Courtesy of Matthew Wendler
Spider exercises are not only a great way to develop finger independence, but they are also essential for improving our ability for generating more speed and higher clarity.
Keep in mind that going fast is not important with these drills. Go nice and slow, and after many repetitions, it will feel like each of your fingers has grown a brain overnight. Next time you watch Netflix and chill with your significant instrument, run through these drills to improve your chops.
When you do these drills, start nice and easy. You'll generally be able to do the harder drills better if you warm up first. Keep each note even and the same volume while you play, and remember to use strict alternate picking to give both of your hands a challenge.
Reversing the fingers from the first drill forces you to think a little about what you're doing. Make sure not to accidentally lapse into the first exercise while you do this one. It happens easier than you may think.
These drills are in the same position as the first two. Leading off with your third and fourth fingers can be challenging because they tend to stick together. These two drills are great for separating them from one another.
Starting the exercise with your two middle fingers may seem a bit odd at first. Take this one as slowly as needed, and it will go a long way towards putting brains in your fingers.
There are numerous different patterns to use for spider drills. This one may not be the most difficult, but it's very effective at getting your fingers to act autonomously of each other.
Once you get these into your hands, try to find (or make up) another challenging pattern. Any guitarist worth his or her salt has invented many bizarre spider drills with equally bizarre explanations as to why they're the best. So once you start getting bored of a particular drill, go ahead and invent some new, harder ones.
Matthew Wendler is a blogger and multi-instrumentalist from New Jersey. He specializes in guitar, bass guitar, and bagpipes, and is passionate about writing both professionally and for enjoyment.