Left Hand Exercises
The following combinations include every fingering possibility between four frets on a single string. Each letter indicates a left hand finger (i=index finger, m=middle, r=ring, p=pinky). Start at the first fret and move combination #1 chromatically up the fretboard (chromatically meaning one fret at a time). Once you reach the fifteenth fret , go back down the fretboard using combination #1. When you reach the first fret again, go on to combination #2 and do the same thing. Keep doing this until you've gone through all twenty-four combinations. Choose a different string each time you perform this exercise.
The key to this exercise is to only move one finger at a time, while keeping all the other fingers planted on the fretboard. When the index finger moves , the middle finger, ring finger, and pinky remain on the fretboard and so fourth. You must be able to sound all notes clearly without having to lift any of your left hand fingers. This will teach proper left hand curvature, while also training the left hand fingers to move independently of one another.
Keep the left hand in first position and execute a long, continuous trill using the following sets of fingers:
Choose a different string each time the exercise is performed.
For those of you who don't have the greatest stretching abilities on the guitar, this exercise is sure to improve that problem area. The biggest stretch used when playing any extended major scale spans a distance of five frets, with one fret separating each finger. This stretch should not be a problem to you once you start using this exercise on a daily basis. You need to have a good stretch not only for extended scales, but for a variety of licks and runs used by today's rock and metal players. The guitar's frets span the widest distance from one another at the beginning of the neck. If you can master this stretch starting at the first fret, you should have no problem performing it anywhere else on the neck.
This exercise uses the same fingers that would normally be used to execute a five-fret stretch when playing any extended scale - the index finger, middle finger, and pinky. To really get those fingers stretching, keep each finger planted until it must be lifted.
As an alternative, practice exercise #4 using the index finger, ring finger, and pinky. This will get a good stretch going between the the ring finger and the pinky. Once you master that one, try using the index, middle, and ring finger combination, that one is a killer, and should keep you busy for a while.
Exercise #5 Hammer-On Scales
As examples for Exercises 5 through 7, pattern #1 for the minor pentatonic scale and pattern #1 for the extended major scale (Ionian mode) will be used. Both scales are played in the key of A. When you practice these exercises be sure that you use all patterns that you have learned, and also be sure to play them in all keys for both scale types.
Pick the first note on each string and hammer-on to all other notes located on the same string (h=hammer-on).
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