How To Improve Hand Synchronization

Four separate exercises designed to develop your right and left hand skills.

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Single string exercises are an effective way to develop coordination and synchronization between the hands as well as alternate picking technique on the guitar. When focusing on one string only, you can exclusively work on developing your picking, fret hand and position shifting technique without having to be concerned with moving from string to string (which is a separate skill that also needs to be developed.) Below are four separate exercises designed to develop your right and left hand skills. The first one focuses on a single left hand fretboard position and the next three all involve left hand shifts. All the exercises use straight alternate picking with the right hand. You can start with either a downstroke or an upstrokeit is a good idea to practice them both ways. Once memorized, all the drills should be practiced on all strings and in other areas of the fretboard. A detailed video of all the exercises is available here. The first exercise is a six note repeating figure in one position: Exercise 1
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|--5-8-5-7-8-7-5-8-5-7-8-7--|
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The second drill incorporates a one fret shift with the index finger when descending and a one fret shift with the pinky finger when ascending. Take it slow until you are comfortable with the left hand shifts and can maintain perfect synchronization between the pick hand and the fret hand when executing the shifts. Exercise 2
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|--8-7-5-4-5-7-8-7-5-4-5-7--|
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Similar to the second exercise, the third drill incorporates a two fret shift with the pinky finger when ascending and a two fret shift with the index finger when descending. Exercise 3
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|--5-7-8-10-8-7-5-7-8-10-8-7--|
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The final exercise consists of two three note sequences ascending and two three note sequences descending. Exercise 4
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|--4-5-7-5-7-8-10-8-7-8-7-5--|
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As mentioned, take these drills slow to start, make sure everything is smooth and in sync between the right and left hand. Use the minimum amount of pick hand movement in your right hand and the least amount of left hand finger pressure you need to get the notes to sound clearly. Then work the drills on all other strings and in other areas of the guitar neck. You can also develop your own single string exercises the possibilities are limitless. Find fingering sequences that give you trouble and come up with your own exercises to conquer them. You will notice an improvement in your playing technique in a short time after working these exercises into your daily practice routine. Download the free video of this lesson here. Paul Kleff is a musician and guitar instructor located in Grand Rapids, Michigan USA. To receive a free E Book with 5 additional mini lessons, go here. 2009 Paul Kleff

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Kabirsbhasin
    Any guitarist that thinks they are above going back to beginner exercises will never be a truly great musician. Good exercise. It could be built into even more complex things like string skipping or even just string changing, but it's a start.
    DragonAvenger7
    I second this! I'm a beginner but I agree with the basics ALWAYS having importance no matter how good you get. The truth is, there is NO SUCH THING as mastering the guitar. There is always something to learn or improve on. I really enjoyed that 4th exercise! ANOTHER good beginner practice lesson by PaulKleff.
    esmaabi
    well yea it's really great lesson and I improved my finger speed quite alot and by the way I got better at guitar hero 4 thanks to this exercise
    saw7988
    looks like this lesson will really help a lot, thanks! on the 4th exercise though, are you supposed to shift twice with the same finger? (eg pinky shifting to 8 and then to 10 after?)
    PaulKleff
    saw7988 wrote: looks like this lesson will really help a lot, thanks! on the 4th exercise though, are you supposed to shift twice with the same finger? (eg pinky shifting to 8 and then to 10 after?)
    On the 4th one, the shift from 8 to 10 is done with the pinky. Here's the left hand fingering for the entire 4th exercise: i m p i r p p m i p r i Thanks for the comments!
    Dynamight
    pengiunman wrote: Looks like it would be good for the more beginner type.
    It would be good for anyone who has trouble doing it at first.
    ssk9716757
    Excellent lesson, man. I've been playing for four years, and while I can play moderate stuff just fine my coordination goes to crap when it comes to playing fast stuff. This lesson really helped me out and I already feel myself improving.
    snarfi18
    so what, Beginners need this, and it's fun to make variations based on these excersises