Beginner Guitar Lessons – Exercises for Success!

Although guitar exercises do require a great deal of patience, they also help you avoid what you have always wanted to avoid – lifting heavy weights and running hundreds of miles! Guitar exercises are essentially finger exercises that are great for developing your ability to play for longer periods of time. As a beginning guitarist, keeping up with guitar exercises will increase your finger strength, dexterity, speed, and motor skills. Remember that the goal of these exercises is control, not speed, and be patient with yourself! You will not master the guitar overnight.

For these exercises, all you need is a guitar and a plectrum (pick).

  • Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the 1st string (high e).
  • Pick the string with your right hand using an alternating picking pattern. In other words, pick down towards the floor, and then pick up to the ceiling.
  • After picking the 1st fret four times, place your middle finger on the 2nd fret, 1st string. Pick this note four times as well.
  • Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret, 1st string, plucking this note four times.
  • Place your pinky finger on the 4th fret, 1st string, and pluck this note four times.
  • Descend back to the first fret, the exact same way you got to the fourth fret. Make sure to play each note 4 times on your way back.
  • Repeat this exercise, frets 1-4 then 4-1, on all the strings.

The second exercise is very similar to the first.

  • Just like the first exercise, start with your index finger on the 1st fret of the 1st string (high e).
  • Play each fret along the fretboard until you get to the fourth fret. Make sure to use the correct finger on each fret (index – 1st, middle – 2nd, ring – 3rd, pinky – 4th). However, instead of plucking each note four times as in the first exercise, pluck each fret note 2 times with an alternating picking pattern (down – up).
  • Once again, go back to the 1st fret from the 4th fret, just as you did with exercise one.
  • Repeat this exercise, frets 1–4 then 4–1, on all the strings.
  • The third exercise is also similar to the first two, but instead this exercise focuses on switching frets more quickly.
  • Start with your index finger on the 1st fret of the 1st string, and pluck the string once (with a downward pick).
  • Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 1st string, and pluck this string once (with a downward pick).
  • Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 1st string, and pluck the string once (with a downward pick).
  • Place your pinky finger on the 4th fret of the 1st string, and pluck the string once (with a downward pick).
  • Descend back towards the 1st fret, the same way you did with the above two exercises.
  • Repeat on all strings. Remember to focus on precision first rather than speed. As you continue to practice these exercises, you will be amazed at how quickly your fingers move.

With all of the basics for playing one note on a guitar out of the way, the next lesson will focus on beginner guitar chords. Hope to see you there!

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