The BEST Guitar Exercises

Do you have a collection of guitar technique exercises for your fret-hand fingers? In this lesson we’re going to focus on two primary areas of training: Control, and Tone. Our control studies will help with muscle and limb movement as well as, work on corrective targeting with the finger tips. The tone studies will zero in on fretting accuracy and smoothness out of finger angle...

Today we’re going to talk about the best guitar technique exercises for your fingers using a series of drills that will incorporate the use of a metronome.

Of course I realize that there are some great exercise options that can come from learning; licks and riffs from songs. But, that’s not what we’re going to be doing here.

Instead, we’ll focus on drills that are non-musical… This means our drills will be more mechanical and be directed at helping you gain better skills for “Control” and for “Tone.”


When it comes to “Control,” we’ll be shooting for developing the best technical ability by zeroing in on your “Muscle and Limb” Movement, as well as, targeting “Corrective” Movements in your playing. (Those are the moves that might be holding you back). 

We’ll also spend time focusing on, “Tone.” That means we need to work on drills at relate to the best fretting accuracy and the best “Inflection” when it comes to developing a high level of contrast from your finger angles as you reach across the neck to play notes.

The first couple of exercises that I have for you are focused on playing control. We'll start with an exercise that makes a big difference for muscle movement. This exercise is generally referred to as the, “Spider-Walk.”

The "Spider-Walk" exercise begins by anchoring all of your fingers down onto the fret-board in one location, and then moving just one finger at a time onto the next adjacent guitar string.

Step 1). Anchor the fingers

Be sure to only move the finger that’s crossing over to the next guitar string. Keep all of the other fingers permanently fixed onto the starter string, and keep each finger within their proper fret position.

Step 2). Move one finger keeping the others stationary

The next exercise is focused on Corrective Targets. As your speed increases what often happens is that your fingers start to miss their best placement areas (where they need to be on both the fret-board and on the guitar string).

These can be easy enough to correct when the playing tempo of a guitar part is slower. But, things get more challenging when the speed increases and your fingers are having to jump over to other strings.

Luckily, I have an exercise that you can do to get much better at your fingertip placement and how it is performed while playing at both slow and at faster tempos.

This guitar exercise performs notes between two adjacent strings across 4 frets. It all starts by crossing within a fretting position from one string over to the next adjacent string.

Step 1). Walk the fingers between strings

The entire idea is fairly simplistic, because all we’re really doing is string crossing back and forth from one string over to the other.

Essentially, we’re simply zing-zagging our way between guitar strings and going in between the two to increase our accuracy.

Step 2). Walk between strings using all four fingers (in position)

When you begin feeling more confident with this study, my advice is to start spooling up the tempo on your metronome, pushing the speed up faster and faster.

The next area that I want to focus on is “Tone.” Our first "tone-oriented" exercise takes into account, “Fretting Accuracy.”

For this topic, I have a study for you that’s directly focused on perfecting your finger placement and achieving the best possible guitar tone for how your fingers are moving throughout a fretting-area

This goes hand-in-hand along with how you play on each of the the guitar strings (so that you can generate the best possible fretting tone).

How this all of works is you get started by setting up your fingers so they perform power chords and minor 3rd intervals between the two interior strings of 4th and 3rd.

Step 1).  Start with a Minor 3rd (strings 4th and 3rd)

Step 2). Switch to a power chord

Do this across every two finger combination in the position. Then, shift the strings that your using over to playing the 5th and 2nd strings, (while remaining in the same playing area).

In this part of the exercise, you’ll be playing an; Octave, a Major 3rd then another Major 3rd and then another octave.

Step 3). Switch to the 5th and 2nd strings (start with an octave)

Step 4). Change over to a Major 3rd between 5th to 2nd string

Once you’ve got the basic moves down, start increasing your speed and begin moving the study all over the guitar fret-board.

The final study I have for you is also focused on Tone. It operates around changing the quality of sound of a phrase by altering the position of the chromatic line on the neck.

Try this exercise from a 4th-string “G” note.

Play the exercise shown above all around the neck. 

This chromatic drill affects the fingering placement that we have on the guitar neck by altering the finger angle. It can also impact the smoothness of the parts' note contrast as well as, the sound inflection.

This study works best if we do it all over the guitar neck - and I'd highly advise that. The drill will work very well to master our sense of control over how our tone can become affected by the way we jump across different positions as well as, how our tone (from our placement of notes along and across the neck), is affected by finger angle and placement.

I hope you found these exercises helpful. If there’s one thing I can pass along to you it’s how important it is to have a good batch of non-musical studies that you can practice each day using your metronome.

Most of the good guitar teachers out there will constantly stress that the way you practice guitar really does matter and WHAT you incorporate into a routine can make a big difference toward not only how good you get.

But, what our main goal is all about is how rapidly we can start to increase our skills as guitar players. And, having the right exercises will go a long way toward achieving that!

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