Finger Twisters

In this lesson I share with you permutations of the famous "1234" exercise and tell you about their benefits.

Ultimate Guitar
Hello everyone,

In today's lesson I want to share with you certain exercises that I use as a daily warm-up routine. These exercises are simply modifications of the classic 1-2-3-4 chromatic exercise that we play on different strings and positions across the neck. Most of these variations will be rather odd and puzzling for your hands, but that's in fact their purpose: they're supposed to confuse your fingers. That is the reason why I have aptly titled them "Finger twisters." Watch this video of me explaining them:

YouTube preview picture

I truly believe these exercises will not only help you warm up more effectively (after 2 minutes of these I am pretty much ready to go), but in the long run they'll prove helpful when tackling riffs and solos that have odd fingering patterns in them. They might also help you spot aspects about your technique that can be improved upon, for example string skipping when using strict alternate picking.

Play each of the exercises slowly at first, so as to develop some sort of muscle memory before you can transpose them to other positions of the neck. Another advantage offered by exercises like these is that they will also improve the flexibility of your fingers and the dexterity of your picking hand, thus effectively rendering you a faster player. I didn't plug in my guitar while demonstrating the exercises as I can't stand the sound of chromaticism approached in that way (a mechanical, uncreative one) and I don't expect you to enjoy their sound either. Not that it matters, for after all, you're just warming up and not playing actual music.

Download a PDF file with the tab here.

About the Author:
By Miguel Marquez. I'm a guitar teacher interested in combining my knowledge of psychology and music theory so as to develop more effective teaching methods for my students. Don't forget to follow me on Facebook and watch my interpretations of demanding classical pieces by Paganini and others. Make sure you check out my stuff on Soundcloud, too!

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I admit I hate doing these, I have to take a deep breath and really force myself into starting these finger olympics, but they are fun when you get the hang of it and can play them at a modest tempo..thanks
    This lesson makes me so frustrated but it is really awesome. Thanks for the tabs man!
    I cant seem to download this file onto my phone. It's telling me It's not a pdf file. Am I the only one who is having this problem?
    Use your desktop computer or laptop to download the pdf file and then transfer it onto your phone.
    Cant do that. Im on a works ethernet, and dont have wifi at my digs, so I have to get it on my phone. Any other suggestions?
    Download it at an internet cafe, print it out (it's only one page).