Topic: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Get back into your music and take it to levels you never dreamed possible.

Fingering Exercises will move those great solo leads from your brain to your hand movements and back to the understanding of music as a whole.

I will use a numbering system to represent a right handed player.
In this fashion, O1-01-01 With the guitar neck in your left hand,
the first 01- is strings, top to bottom, (1 2 3 4 5 6)
second -01- is frets on the neck, from tuning nut to bridge.
third -01 is your fingers. Index 1, second 2, ring 3, pinkie 4.

Now try a G major scale with 8 notes
1-3-2/ 1-5-4/ 2-2-1/ 2-3-2/ 2-5-4/ 3-2-1/ 3-4-3/ 3-4-4/
PLay it up and down, the more you do it the better you'll get.
The noter are G A B C D E F# G
Play it with a track or a friend strumming a Gmaj chord until it's smooth and fluid. You're well on your way to getting that solo gig.

In the future, I'll only be showing scales, patterns and notes.
For now, practice this little A minor arpeggio also.
1-5-1/ 1-8-4/ 2-7-3/ 2-12-4/ 3-10-2/ 4-9-1/ 4-14-3/ 5-13-2/ 6-12-1/ 6-17-4

All that I intend to share here has been thoroughly written and taught by many so if I am trudging through old waters please inform, so that we may move ahead.

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Bax buddy!  You might want to just move this post into a new thread just to keep the "sticky" as small as possible, and to ensure that members get a reasonable chance to view your post.  We tend to ignore the "tinted" threads after having familiarized ourselves and new additions tend to be overlooked.

Another thing I noticed is that you are using the top down string numbering, which although you explained it in your post, is generally reverse of what a good bunch of the tutors out there are teaching.  IE: chord building on the 6th or 5th string root as in basic barre forms etc.  It's not difficult to grasp for more practised members, but might prove puzzling to novice and some intermediate players.  To me the ascending arpeggio in Gmaj, would naturally start on the 6 string (Bass E) 3rd fret (G) with the 1 finger (index) and go up the scale in order with each finger in turn in the fret it naturally resides in.  But then again I started out playing "classical", and although I'm getting lax in my old age and changing genres often still try to hang on to those structured techniques lest I lose the ability to make the "stretch".

I too am a firm advocate of scales as a way to learn the notes, and take it a bit further by naming the note while visualizing the sheet notation so that too becomes habitual.  I still can't "sight read" as quickly as some, but can pretty much find the correct note on the fingerboard from familiarity and interval.

It's all good!

"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Bax, I think you have 'top to bottom' and '1 to 6' reversed.

The top string (number one string) is always the highest pitched note i.e 'e'

1  e  top
2  B
3  G
4  D
5  A
6  E  bottom

I can only make sense of what you have written if I reverse the numbers.

Using your notation I would write the G scale like so:

6-3-3/ 5-0-0/ 5-2-2/ 5-4-4/ 4-0-0/ 4-2-2/ 4-4-4/ 3-0-0/

and the next octave

3-0-0/ 3-2-2/ 2-0-0/ 2-1-1/ 2-3-3/ 1-0-0/ 1-2-2/ 1-3-3/


Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

You got me fellas!
My only defense is simplicity.

I'll really need your coaching on new posting at old thread Doug.
Is a full delete here comfortable by you? "You da' Boss, I'm just Ross!"
LOL, Ross Perot joke. smile

I Really Like Your Scale Roger! Playing open that way made me laugh joyfully.

It took me awhile to get over the "one-up" hang-up.
I don't frown on that, it's what everyone has used successfully.
My concept is the natural flow for me, any'hoo, neophites grasp it better. 

One-up shows how a measure of notes is placed on the staff but...
Noticed how their placement is reversed from all we hear?
Low sounds down, high sounds up.
Imagine how much "one-down" transforms music theory.

