How To Strengthen Your Fretting Digits

Having a stronger fretting hand allows you to greater sustain string bends and Hams/Puffs as well as gaining better endurance in the fretting hand.

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Hi, Nathan here, and welcome to my tutorial on "How To Strengthen Your Fretting Digits". Disclaimer: by no means am I an advance guitar player - I have been playing on and off for the past 5 years and am gaining greater experience by the day. To build up my muscles in my fingers, and as a warm up exercise, I like to play the beginning to the Muse: "Knights Of Cydonia". This whole excerpt relies on the effect of tremolo, which is created by bending the string at a high frequency.
e|---------------------------------------|-----------------------------------
B|---------------------------------------|-----------------------------------
G|---------------------------------------|-----------------------------------
D|-5---4--2--0-----2--4--5----4--2--0----|-1----2--4--2---5--7--8----7--8--9-
A|---------------------------------------|-----------------------------------
E|---------------------------------------|-----------------------------------

e|----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------------|
B|----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------------|
G|-8---5--0--7----|-8---7--5--3----|-7---5--3--5----|-3--1--3----4----5----|
D|----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------------|
A|----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------------|
E|----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------------|
Go through the tab first to make sure you can it properly, and get familiar with the song here:
YouTube preview picture
As you can see the excerpt relies heavly on just two strings. Instead of using all my fingers to play the tab, I just focus on using one mainly. To achieve this, just slide your finger your currently working on, down the string to hit the necessary notes. The strength needed to bend the strings while hitting the notes builds up the strength in your fingers. Now my Pinky is one of the strongest fingers of my fretting hand - and the rest of my fingers are benefited with better accuracy and strength when playing licks or solos. Enjoy cracking open nuts with your harda-s pinky!

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    gypsyblues7373
    "Tremolo" is not "bending the string at a high frequency". I'm not sure if you're referring to tremolo picking (
    ), which isn't really helpful as a fretting hand exercise, or trills (
    ), which is .
    kennmi
    hes actually referring to vibrato (
    ) tremol o is focusing on the rate of playing a note, trills is the alternating between two separate notes (on string instruments in a hammeron/pulloff format, in non stringed and fixed stringed (brass, woodwind, piano, harp) as just switching between the two notes very quickly and repeatedly. vibrato is actually bending the pitch of the note, with the you determining the rate and amount of pitch change.
    kennmi
    sorry for the double post, but after watching some covers and the live version (
    ), the intro is actually done using a whammy bar, just saying.
    mini_cooper1701
    Really helpful, have been struggling with strength in my pinky and I feel a difference straight away.
    lefty_138
    Trills are great for building strength and dexterity.
    My Last Words
    And finger independence! I like to use an exercise where you put all of your fingers on the 5th to the 8th fret on the High E. Then hammer-pull-off the 5th fret on the B string with your first finger, then the 6th fret with your second finger, etcetera. The trick however, is to hold the remaining fingers on the frets of the high E. Great for building Strenght, dexterity and finger independence.
    infantino
    My fretting hand is relativly strong as it is, but this still helped and i'll continute to do this (more for dexterity. Thank you
    JayMichaelRayne
    my pinkie became stronger when i learned "plug in baby". knights of cydonia are not as good for that.