Developing Left Hand Dexterity

That's my simple metod that will make your left hand even more flexible!

Ultimate Guitar

Hello! This article will be about left hand fingers, as the title says. We all can play the chromatic 1-2-3-4 passages, called spiders. Yup, surely, we can play it even backwards! Yay! And it looks so obvious that it's possible to play cleanly and fast any combination of 1-2-3-4 spider, that most of us never even try other permutations of it. The point of this lesson is to develop your chops, especially fingers of the left hand, what's connected with right hand picking. There's no many musical benefits from it, but your technique will develop greatly. And I mean really greatly. First step is to measure your current ability. Below is the list of all the combinations to practice with. 01. 1-2-3-4 02. 1-2-4-3 03. 1-3-2-4 04. 1-3-4-2 05. 1-4-2-3 06. 1-4-3-2 07. 2-1-3-4 08. 2-1-4-3 09. 2-3-1-4 10. 2-3-4-1 11. 2-4-1-3 12. 2-4-3-1 13. 3-1-2-4 14. 3-1-4-2 15. 3-2-1-4 16. 3-2-4-1 17. 3-4-1-2 18. 3-4-2-1 19. 4-1-2-3 20. 4-1-3-2 21. 4-2-1-3 22. 4-2-3-1 23. 4-3-1-2 24. 4-3-2-1 Play every one with the same picking manner, i.e. alternate picking. Start playing it in sixteenth notes in 70BPM, or so, and play it like in the tab below. I've chosen a no.16 for example. So it's 3-2-4-1 Play it like this:
Done? Was it clean and rhythmically correct? The point is to feel comfortable with it everywhere. If you're so, speed up a bit. When you reach the top speed at which you can do it cleanly, write it down and start with another combination. Then, when you've measured all of them, look at the BPM's. It's almost 100% sure, that there will be some 140BPM's, and some 80-90BPM's. So, if you have results in front of you, you know what you lack. And that's one of the best things to know when you want to improve, trust me. And the goal is to make the max speed of every combination equal to the speed of the best result from the test you've done right before. The way you achieve it belongs to you. I was choosing one combination daily and been working on it, till it was perfect. Ultimately, you want to achieve a point when you can play all the combinations at equal speed, with minimal effort. On your way to that goal, try playing it with legato, involve some string skipping or try special picking manners. It took me two months to finish this challenge, and the results are awesome. Don't rush through it. Remember to write down your progress every day, and As always - have fun doing it! I hope that yours left hand dexterity will greatly improve after that challenge! Thank you for reading this! Please rate, comment and like my facebook profile. I'd be pleased! Daniel Kaczmarczyk

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I think attempting to do these and failing miserably even at that has convinced me to give up guitar.
    I don't find anything bad for ears in this exercise, since working on articulation and listetning to the melodies built on b2,2,b3 intervals is a good way to develop a sense of semitone alteration.
    I know I'm nitpicking here, but you might want to title this article "Developing Fret Hand Dexterity" since not all players are right handed. Just a thought. Good exercise though.
    Very helpful, indeed. I had some of my own ideas like this, but I was too lazy to write them down, or practice them. I guess your article is going to give me motivation for that...
    I hope that it will give you the motivation. As I written before, it really helps
    this is a really useful page, and definitely an exercise i will try. i tend to struggle to reach the right note or locate a chord in time. i tend to find i am better playing by ear; because when i look at a chord diagram, it just makes me slow then i get really annoyed at myself. i dont know whether its a dexterity issue or just a problem with my brain reading the music lol, but i hope i can better at certain changes
    Casanova, it's just practice that you need. That excercise helps really to develop your fingers.
    That's right. Picking hand / fretting hand are better to use when we talk about various handed guitarists.
    You're propably doing one of the mistakes that are stopping your development or even making your playing impossible. Find a good teacher and have a few lessons. He'll help you. BTW, this challegne is not a simple one. This is why it's called a challenge
    Seriously, taking a couple months is good perspective. This lesson does seem a bit simplistic, but but but a developed sense of simplicity is indespencable. Remember, mastery of complexity is talent, though mastery of simplicity is creativity.
    Simplicity of this lesson is not corresponding with the complexity of the challenge. I like to write that kind of lessons - they are short, informative and give a lot of things to practice on.
    This sort of thing is actually bad for you ear. If you want dexterity just play music on your guitar ..... alot.