Stretching Workout

If you feel that your left hand is sometimes stiff... Read on!

Ultimate Guitar

E|-- -
This lesson is meant to be a guide for you to stretch your fingers properly. Finger stretches are useful and lets say... "healthy" for our playing. Guitar playing is an physical activity and keeping your fingers fit is one of the most important thing. Inspired by the Petrucci's "Rock Discipline" and Satriani and Vai articles on how to stretch your fingers I'm writing this article. These three great guitarists have mentioned in their lessons many ways to stretch your fretting hand fingers and this lesson is what I learned from them, and now I'm passing it to you. Have fun and don't hurt yourself! Always be well warmed up before stretching. Check my article about warming-up if you don't have an idea how to do it! First idea of stretching is a very popular method. It involves forming diagonal chord shapes within a fretboard, and moving it around. This is the lightest of things that we are going to do in this lesson. When you will get how it works, practice this also on strings 1-4. When you feel comfortable, start going into lower positions. This is inspired by Satch's "Diagonal Chord Relay".
      Q     Q     Q    Q        Q     Q     Q    Q      
Let's make stretching interesting. Put your fretting hand into 10th position and finger all the chords. Remember to keep your fingers in position all the time. Finger 1 = 10th fret, finger 2 = 11th fret etc. Play this slowly and carefully, you can "arpeggiate" it if you want, you can also strum these chords. When you will see the method of changing fingers and building independence, start moving it around as in the exercise above. This is similar John Petrucci Method of stretching.
     E   E   E   E   H          
If you want to make it harder, make some more space between fingers. Let's say you can put your first finger on the 9th fret, and the rest remains the same. Do it also with the pinky and move it to the 14th fret. Wow! That's hard, for sure. Practice it in the same manner as in the example above. I'm not putting into tabs, it would be a waste of space. If you got the point, you don't need them. The third, and the last method of stretching is a Legato Exercise, one of these that Vai was presenting in one of his workshops. It's easy an popular - use fingers 1, 3, 4 for this Legato's.
|-3-| |-3-| |-3-| |-3-| |-3-| |-3-| |-3-| |-3-|   
     S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S   
D||--------------1-3-5-------------------------------|| etc.
I've presented it in the first position, to let you see how it works, but start high on the neck and go down. That's all for today! I wish you best in your stretching. Remember - if these exercises become easy for you, modify them and make them hard. If you liked the article, like my Facebook page! Also, please comment and rate this article. If you want more, here you go: my another lesson on stretching. Thank you for your attention. Daniel Kaczmarczyk,

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    Taking the long approach to the conditioning. What I've been able to find and employ has paved the way for me to see my goals are reachable and so much more. I'll be hanging in there with you, thanks.