Strengthen Your Hands

Some exercises from other people, and some that I've made up. All in all, this lesson strengthens your hands.

Strengthen Your Hands
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Everyone who has ever touched a guitar has seen the same old exersices before. I'm not going to repeat old news, cause you dont need to know it for the millionth time. So these lessions go beyond the normal practice routine and into the world of vigerous practice. I'm wrinting this lession from the perspective of how I play it so here it goes.

Play all exersices to a metronome and evenly space the notes, it doesnt matter the speed! Remember accuracy is more important than speed and day. Exericises (a, b, c, d, e, f) are my basic examples that I will use for references. as the lession progresses, I will simply add little things that will strengthen your hand in a different way. I have 3 main changes that I use that I will show you in this lession, for each change I will give an example using "Exercise a", keep in mind the 3rd example is mainly for your picking hand, but keep the same form in your fretting hand. 
a) - use your index and middle finger only.
|---------------------------1-2-1----------------------------------|
|----------------------1-2--------2-1------------------------------|
|-----------------1-2------------------2-1-------------------------|
|------------1-2----------------------------2-1--------------------|
|-------1-2--------------------------------------2-1---------------|
| -1-2-------------------------------------------------2-1---------|

b) - use your middle and ring finger only.
|---------------------------2-3-2----------------------------------|
|----------------------2-3---------3-2-----------------------------|
|-----------------2-3-------------------3-2------------------------|
|------------2-3-----------------------------3-2-------------------|
|-------2-3---------------------------------------3-2--------------|
| -2-3--------------------------------------------------3-2--------|

c) - use your ring anf pinky finger only.
|---------------------------3-4-3----------------------------------|
|----------------------3-4---------4-3-----------------------------|
|-----------------3-4-------------------4-3------------------------|
|------------3-4-----------------------------4-3-------------------|
|-------3-4---------------------------------------4-3--------------|
| -3-4--------------------------------------------------4-3--------|

d) -use your index and ring finger only.
|---------------------------1-3-1----------------------------------|
|----------------------1-3---------3-1-----------------------------|
|-----------------1-3-------------------3-1------------------------|
|------------1-3-----------------------------3-1-------------------|
|-------1-3---------------------------------------3-1--------------|
| -1-3--------------------------------------------------3-1--------|

f) - use your middle and pinky finger only.
|---------------------------2-4-2----------------------------------|
|----------------------2-4---------4-2-----------------------------|
|-----------------2-4-------------------4-2------------------------|
|------------2-4-----------------------------4-2-------------------|
|-------2-4---------------------------------------4-2--------------|
| -2-4--------------------------------------------------4-2--------|
Alright now for the first change.Basically I'm just hammering on each note accending, and using pull-offs for thedecending. apply this example to each base exercise then continue to the next change. 
|---------------------------1h2p1----------------------------------|
|----------------------1h2--------2p1------------------------------|
|-----------------1h2------------------2p1-------------------------|
|------------1h2----------------------------2p1--------------------|
|-------1h2--------------------------------------2p1---------------|
| -1h2-------------------------------------------------2p1---------|
The second change will be simple but willtake some getting used to for beinggers. Basically each string accending will have a hammer-on and a pull-off, this will be especially difficult for a week or two for your forgotten finger, (your pinky). here's how to apply it.

(slight change) ******
|-----------------------------------------------1h2p1-2p1h2--|
|--------------------------------------1h2p1-----------------|
|-----------------------------1h2p1--------------------------|
|--------------------1h2p1-----------------------------------|
|-----------1h2p1--------------------------------------------|
|--1h2p1-----------------------------------------------------|

|------------------------------------------------------------|
|--2p1h2-----------------------------------------------------|
|-----------2p1h2----2p1h2-----------------------------------|
|-----------------------------2p1h2--------------------------|
|--------------------------------------2p1h2-----------------|
|-----------------------------------------------2p1h2--------|
Now if you cant peform pinch harmonics, just skp this part of the lession and practice the parts you do understand a little more. Basically just play a pinch harmonic for each note, its supprysingly hard to keep a pinch harmonic ringing with your pinky, but you will get the hang of it. Also a pinch harmonic tip:

if you get stuck on a certain harmonic, than your probly picking it in the wrong spot, try picking it closer to the bridge or closer to the neck, just mess around with them until you get a harmonic everywhere on command.

Some more pointers for this little lession:

1) Do not bar anything in this lession, and this is very important in building each fingers strength up, because the finger peforming the hammer-ons and the pull-offs is not the only finger that is being worked! it takes strength to frett the root note.

2) Make sure that everynote that is touched upon rings clearly, and I mean everything! The ones you hammer on are as important as the ones that you just plain old strike.

3) Most people who actually attemp this lession will do fine with all the fingering except for the pinky, if you have trouble with any one thing more than another thing, play it more than the easier ones, this will equal out your hand strength so that you will have 4 strong fingers, instead of 1 or 2 useless fingers an two good ones.

4) Move the patterns everywhere on the neck, these are just basic "shapes" for these exercises, in order to incorperate this into your playing, you need to do this everywhere on the frettboard, because it takes different strength to play it in different areas on the frettboard.

5) Buy a metronome and use it! They are one of the most useful tools you can own if you play music.

208 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    jehovas
    Thx.. I'm gonna' practise this everyday My ring/pinky is retarded.. haha I didn't know that actually.. it doesn't seem to work =)
    IsayNI
    ya ive been playin for a little over a year and ive never actually done "exercises"... so this is new to me but i think i might try it... i think just playing songs often is the best way to practice and continually progress to harder songs and once you get really good you start redoing songs and making your own... but i will still try this whole strengthening stuff... so ya umm cool
    battleofla
    Peter Shilton, the old england goalie, used to squeeze tennis balls to keep his fingers strong, the same applys for guitar. So give your balls a squeeze. *p.s. the article is good*
    heggazz
    yeah and i liked the stuff about pinch harmonics ill try to incorperate that into my warm up
    degraw14
    I know i'm like the 1 millionth person to say this but its simple yet very useful. Awesome work!
    SG6578
    Fantastic...builds dexterity and finger strength...should add some new fret combo's though.
    dawiese
    I've always wondered how to place the thumb when practicing riffs. Should the thumb pad be placed directly behind the neck, or should the neck rest in crotch of the the thumb and index finger?
    bradwhiteuk
    Wow my little finger (pinky as you americans call it) sucks ass. I've been playing for 2 months and the only exercies I can't do are c and f. I need to work on that a bit harder methinks. Thanks for makin me realise how much I suck lol
    Led Zepper
    Woah, great lesson, very very good, I started to notcie results within the first 20 minutes great work!
    fthelife15
    the exercise is easy if you just relax your whole fretting hand and press gentle it works try it just try not to think to hard and relax your hand and keep it light as a feather it worked for me
    Noitalevier
    Hmm, 3 of my fingers are good, but i got a pinky problem lol. Even when I spread my hand it bends towards the ring finger O.o Anyone know a way to help my pinky so that it can quit bending? >.< Oh, and good lesson, I could've used it to the fullest if i didnt have that pinky problem. lol XD
    TalithaK
    I am really beginner at this stuff...but this seems like a pretty good exercise
    shamankingster
    Great warm ups. I use the exercises before i play to stop my stiff fingers. They work very well. I recomend them to beginers who aren't realy fast to help increase speed :