Finger Strength and Speed Building

These exercises can prove really helpful for beginners in building their speed and the finger muscle strength.

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Ultimate Guitar
Finger Strength and Speed Building
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These exercises can prove really helpful for beginners in building their speed and the finger muscle strength.

Exercise 1

Place your hand on the 6th string with your fingers on frets 1 - 4. Now go through the fingerings below (1 - index finger, 2 - middle finger, etc). Go through them one time on each string. Do this as a daily exercise to build strength and speed. To increase the challenge, play it in the opposite direction after you played it in the normal fashion. Then you can try this on each string to increase the drills challenge even more. To go even farther, you can try it on another set of 4 adjacent strings.

01. 1-2-3-4
02. 1-2-4-3
03. 1-3-2-4
04. 1-3-4-2
05. 1-4-2-3
06. 1-4-3-2
07. 2-1-3-4
08. 2-1-4-3
09. 2-3-1-4
10. 2-3-4-1
11. 2-4-1-3
12. 2-4-3-1
13. 3-1-2-4
14. 3-1-4-2
15. 3-2-1-4
16. 3-2-4-1
17. 3-4-1-2
18. 3-4-2-1
19. 4-1-2-3
20. 4-1-3-2
21. 4-2-1-3
22. 4-2-3-1
23. 4-3-1-2
24. 4-3-2-1

Once you start practicing them, you will find out that its really easy to remember these patterns.

Exercise 2

This exercise will work with your picking hand as well as your fret hand by using all the combinations of downstrokes and upstrokes. Below there are two figures given, Fig. 1 and Fig. 2. To do this exercise, you will play Fig. 1 like you did in Exercise 2, but you will use the stroking patterns shown in Figure 2. In figure 2, downstroke is represented by (U) and an upstroke is represent by (V). Don't go with what the letters are, just take them as symbols.

For example: lets take the first pattern from Fig. 1 (1-2-3-4) and lets choose the fifth pattern from Fig. 2 (U-V-U-U). So you would play it together as 1st fret with a downstroke(U), 2nd fret with an upstroke(V), 3rd fret with a downstroke(U) and 4th fret with a downstroke(U) as well. If you have time, play Fig. 1 using all the patterns in Fig. 2, this will truly give you a good workout for speed and endurance.

Fig. 1

01. 1-2-3-4
02. 1-2-4-3
03. 1-3-2-4
04. 1-3-4-2
05. 1-4-2-3
06. 1-4-3-2
07. 2-1-3-4
08. 2-1-4-3
09. 2-3-1-4
10. 2-3-4-1
11. 2-4-1-3
12. 2-4-3-1
13. 3-1-2-4
14. 3-1-4-2
15. 3-2-1-4
16. 3-2-4-1
17. 3-4-1-2
18. 3-4-2-1
19. 4-1-2-3
20. 4-1-3-2
21. 4-2-1-3
22. 4-2-3-1
23. 4-3-1-2
24. 4-3-2-1

Fig. 2

01. U-U-U-U
02. U-U-U-V
03. U-U-V-V
04. U-U-V-U
05. U-V-U-U
06. U-V-U-V
07. U-V-V-U
08. U-V-V-V
09. V-V-V-V
10. V-V-V-U
11. V-V-U-U
12. V-V-U-V
13. V-U-V-V
14. V-U-V-U
15. V-U-U-V
16. V-U-U-U

Hope this article helps all the beginners in building up their speed and strength. Thank you.

105 comments sorted by best / new / date

    SZ320man
    sweet, I've been playing almost three years, and in one day of doing this I've noticed a big difference in ease of playing and smoothness. Not just for beginners!!
    guitarmaniac88
    This is a great lesson, and my lessons have been on hold for a full week. The person that asked how to get it to your profile, try copy and pasting it somewhere, like on word, and you can print it.
    hippiemetalguy
    damn my speed increased the day i started doing this and ive been looking for something to help with that thx dude giving this article a 10 definately (P.S. im to ghetto to buy books)lmao
    Froboarder
    Just a suggestion; you can also use these to practice your hammer-ons and pull-offs. =)
    SilverSpurs616
    Just reading it seems to help! I'm sure that when I try these tomorrow they'll prove very useful over time.
    f1sk
    awesome, i use a metronome while doing it to build rythm also
    CoheednRHCP
    Nice job, I've looked for new lessons here for a while, but never found them, imagine my surprise when it said six were added today on the homepage. Also good exersises.
    shadymutt
    i like it! can't remember em off top of my head just yet though!! any way to save it to profile??
    Lemon43
    I dont understand what i am ment to do!! Im really confused can anyone help?
    shaymack37
    This lesson seems to be a very shortened and simplified version of Steve Vai's ten hour workout. If you guys like this lesson than you have to checkout Vai's. I don't know where to find it online, but I know it was published in Guitar World, Oct. 2007 issue. It will really blow you away, check it out.
    dalilhama@peace
    It's a good lesson to help with finger strength. It's great to help with the pinky, as mentioned above. It's more helpful in being fluent in your playing. I find certain scale excercises are better for speed, that is to say for soloing, but this even helped me out with being more fluent. Glad everyone is taking a liking to this excercise.
    gradian
    Jules69 wrote: hey im new at guitar someone tell me somethinig helpful plz!
    practice, practice practice. Then when your so tired you can play anymore keep going...
    bagolies
    Is this all done in the first position ? and then you just move up and down the strings. thanks i just want to make sure I do it right.
    skinnyeddy
    Kregnar wrote: This helped with my retarded pinky syndrome.
    Same Here Brilliant Lesson, I can feel an improvement already.
    shamrock729
    helped me a little, just reading faster. i do think it would help a begginer build basic speed. i approve!
    420guitar
    hey thanks for this im gonna practice this for a long time. quick question how long did it take other people to increase their speed and power from this exercise? so i can get an idea of how long itll be til im happy with my playing
    insmarine951
    I registered JUST so i could say this is such a GOOD excercise. great lesson bro. this helps a LOT. i noticed im playing smoother, more comfortably, and faster JUST after an HOUR of doing ONLY excercise one. Bravo. =]
    joniec23
    Thanks for the exercises. Will try them tonight. They look like it will help my finger strength and speed
    KingXNothing
    this actually helped so much! trying to increase my speed as much as possible at the moment so thank you!
    Sevans91
    Coritani wrote: How exactly do you do this exercise? For example, for: 01. 1-2-3-4 Do I put my index on the 6th (bottom) string 1st fret, my middle on the 5th string second fret, my ring on the 4th string 3rd fret and my pinky on the 3rd string fourth fret? and for say, 03. 1-3-2-4 Do I go: index - 6th sring first fret middle - 4th string second fret Ring - 5th string third fret Pinky - 3rd string fourth fret Help would be appreciated, my fretting hand sucks. Thanks.
    Pretty sure (in fact i'm 100% sure) he means you put your index finger first fret of the E string then for the next like you do the a string, then the d, then the g, then the b then the e
    Sickz
    Awsome exercise! Im not new with all of them , but i have only done those that starts with a "1" . Will be doing this everyday now for a while and see how my fingers and picking hand react