Finger Speed Workouts

A compilation of general licks to help improve finger and picking accuracy and speed.

Ultimate Guitar
I started making this lesson when I was at a mates house tryin to teach him some stuff by tabbing it out then it just kinda evolved. This lesson basicaly consists of a series of finger exercises designed to improve your speed and technique. (none of its supposed to sound any good its just a good finger workout). Ive tried to make it useful for any ability by explaining anything some beginners might not understand but putting in things i think might help experienced players. I wasnt sure how to classify this lesson so Ive put it under 'soloing' as this will probably most useful for solo style prctise. If you have any questions about anything email me at I make a few references to a riff in Metal Storm by Slayer, this is it:
Played quite fast all notes are the same length helped my playing a lot try listening to the song -pretty cool.
main finger positions:
(one finger per fret)
If i ever say anything like this
:- 1, 2, 4
This is a finger position: 1= First or index finger 2= Middle or biggest finger 3= Third or ring finger 4= Fourth finger or pinky These are the only 3 finger shapes used in most scales.

Positiion 1

:- 1, 2, 4
example tab:

Postition 2

:- 1, 2, 4 (again)
example tab:
|-5-6-8-| (this is different)

Position 3

:- 1, 3, 4
example tab:
(how Metal Storm is played) These won't usually be found in scales but are good finger exercise.

Position 4/5

:- 1, 2, 3 -or:
:- 2, 3, 4
example tab:
Some exercises using these postions
  • Metal Storm is a great exercise for the :- 1, 3, 4, position also you can use some of the other finger positions using the same pattern from Metal Storm. example tab:
    (using the first :- 1, 2, 4, position)
    And you can do the same with any of the other finger positions as they all only contain three notes which is what you need fo this pattern. A more simple pattern to use that will also make good practice for sweep picking, (use alternate picking and youll get there). example tab:
    (Using the first :- 1, 3, 4 position) -again
    Pick this like so: /= downstroke \=upstroke
  • as you can see by doing this when moving between string the pick will be still moving in the same direction.
  • this can also be done with any of the other finger patterns, all the positions I gave you need three fingers (odd number improtant) so youll find when playing something like the tab above with alternate picking your hand will 'sweep' across the neck. Improved speed can give it a good smooth feel.
  • try playing it backwards (high e to low E) as well and reversing the direction like so:
                           __and so on
    D|-------------9-7-5-   /|
    A|-------9-7-5-------  /
    Play this backwards (high e to low E). You can also mix up the order of notes on each string to make a different workout. example tab:
    (using the first :- 1, 3, 4 position) -again
    instead of:
    Just mix them up. If you find a hard one you cant do you need to practise that one more. One last one to annoy you with, when I fist tried to play this next exercise I nearly threw up it confused me so much. Use any two fingers that are next to each other eg:
    :- 1, 2
    example tab:
    This can be done with any two fingers. Start off with pairs that are next to each other like the one you just used or:
    :- 2, 3 -or:
    :- 3, 4
    This exercise is especially good as you may already be a good player but this makes you realise how untrained some of your fingers are. Then try pairs of fingers one or two spaces apart and try different orders or directions eg:
    :- 1, 3
    :- 2, 4
    or even:
    :- 1, 4
    You can generally experiment with anything in this lesson just mix it up and improve speed. Have fun.
  • 26 comments sorted by best / new / date

      Good lesson, and I like how you mentioned economy picking in there.
      That last example tab works very well when taken down through every string, reversed back up, move up one fret, etc.
      Think this is a awesome lesson. It will definitely help me to improve my speed in a faster way! You got a 9 from me. The fniger positions whas kind of pointless.
      Awesome lesson dude. I've stated using my 4th finger and that all thanks to you
      wow this is amazing i was doing these scales for only like 15 mins and i can play the end to the main riff in wrathchild by iron maiden better... THANX DUDE
      thanks never realized how sloppy i was until i tried this
      After the section on the 3rd position I say something about 'these wont usually be found in scales....' i dont know what i was on about
      anupkr wrote: pretty kool...have seen the same x-cersize in Troy Stetina-speed mechanics book.
      thats strange..... i have that book but i thought i wrote this lesson before i got it... wtever i probly dint
      pretty kool...have seen the same x-cersize in Troy Stetina-speed mechanics book.