If the World Were a Village of 100 People

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Well Bax, I see you got your thread moved.... don't know if it was you or Roger, but this should be better.  Usually things can only be moved by the author of the post, or section moderator (yes we have our assigned areas of responsibility), or the CO/XO (who are fairly high up the chain of command).

Standard notation is usually learned seated at a piano bench (it was for me).  Being right handed it makes sense to just lay the guitar flat across my knees and the staff kinda matches the strings.  From there it is just counting intervals to see the finger placement.

As for your Village of 100 People........ at the rate we're going it'll wind up a Ghost Town.

Keep treading water buddy!  It's gotta stop raining long enough to snow.  wink

"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

I was taught that when first learning scales one keeps below the 5th fret, the first finger plays the 1st fret, the second finger the second fret, third for third fret and pinky for 4th fret and to always use an open string where possible.

Once scales are mastered down there you can move to the more difficult to remember scales up the fretboard. smile


Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Roger Guppy wrote:

I was taught that when first learning scales one keeps below the 5th fret, the first finger plays the 1st fret, the second finger the second fret, third for third fret and pinky for 4th fret and to always use an open string where possible.

Once scales are mastered down there you can move to the more difficult to remember scales up the fretboard. smile


The only exception would be the A major/minor scale in two octaves you end on the E string 5th fret, one of the great things about guitar is all the scales are fretted the same past the 1st position depending on the mode or key.

"Growing old is not for sissies"

8 (edited by Strummerboy Bill 2015-10-06 15:22:56)

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

You always make it sound like playing guitar really isn't all that hard, Russell. smile

Epiphone Les Paul Studio
Fender GDO300 Orchestral - a gift from Amy & Jim
Rogue Beatle Bass
Pearl Drums

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Strummerboy Bill wrote:

You always make it sound like playing guitar really isn't all that hard, Russell. smile

Like anything Bill it is harder for some others it is natural and easy, everyone has a gift for something but not all things.

"Growing old is not for sissies"

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Hey Doug! Kawabunga! It must have been Roger who made the clean-up then because
I'm still just sharing the alphabet here so far. Thanks Maestro!

Doug_Smith wrote:

Well Bax, just lay the guitar flat across my knees and the staff kinda matches the strings.

02.) Fingering Exercise; and a lil' theory.

"Staff" is the set of horizontal lines and spaces for writing music notes on.

This will be in the standard numbering system:
Fret and finger are common and unchanged
Bottom E string is 1/ Up to B is 2/ Up to G is 3/
Up to D is 4/ Up to A is 5/ Top E string is 6

Remember Key is string, fret, finger

632/ 654/ 532/ 554/ 421/ 454/ 321/ 354/ 232/ 254/ 132/ 154

Repeat and play in reverse bottom to top.
Move up the neck two frets and copy the pattern.
Repeat and keep going... Work the fingers and don't look at 'em.

For my leftie with her strings upside-down...

132/ 154/ 232/ 254/ 321/ 354/ 421/ 454/ 532/ 554/ 632/ 654

After you do this for about five minutes 
you'll be saying, 'Guitar Isn't That Hard!", too!

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

This is pretty thorough shorthand, and unique. did you come up with it?

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Hey Las Vegas! Long time No-See!
I can't claim to be the creator of this notation language
BaldGuitarDude. Thank You for Trying it and sharing your smile!

Somewhere along the line, when people are digging into music theory they always eventually begin to relate the six (or 7) guitar strings to numbers. In our case, we always know which string we're on by the number representing it.

Actually... this is borrowed from the KEPATHIAN Notation Method, which uses
numbers to represent written notes. Mostly by countries with different sheet-music than our Western Notation of Lines and spaces, left to right.
To play without looking at paper, we just show each note placement this way.

Starting this can be really slow until your hand has memorised the pattern.
So we just keep doing it over and over again until it's fast and smooth.

Did you try it enough to not look but just feel the string and Fret Bars?
I mostly do this stuff with an accoustic because they really work the fingers. After you gain control, you can really "Rip" an electric BaldGuitarDude!

