Fretboard Workshop: Guitar Technique Exercises

Courtesy of Premiere Guitar..

Build Your Chops and Learn New Exercises for Right and Left-Hand technique...

Most of you probably have a set of technical exercises that you practice to improve your dexterity or just to warm up. It’s natural to dedicate some of your practice time to improving your technique and focus on the mechanical aspects of playing.

In this lesson, we’ll go over a few chops-building exercises and discover how to expand them into more appealing and effective workouts.

Most Jazz guitarists will practice every phrase three different ways: starting on beat 1, starting on the “and” of beat 1, and with a triplet rhythm. Each of these three variations offers some unique picking challenges.

First, let’s assume you’re playing these with standard alternate picking (i.e., down-stroke on the downbeats and upstroke on the upbeats). When you start on the downbeat, the phrase would start with a down-stroke. If you shift the phrase by an eighth-note, the entire picking pattern is reversed. Finally, the triplet option gives the line a completely different character.

This concept of changing rhythm and picking style is very important and should be a focus of every technical workout, see example exercise one.

Exercise #1).
This exercise works to to move seamlessly between the 16th-notes and 16th-note triplets alternating between these two beat groupings.

Let’s go through a few other technical options with a different exercise motif.

Exercise #2).
This exercise performs a string crossing maneuver.

Exercise #3).
Ex. 3 sequences the motif through the C major scale (C–D–E–F–G–A–B). Each note of the four-note pattern will simply move up to the next note in the scale.

Exercise #4).
String skipping can instantly add yet another element of difficulty to nearly any exercise. In Ex. 4 we’re staying in the key of C and using notes on the 3rd string to 1st string.

Exercise #5).
In Ex. 5 we’ll add a repeated note to make a five-note grouping. This subtle shift, along with some string skipping, throws the natural accents off and gives you a slight rhythmic challenge to work on as well.



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