TIME TO COMPLETE: 15 minutes
WHAT YOU NEED: A guitar
SKILL LEVEL: Beginner
Ever tried playing a chord and found it impossible to stretch your hand into position? Then this lesson series is just for you. It doesn’t matter how big or small your hands are these exercises will help you stretch into the positions you need. The exercises explained in this lesson will put you on the path to stretching your fingers out so you can play all those difficult chords.
WARNING: These exercises are designed to stretch your hand out and have the potential to cause pain and discomfort. If you feel any pain in your hand, please stop and have a break. The saying “no pain no gain” doesn’t apply to guitar. Ever. Don’t try to do everything at once, instead try to slowly build up how far you stretch.
This will be the easiest exercise in this lesson series. This exercise will get you used to stretching between two fingers. The first two fingers we will put through this ‘workout’ is the first and second fingers – your index and middle fingers.
As you can see in the sheet music above, all you need to do with this exercise is play the first and second frets all the way from the lowest string to the highest. When you play the first fret, use your first finger and when you play the second use your second finger. So you will be alternating between your first and second fingers all the way up the strings. Depending on how long you have been playing guitar this will be either easy or a bit tricky. Just keep working at it and most importantly: make sure every note sounds perfect. Don’t practice bad sounding notes.
After you can play the exercise with your first and second fingers, have a go using your second and third fingers using the same two frets. In other words, play the first fret with your second finger and the second fret with your third finger. This may feel a bit awkward so take your time. Remember that anything that feels awkward should be practiced slowly to make sure you play it right.
After you can play the exercise with your second and third fingers, try using your third and fourth fingers. This combination will be very awkward for most beginners because the pinky doesn’t have much strength yet. It will take a while to build up its strength so don’t get frustrated if you have trouble with this one.
Exercise Two is almost exactly the same as Exercise One. The difference is that you will be stretching your fingers a little bit extra. In the sheet music below you can see that we are now playing the first and third frets up the strings.
We will work through the same finger combinations we did in Exercise One. Work through the below finger combinations and make sure you only move on to the next one until you can play the one before it with ease. Only repeat the exercise until your hand feels a bit tired then have a rest.
1. First and Second fingers
2. Second and Third fingers
3. Third and Fourth fingers
If you have trouble with this exercise, try Exercise One for a bit longer. It takes a while for your fingers to stretch out this far without hurting. Don’t push yourself – it will happen naturally after a while.
These two exercises are the starting point for any beginner. Being able to stretch your fingers out this far will help you a great deal when playing open chords. The next part will continue to walk you through exercises that slowly get wider and harder. Remember to take it slowly and stop playing if it starts to hurt. A little bit of practice every day is ten times better than a massive practice session once a week.
Now you have read the instructions, watch the video lesson here to see the exercises being played.
Stay tuned for Part Two!
Click here for more lessons.