Lets run another exercise to work the middle finger, ok?

Standard numbering system; Key = string, fret, finger

632/ 554/ 432/ 421/ 332/ 321/

Repeat until it's easy... then step-up two frets, repeat... step repeat.
Try to get to 120 BPM and then run it in reverse.

Before you know it you'll be carrying any song on vocal breaks.

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

This is some totally awesome instruction! I can see it working for me just fine as my memory has a tendency to fade quickly. If I can look at the numbers, it makes it much easier for me. Thank you for taking the time to do this for me, Bax.


Epiphone Les Paul Studio
Fender GDO300 Orchestral - a gift from Amy & Jim
Rogue Beatle Bass
Pearl Drums

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Tiz' my humble Pleasure Strummerboy Bill. Too Much of my life is absorbed in the daily-grind and
our contact here is enriching to my love of music and my goals for it's full growth.

I skipped a few days of posting, due to getting new pc stuff and now still setting-up everything... seems ok, huh?

I've had this ol' KISS rhythm going thru my head too. I was skeptical about showing it because it's long.
I played it awhile and enjoyed it, so I synced it with a percussion and bass. It's a great low-fret exercise!

Anyone familiar with KISS has heard the song, "Detroit Rock City". 
Gene Simmons hits this reprise before the chorus parts and with fill ins...
If I remember the song correctly... Seems they're about 150 BPM.

We'll start out at our own feel and pick pace and speed-up as we get into it, ok?

Key: string/ fret/ finger 
+ means, the next measure ... means, sustained note

40x/ 433/ 322/ 30x/  +30x/ 333/ 322/ 30x/ 333/ 322/ 30x/ 433...

+433/ 322/ 333/ 322/ 433/ 411/ 40x/ 411... +411/ 30x/ 433/ 411/ 30x/ 433/ 411/ 40x...

If you've got the drift of the song, you can tell where to repeat two measures and end here,

411.../ 40x.../ 444/ 30x...

Even without copying the original it makes for a sweet exercise progression and
gradual cross over at 5th string, 5th fret... ooPs, no 5th finger! smile ~Bax!

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Hey Music Lovers!

Here is another choice up and down pattern set to develop your finger mobility and fret recognition.

Key; string, fret, finger

333/ 222/ 111/ 133/ 222/ 333

Slide up two frets and repeat the pattern, repeat, repeat... run back down.

Play the pattern on the 4th 3rd 2nd strings... 5th 4th 3rd... 6th 5th 4th

Learn to do this as fast as you can without looking, and...
When you get good at this one your friends will say that you're an expert!

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

is that an arpeggio or scale or just a pattern?

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Hello Again Brudda!

This is just a simple pattern, a finger position.
When placed 433/ 322/ 211 you have an Fmajor7th chord.
A very beautiful tonal sound which leads-in vocals on many soft songs.
Such as the one which brought me here to Chordie, "Falling" and also, "Wild Fire"

The second pattern when played 323/ 221/ 124 is a D seventh chord or
when played 433/ 322/ 234 is a D minor, no 1st string.

A natural scale will normally sound each note of an octave in sequence.
An arpeggio does the same but at broken intervals covering many octaves.

See how you like this progression off of Dm
It's the beginning of the AEROSMITH song, Dream On

Play the common Dm with 1st string, 1st finger... using 111/ to make change.
On 6th strum use 134/ holding 233/ 322/ and slide to 5th fret as intro gains finger notes.

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Just a quick couple points of clarification...I might not be following you but I think there are a couple of mistakes here unless I'm reading your notation incorrectly. For purposes of simplification I've left off your finger number:

- 3rd fret string 4, 2nd fret string 3 and 1st fret string 2 is FAC - an F major triad. You need an e (open 1st string) to make it Fmaj7.
- 2nd fret string 3, 2nd fret string 2 and 2nd fret string 1 is D major 7, not D7. Fun fact: It's also F#m.
- A natural scale (I assume you mean major scale?) doesn't sound all notes of an octave in sequence. All notes of an octave in sequence would be a chromatic scale.
- Arpeggios can occur on one octave. For example you can play FACEb ACEbF FEbCA EbCAF for a 1 octave F dominant 7 ascending and then descending arpeggio.

