Try the MERGE Guitar Exercise for 2 Weeks...

There are metronome workouts that help with technique and speed - then there's metronome workouts that help with musicianship. In this video, I show what happens when I get my students to follow the “Merge Drill” for as little as 2 weeks. This unique blending exercise helps develop; rhythm, technique, speed PLUS musicianship - all at the same time...

The Merge exercise has a focus on the seamless blending of different musical ideas (rhythms and harmony), with the end result of gaining higher skills for patterns, for playing technique and for musical ability.

Given that we are generally working with a metronome in most cases anyway, this exercise follows a skill path the merges everything from blended rhythm styles to scale and arpeggio tonalities. Plus, the Merge drill will work great when blending a sequence of chord changes.

Whats the catch? None, you really can hit all of these skill areas with just one study, (after all who doesn't enjoy saving time while gaining more skill).

In fact, after just 2 weeks of doing the Merge routine you'll start to notice an even better ability to play everything from rhythm to chord patterns, plus you'll feel better about your technical proficiency and single string work as well.


I’m going to show you a great exercise that will very quickly help you to get up to 10x better in several playing areas.

Whether it’s; rhythm, chords, arpeggios or scales, this exercise WORKS FAST to modify your playing and make huge differences to your level of skill.

I can’t take full credit for this exercise because the idea surrounding it was first taught to me back in the early 1990’s by one of my guitar instructors.

His name is Ed Finn, (at the time he was an instructor for GIT at the Musicians Institute in California, but I believe these days he’s living out in the Sunshine state of Florida).

A big debt of thanks goes out to Ed because to this day, I still show his exercise to my students!

Why? Because it works so effectively to help a student improve both their groove along with their feel for timing and their comprehension of  beat structure, as well as, tonality and harmony. Yeah, it covers a lot.

Over the years I’ve come to nickname this workout as the “Merge” exercise because of what the exercise actually does. It's highly effective at working in a way to help merge together several musical ideas. But, it’s all done in a gradual - continuous way against a controlled meter of time.

All of this is accomplished by using either a drum-machine, a drum loop, or a metronome... For example, we can take a riff and play that riff against a drum loop that’s operating in straight-time. Then, after a set period of jamming on it we keep the same riff, but switch over to a shuffle beat and hold the tempo of the part.

It might sound fairly easy, but doing smoothly it across a loop track as it shifts through the change in rhythm, can be a challenge. And, many other Merge Exercises follow the same premise. They "Blend" together multiple directions of playing to promote thinking fast on your feet. It helps with quick recall and fast reaction time to material.

Let’s begin by trying a rhythm MERGE exercise. We’ll take a riff, start off in strait-time feel then, we’ll play the riff 4 times through. After that, (without breaking our flow), we’ll smoothly (in time), switch over to a loop that applies the Shuffle feel, and continue playing that same riff 4x more but in a shuffle.

Straight-Time to Shuffle Merge:

Rhythm Merge

Expand on the MERGE Exercise:
You can take any mixture of rhythms and blend them using this approach. The results will be the development of a really solid sense of groove and a very high awareness for what it feels like to change the rhythm style across the beat.

Plus, what’s also really cool is that, this MERGE practice idea can additionally function as a fantastic workout for blurring the distinction between Major and Minor scales, as well as, arpeggios.

And, you can even use this exercise for blending together chord changes between all kinds of different chord types.

When you integrate this into your guitar studies, you’ll start to notice that it will have a BIG impact in as little as 2 or 3 weeks time!

How do I know that? Well, because I’ve shown this exercise to hundreds of my own students over the last twenty-plus years of me running Creative Guitar Studio!

When students start implementing this MERGE practice routine, their level of skill will often increase by a factor of as much as 10 times!

From the subject of rhythm guitar, let’s next take this idea to scales. I’m going to start by playing ascending through a key of “A” Major scale, based from the 6th string at the 5th fret, and then I’ll descend down through the notes of an “A” Minor scale.

To keep my sense of time, I’ll have a metronome on with the tempo set to 100 b.p.m.

Scales Merge - Up-Major /Down Minor:


The next exercise will involve taking a look into arpeggios. We’ll apply the same principles that we used with the scale approach by playing up one quality of arpeggio, and then we’ll descend through the opposite quality.

For our study, we’ll play up an arpeggio of an “A Minor 7”, (at the 5th position from the 6th string root) and then, we’ll go and descend through an “A” Major 7th arpeggio based within the same fret-board region. To make the exercise more interesting, we'll apply eighthnote triplets.

Arpeggio Merge - Up-Major /Down Minor:

Note: You can turn the pattern around using any way you see fit. Watch the video example of how I decided to turn around this drill.


Our final exercise will deal with chords. In this drill we’ll apply more or less the same practice approach, except our chord patterns will change through a group of four different chords built off of the same root note.

We’ll play through; Emaj7, Em7, Emaj9, and E7. All constructed off of the 5th guitar string from the 7th fret root of, “E.”

Chords Merge Exercise (4 Chord Types):


The various Merge exercises demonstrated here in this video offer guitar players the opportunity to develop their playing skills up to a very high level of skill.

The practice time required to begin seeing noticeable results is low. In approximately 2-weeks time students will start to find that their recall skills, technique and alert response to switch ideas is much quicker.

Over a greater time frame, their results from doing the exercise expands to an even greater level of competence.

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