Developing Left Hand Dexterity

author: daniel.kPL date: 04/03/2012 category: practice tips
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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
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