Basic Finger Workout
This very basic exercise will help you develop a bit of strength and independence in your fingers. Although exercises like this can be a little boring, they help you develop your physical skills faster and will get you playing your songs better, so they are well worth the effort.
Basic Finger Workout
This exercise is simple. All you are doing is putting your fingers down, one fret at a time, starting with your first finger. Make sure that you:
- Hold the fingers down as you go: When you put down your little finger, make sure that all your fingers are still pressing down in the correct frets. This is what helps you develop the stretch between the fingers, which makes them more agile. Holding them down also works the muscles, making your fingers stronger.
- Use your finger tips: Don't let the fingers go flat. Keep the fingers slightly rounded and make sure that the tip of your finger is holding down the strings. This helps you develop correct technique and also toughens up the ends of your fingers.
People with small little fingers (like me!) struggle to keep their little finger on the tip without touching the other strings when playing the thickest string. It will just take a little more work than those lucky long-fingered people. Don't stress if you don't get it right away; it just takes a bit of work.
If you have normal or long little finger you should find it kind of lays out a little and is more rounded than mine looks in the video; it's just because I have a little stump that it looks parallel to the other fingers!
- Don't get too hung up on not touching other strings! As you progress on the guitar you will eventually want to touch other strings to mute them! I don't recommend working on trying to touch other strings at this beginner stage, but I'm adding this so you don't focus too much on not touching other strings!
- Five minutes per day will be enough: Don't go over the top and practise this too much or you might hurt yourself! Five minutes is enough to get a bit of a workout without any straining.
- Relax into your posture: If you are having to contort your arm and wrist into all sorts of strange positions to get this right, then try and hold your hand in position and relax your body and arm (while keeping your hand in as good a position as you can). Part of the exercise is for you to learn how to use your body comfortably to make these shapes and play these notes. Everyone is a little different so we all have to find our own way here a bit!
By the way, here's my view of finger exercise machines: a waste of time, money and energy. Work the muscles out by playing guitar, it's more fun and you will learn other stuff too! I've heard a few students say that they found some benefit from these kinds of devices, but I'm sure that they would have got the same or more benefit doing an exercise like this. Maybe those strange people who live near a park yet prefer to run on a treadmill like using them, I guess...
Do be careful not to hurt yourself - just take it easy, relax and stretch out, you'll get it in no time. Simple and short exercises like this can make a big difference.
If you really struggle then check out the Finger Stretching Exercise - but only if you really need to, I think it's a bit much at this stage of your playing, but it's super effective - like guitar yoga without all the meditation ;)
Now it's time to have a look at some very basic rhythm guitar.