Guitar Age Or A Guitarists Illustrated Primer VIII

So you just bought a guitar. Now what? This is the seventh installment in my series of guitar lessons to get you from beginner to virtuoso as quickly as humanly possible. I'm going to show you some basic Finger Strengthening Exercises in this lesson. Learn, practice, play.

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Christmas came early this year loyal followers, because I have another lesson for you to sink your teeth into. I'm sure that you are still trying to digest the last lesson on the Minor Pentatonic scale, but suck it up princess you have a long way to go. Also, just because we changed gears to Solo Country doesn't mean that you can slack off with your rhythm playing and chord practicing. There are far too many guitarists out there that can blaze through a C Diminished 7th Arpeggio at light speed, but can't play an open G Chord. Be a balanced player and you will be a greater asset to your band, and people will be more inclined to jam with you. Alright, you know the routine: tune up, warm up, and let's rock out. So this lesson is going to be another one of those Finger-Strengthening Lessons that will improve every aspect of guitar playing. Consider it P90X for fretting hand. Now keep in mind that these are non-musical exercises and you probably won't whip them out in the middle of solo. They are meant to help with your picking co-ordination, stretching, and hand/finger strength. Your girlfriend can thank me later. The following lesson focuses on exercises derived from the Chromatic Scale. For those who don't remember (you stoner), the Chromatic Scale looks like this:
e|-----------------------------------------5-6-7-8-|
b|---------------------------------5-6-7-8---------| 
g|-------------------------5-6-7-8-----------------| 
d|-----------------5-6-7-8-------------------------| 
a|---------5-6-7-8---------------------------------|
E|-5-6-7-8-----------------------------------------|
   D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U
Now lets bring the pain with the following examples. Remember to practice them slowly, and with time you will build up speed. Speed is the byproduct of accuracy.
Example #1
 
e|-------------------------------------------------|
b|-----------------------------------------5-6-7-8-| 
g|-------------------------5-6-7-8-----------------| 
d|---------5-6-7-8-----------------5-6-7-8---------| 
a|-----------------5-6-7-8-------------------------|
E|-5-6-7-8-----------------------------------------|
   D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U
 
e|---------5-6-7-8---------------------------------|
b|-------------------------------------------------| 
g|-5-6-7-8-----------------------------------------| 
d|-------------------------------------------------| 
a|-------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------|
   D U D U D U D U 
 
Example #2
 
e|-8-7-6-5-----------------------------------------|
b|-----------------8-7-6-5-------------------------| 
g|---------8-7-6-5-----------------8-7-6-5---------| 
d|-------------------------8-7-6-5-----------------| 
a|-----------------------------------------8-7-6-5-|
E|-------------------------------------------------|
   D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U
 
e|-------------------------------------------------|
b|-------------------------------------------------| 
g|-------------------------------------------------| 
d|---------8-7-6-5---------------------------------| 
a|-8-7-6-5-----------------------------------------|
E|-----------------8-7-6-5-------------------------|
   D U D U D U D U D U D U
When you have those two down, play Example #1, and then immediately follow it with Example #2 to create a fluid to loop. If you are already high, then I won't judge you for sitting the next couple of exercises out. Do get a twinkey and come back to this later. The next exercises seem confusing at first, but you will see the pattern shortly.
Example #3
 
e|-----------------------------------------5-7-6-8-|
b|---------------------------------5-7-6-8---------| 
g|-------------------------5-7-6-8-----------------| 
d|-----------------5-7-6-8-------------------------| 
a|---------5-7-6-8---------------------------------|
E|-5-7-6-8-----------------------------------------|
   D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U
 
Example #4
 
e|-----------------------------------------6-8-5-7-|
b|---------------------------------6-8-5-7---------| 
g|-------------------------6-8-5-7-----------------| 
d|-----------------6-8-5-7-------------------------| 
a|---------6-8-5-7---------------------------------|
E|-6-8-5-7-----------------------------------------|
   D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U
This example is similar to the one before it, but it gets you used to starting with your middle finger. Ensure that you play these exercises slowly and then work up the speed once you have your co-ordination in check. Also make sure you play these exercises both forward and backwards.
Example #5
 
e|-----------------------------------------6-8-5-7-|
b|---------------------------------5-7-6-8---------| 
g|-------------------------6-8-5-7-----------------| 
d|-----------------5-7-6-8-------------------------| 
a|---------6-8-5-7---------------------------------|
E|-5-7-6-8-----------------------------------------|
   D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U
Ok, enough of the Chromatic Scale, lets try some stretching exercises:
Example #6
 
e|-------------------------------5-6-8-----------|
b|-------------------------5-6-8-----------------| 
g|-------------------5-6-8-----------------------| 
d|-------------5-6-8-----------------------------| 
a|-------5-6-8-----------------------------------|
E|-5-6-8-----------------------------------------|
   D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U 
 
*Use your index, middle and pinky fingers
 
Example #7
 
e|-------------------------------5-7-8-----------|
b|-------------------------5-7-8-----------------| 
g|-------------------5-7-8-----------------------| 
d|-------------5-7-8-----------------------------| 
a|-------5-7-8-----------------------------------|
E|-5-7-8-----------------------------------------|
   D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U 
 
*Use your index, ring, and pinky fingers
 
Example #8
 
e|-------------------------------5-7-9-----------|
b|-------------------------5-7-9-----------------| 
g|-------------------5-7-9-----------------------| 
d|-------------5-7-9-----------------------------| 
a|-------5-7-9-----------------------------------|
E|-5-7-9-----------------------------------------|
   D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U
*This exercise should be played with two different fingerings to really work your hands. First fingering: index, middle, and pinky finger. Second fingering: index, ring, and pinky finger. Now for a couple chords that require a pretty decent stretch:
A Major Add 9:
 
e|--5--|
b|--5--| 
g|--6--| 
d|--9--| 
a|--7--|
E|--5--|
 
A Minor Add 9
 
e|--5--|
b|--5--| 
g|--5--| 
d|--9--| 
a|--7--|
E|--5--|
Congratulations, you made it through that gauntlet of hand abuse. Now these aren't exercises that you are going to master in a day, week, month, or likely a year (unless your name is Steve Vai). So try to remember them and to practice them for a few minutes whenever you pick up your axe. Until next time my allies in music.

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    dante.
    Great man. I'm a guitarist for 5 years and I practice this everyday. Nice job bro!