Learning to play the guitar is not a walk in the park. Aside from knowing what notes to make, it is important to learn the proper techniques on how to learn guitar chords. This is the main reason why a variety of guitar exercises are available for all levels of guitarists, aiming to improve one or more of the key areas in playing:
- Finger strength and dexterity
- Hand-eye coordination
- Thumb rotation and positioning
- Proper hand position
- Finger accuracy (This also involves finding the ideal part where the finger should meet the string.)
- Finger and hand speed
And that’s just the beginning — if you want to practice intermediate to advanced techniques including complicated hammer-ons and pull-offs, then the available exercises get more and more numerous.
Basics are best
However, many guitarists jump from one exercise to another without really building on the basic guitar traits mentioned above. This is why the most basic exercises are always best — they build up the core skills, and you will know you are ready to advance once they become second nature.
Don’t mistake the word “basic” for “simple,” though — these exercises can easily vary depending on your skill level. “Basic” here means “fundamental,” as you will soon find these exercises are indispensable in later parts of your guitar learning journey. Check out these guitar tips to help you become a better guitar player.
Hand Speed and Strength Exercise
- Start on any fret. Place your first finger on the 6th (fattest) string and start strumming in a down-up picking pattern.
- Replace your first finger with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in slow succession. Continue the strumming.
- Move to the 5th string, with the same finger order. However, this time, use an up-down picking pattern.
- Move to the next string again, and switch to the down-up pattern. Continue until you run out of strings.
This exercise is meant to improve the speed of your strumming transition. It can also be like a marathon for your fingers — varying the speed and moving fret by fret will provide additional challenge when needed.
Finger Strength and Endurance Exercise
- Plant your first finger on any string (and fret), and sound that note.
- Hammer on the next three fingers — simply bring the other fingers down in quick succession on the next frets. Sound the notes as you do.
- Try to cover all the frets from your starting point.
This exercise is meant to help improve the strength of each finger as they repeatedly perform the same action. This will be very helpful in advanced techniques, especially as you learn guitar notes for songs that are quite complicated and take on lead guitar lessons.
This best exercise is best done using a metronome.
- Place your first finger on the 6th string and pick it. Immediately, place the next finger on the next string, on the following fret and pick it as well.
- While listening to a metronome or a fixed beat, pick your way straight down while fretting strings. Make sure there is no pause.
- As an additional challenge, this may also be done in an alternating forward/backward (on the fret board) up/down (picking direction) pattern.
This will help you develop coordination between the fingering and picking hands, as well as develop speed in transitioning.
In all of these exercises, the most important traits you need to have are patience and persistence. Guitar practice, no matter what exercise or style it entails, is best done repeatedly over a period of time. These provide the foundation for the most basic movements that are second nature to any professional guitarist, such as guitar fingerings and guitar chord diagrams. Other options are to enroll in guitar school, check out guitar books for beginners, or scour the Internet for online lessons on how to play guitar tabs and learn guitar scales. The Internet is also a good source of information to check how much are guitar lessons and which schools are offering kids guitar lessons.
Of course, if you need any additional guidance, a guitar instructor can provide invaluable service. There’s no better way to learn the ropes than from someone who has mastered it and is well-equipped on how to teach guitar playing.