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Left Hand Exercises Part 2

Left Hand Exercises Part  2 Brought to you by: guitar.com

YEAH, BABY! There's nothing like a good workout to get yer motor runnin'. Same thing goes for your guitar playing. It's all about hand coordination so, after you've mastered the drills in "Left Hand Exercises Part 1," it's time to move on to the next set of finger calisthentics. Here's a more advanced collection of exercises guaranteed to get your fingers flying:

Exercise 1
This will be just like the two-note patterns you learned in Part 1, but this time around we'll use three fingers. Play F at the 1st fret on the sixth string with your first finger, then F-sharp at the 2nd fret with your second finger, then G at the 3rd fret with your third finger. Then move to the fifth string and repeat the pattern. Just like in Part 1, play this same pattern up to the first string, then back down to the sixth string. Move up one fret and repeat, and keep moving up until you run out of neck. Then repeat the pattern using your second, third, and fourth fingers. Use alternate picking on this exercise too, but be aware that, because you're playing three notes on each string, your picking will vary from string to string. On the sixth string you'll play down, up, down. On the fifth string you'll play up, down, up. On the fourth string you'll be back to down, up, down, etc.

Exercise 2
Play F at the 1st fret with your first finger, then F-sharp at the 2nd fret with your second finger, then G-sharp at the 4th fret with your fourth finger. Repeat this same shape up and down the strings, and all the way up the neck.

Exercise 3
Play F at the 1st fret with your first finger, then G at the 3rd fret with your third finger, then G-sharp at the 4th fret with your fourth finger. Repeat this same shape up and down the strings, and all the way up the neck.

Exercise 4
Play F at the 1st fret with your first finger, then G at the 3rd fret with your second finger, then A at the 5th fret with your fourth finger. Repeat this same shape up and down the strings, and all the way up the neck.

Exercise 5
Though Exercise 4 is a bit of a stretch, it actually feels pretty natural. Exercise 5 won't. Play F at the 1st fret with your first finger, then F-sharp at the 2nd fret with your second finger, then A at the 5th fret with your fourth finger. Repeat as usual.

Exercise 6
Now play F at the 1st fret with your first finger, then G-sharp at the 4th fret with your third finger, then A at the 5th fret with your fourth finger. Repeat

Just like I suggested in "Left Hand Exercises Part 1," after you've worn yourself out with these six exercises, turn 'em around and play 'em backwards: Start on the first string and play the highest of the three-note sequence first, then the middle note, then the lowest note. Then move down to the second string and repeat. Continue down to the sixth string, then back to the first string, and then all the way up the neck.

By the time you're done with these drills, your fingers will be exhausted, but the next time you play guitar you'll feel like you're playing with tremendous new agility, accuracy, speed, and stamina. If you play mostly electric guitar, but also have an acoustic with heavier gauge strings, try doing the exercises on the acoustic. Then, when you switch to the electric, it will be just like swinging a baseball bat with weights on it in the batter's box, then taking the weights off and stepping up to the plate with a bat that feels like balsa wood.

And remember, you can do these exercises almost any time, even while you're listening to your favorite CD, or watching the paint dry on your bedroom wall. Now get to it!

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