On another note, your Dm is interesting as it's a rootless voicing, which works great in some settings but is not very common. I use a lot of rootless voicings in one of my groups. What song(s) do you use that in? Do you throw a 5th fret A string in there to add a root to it or do you use it as your main Dm chord when you play?


Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Thank You for adding the classical theory references BGD.
As you see, my blue-print here is very basic and all new input for clarification is needed
to continue and add to the grand discussion of music theory that we have going here.

I believe that you are seeing the same pattern that I am, the 211/ (string, Fret, finger)
would leave bottom E open for Fmj7 but what might have blurred the reception is just using 3rd finger on both strings.
You Are Correct at the point where Dmj7 falls, a simple one finger bar across three bottom strings of fret two.

I did Name the second part of the pattern improperly on yesterday's reply, because The D7 is 1st and 2nd frets not a bar but...
The exercise is played on the second and third frets so that it steps into the Fmj7. 

It's noted good in the original exercise but impossible to play in the fashioned reply because all of your fingers
would be piled on 2nd fret with your middle finger flying wild in the wind between them.
Use the Dm no btm E when progressing, It was unintentional so disregard that awful part, ok.

Here's the second part of the exercise: Key; string, fret, finger

133/ 222/ 333 (step with third finger)

This is actually an Eb7th with open 4th string.
Which would become an Eb Diminished when held on the 1st and 2nd frets with 1st fret 4th string included.
We'd have a  Gb m7th flat5 , when the 2nd fret 4th string is included.
Can't say that I understand your F#m but bar on the 1st fret like a Dmj7 and we have a Fm or
F minor sixth with an open 4th string included. Oh Yea, Now I See why it's Sharp!

Hey! I forgot to mention... I Think that One of my All Time Favorite songs,
"Silly Love Songs" by Paul McCarthey also uses that Fmj7 in the chorus runs.

Later Bro, get finger callouses!

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Your eb7 above is correct except for the open D string. Notes in an Eb7 are:
Eb, G, Bb, Db.

The open 4th string is a D which is not a part of the Eb7 chord. If you wanted to play a chord with the b7 in the bass (which is a cool but unusual voicing) using the open d string you would need to move your chord form up 1/2 step and play E7 with a D in the bass. The notes in E7 are

E G# B D. So your chord shape would work and would put the dominant 7th chord tone in the bass. Would sound super cool with a band behind you but perhaps a bit tense in a solo acoustic type situation.

Re: the F#m chord, that's one of my favorite chord shapes. You can play a big honkin' barre chord across all strings and just mute the A string.. you wind up with


Lots of people might know this chord shape as

However I like to omit that A string note for two reasons:
1. It's the 5th degree of the chord, which is generally unnecessary unless you're playing an altered chord like your Gb7b5 above. (In fact I find 5ths unnecessary and avoid them whenever I play barre chords.)
2. Even if you are compelled to put 5ths in all of your chords, the 4th fret A string is doubled by the 2nd fret B string. both of those are C#s. So why play two?

Might be justifying my laziness but I like to leave that bad boy out altogether. smile

This particular barre chord has lots of possibilities. You can play the barre on strings 1,2,3,4 with your ring finger and the bass note with your index finger or middle finger. Or (my favorite) play the barre with your index finger and hit the low E string 2nd fret with your thumb. That leaves your three other fingers to take a break, hit some wrong notes or point at the cute girl ordering drinks.

Fun extensions of that chord are
4 (F#m7 add 9)

(this one really isn't an extension but for some reason putting the b3 up at the top of the chord sounds kind of pensive.)

