier and easier. and afterwards you find moving around (on the fretboard) easier day by day.

edit: the important thing is NOT the speed, but using each finger as relaxed as possible.

stare at a wall when you do it and just zone out
Play some exercises and scales and alternate pick. When I just started I used all downstrokes, but then I decided to alternate pick every exercise/scale and it really helped. Now I just do it without even thinking.
Practice scales before each session. My favorite variation would be using hammer-ons and pull-offs, picking only the first note of each string. I cannot stress the importance of hammer-on pull-off strength.
If you're looking for some help, definitely think about getting some books. I picked up Learn to Play Guitar, from Barnes and Noble for like 15 bucks, and it's turning out to be a great book. It starts out for guys who never picked up a guitar, and goes all the way through to something I would consider difficult. I still practice everything it says, and Turbo said it right, alternate picking is really key. Since I've been practicing the exercises, my picking speed has been getting faster, and my progress has really been stepping forwards.

My Gear
Fender 60th Anniversary Standard Stratocaster
Washburn Lyon (LCT24)
Silvertone Revolver Bass
Ibanez IJV50 Acoustic
Fender CD160E-12
Guild Starfire IV
Some cruddy classical that my parents bought off ebay for like 40 bucks.
Guitar for Dummies, anybody?

It's what I used.
My gear:

MIJ Squier Stratocaster

Washburn WR150 Quilted Top

Oscar Schmidt Semi-hollow Delta King

Epiphone Hummingbird

Amps: Fender Eighty-Five
yeh, I second (or is it third?) guitar for dummies. Its great for basic stuff like chords and techinques like pull offs and hammer ons etc. I also recommend practising some chord based stuff like Radiohead or Oasis to start with. I made the mistake of starting trying to play full songs then realising I couldn't handle the chords
go through the basics, the lessons on this site are bloody useful. they've got all the **** you need to learn before progressing further. they helped me a load anyway, when i started.

also books yeh, i got the complete guitarist (big thick colourful book) and im in the process of learning theory.
Ibanez 370DX LH, Tanglewood Nevada LH, Freshman Apoostic, VOX AD30VT amp
Last edited by thedeus at Jul 24, 2006,