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Building Dexterity

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Reference         "Music, the greatest good that mortals know, And all of heaven we have below." --Joseph Addison

Techniques








Use these to improve your hand strength and motor skills.

24 Left Hand Fingering Combinations

These left hand exercises are played as shown below. All notes are 8th notes.

e|----------------------------------------1-2-3-4-
B|--------------------------------1-2-3-4---------
G|------------------------1-2-3-4-----------------
D|----------------1-2-3-4-------------------------
A|--------1-2-3-4---------------------------------
E|1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------

These are all of the combinations:

1 2 3 4
1 2 4 3
1 3 2 4
1 3 4 2
1 4 2 3
1 4 3 2

2 1 3 4
2 1 4 3
2 3 1 4
2 3 4 1
2 4 1 3
2 4 3 1

3 1 2 4
3 1 4 2
3 2 1 4
3 2 4 1
3 4 1 2
3 4 2 1

4 1 2 3
4 1 3 2
4 2 1 3
4 2 3 1
4 3 1 2
4 3 2 1


  • Use strict Alternate Picking.
  • Start of very slow(~Q=60), and be very careful about your form. When you are comfortable with that, increase the speed in small intervals.
  • Try to eventually get the tempo up to Q=160.
  • Do this coming down the strings as well.
  • You can adapt this to various techniques. String skipping for example:
e|----------------------------------------1-2-3-4-
B|----------------1-2-3-4-------------------------
G|--------------------------------1-2-3-4---------
D|--------1-2-3-4---------------------------------
A|------------------------1-2-3-4-----------------
E|1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------

Alternate Picking

This exercise is to be played evenly and will help you build speed. Play the 1st part twice then the 2nd part twice back and forth.

E-------------------------------------------------
B-------------------------------------------------
G-------------------------------------------------
D-----------4---4-5-4-5-7-5-4---------------------
A-----7-6-7---7-----------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------
B-------------------------------------------------
G-----------4---4-5-4-5-7-5-4---------------------
D-----7-6-7---7-----------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------

Spider Exercise

This exercise helps with finger independency and stretching. Start with the first exercise and when you get comfortable move on to the rest which is basically the same thing with string skipping. Make sure you are using the correct fingering and playing in time, if you are pausing, slow down and do it correct, it will make it easier on you later when you really speed it up. You can continue this exercise to the 6th string.

E-------------------------------------------------
B-------------------------------------------------
G-------------------------------------------------
D-------------------------------------------------
A------6---8----5---7-----------------------------
E----5---7----6---8-------------------------------
     i m r p  m i p r 
E-------------------------------------------------
B-------------------------------------------------
G-----------------------6---8----5---7------------
D-----6---8----5---7------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------
E---5---7----6---8----5---7----6---8--------------
    i m r p  m i p r  i m r p  m i p r

Trills

This exercise is taken from the trills page, but is great for building dexterity. Alternate between every possible combination of fingers. Do each combination for about a minute.

  • Index and Middle
  • Index and Ring
  • Index and Pinkie
  • Middle and Ring
  • Middle and Pinkie
  • Ring and Pinkie

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