You might also recognize that this barre chord also forms the low frets of the minor pentatonic scale:
2 5
2 5
2 4
2 4
2 4
2 5.

See all those 2s?

So you can even play that barre chord with your thumb and index finger and also do blues scale type fills with your other three fingers just by following the minor pentatonic pattern.

Fun stuff!

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Yeaaa, I usually grab my G chord real fast that way. The reach is ez!

Didn't that Fogarth, John Dude who made all the stink about his sound being copied
base his original style on that intonation...
The Real Red-Neck Bayou beer drinking Bam-a-lam

Got'ta love those Neck Grab Chords!
You can Never lose your place!

See "Born On The Bayou" Shiii I can hold this E7th all Nite Long!
Pluck a few... Tip A Brew... Smile at You and 'da Chickies too!

All he's doing is plucking two down and two up huh?
Ohhh Yeaaa! pluck 3 on the end!

Yeaaa... RoooOh lin Wid some CaaJuun Queen!!

OOps gotta run BBsoon! Bax!

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Hey friends and lovers.
The holiday was wonderful and our entertainment was spectacular.

Now... Getting back to the exercises! 
Since the fret spacings grows tighter and smaller with each step up the guitar neck,
we must develop the ability to accurately change the width and stretch of our hand
and finger placements, whyle maintaining our focus on proper fret locations.

With this pattern, our fingers will become accustomed to the feel of the fret board changes.
This pattern runs very quickly on every string at every fret.
Teach your fingers to feel each bar as they slide across without looking.

Key; string, fret, finger...

311/ 333/ 222/ 244/ 111/ 133

Use this same pattern everywhere to gain a command of the guitar neck.

Keep filling the world with beautiful sounds. Bax

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

I've been practicing this on my Strat and one thing it's taught me is I'm not practicing enough. smile I need to build those callouses back up, Bax!

Thanks for your time and sharing your expertise with us!


PS: I also have a bad need to learn the notes on the fret board. It's tougher for me because of the dementia, but I know it's the root of everything that is guitar. I tried those little stickers, but they don't stay on. What about flash cards/any other suggestions you may have?

Epiphone Les Paul Studio
Fender GDO300 Orchestral - a gift from Amy & Jim
Rogue Beatle Bass
Pearl Drums

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

To quote the above key:

"+ means, the next measure ... means, sustained note

40x/ 433/ 322/ 30x".

I get it all except the 0 after the 4 (and the 3) and then the small x after the 0 (after the 3). One of those means play the string "open" right?

Sorry, I know my question sounds dumb, but that's me: dumb. smile


Epiphone Les Paul Studio
Fender GDO300 Orchestral - a gift from Amy & Jim
Rogue Beatle Bass
Pearl Drums

Re: Fingering Exercises for Guitar

Hey my Friend S.B.Bill big smile here 'cause we always share the music that we love.

Yea, you do see just fine what the symbols represent in the exercises.
With the key... string, Fret, Finger
0 will be played open with x because no finger.

I wonder if you're really enjoying your music time as much as you really can?
Sounds like you might be doing lots of work and it's robbing you of simple joy.
With rhythm, it's very easy to play and sing any of your favorite songs by strumming chords.
Our fingering exercises will teach individual note progressions to accompany a fill-in for each chord.

May I ask how accomplished you are at playing rhythm and do you know the chords?

One little trick for helping callouses.
Put a small drop of crazy-glue on your finger tips, right where you push the strings at.
This will make a larger pad to push against the bone.
It will reduce pain and cutting, allowing you to play for much longer sessions. 
Of course it will seem odd to begin with but the results pay-off really fast.

I should be working on my newest song. The words and music are still on paper.
I'm practicing up really good with acoustic and will get instruments layed-out on each track.
Then insert vocals and mix and master everything, burn a CD and up-load a sound file.

This strange old movie called Forrest Gump is distracting me though.

"Me and Jenny was like peas and carrots again!"