Left Hand Finger Exercises

1. Chromatic Scales – Practice chromatic scales up and down the fingerboard (one finger per fret) in all keys. For example, A chromatic will start and end on A and will contain all notes in between. These scales are great exercises in finger control.

2. Diatonic Scales – Practice major and minor scales in all keys in all positions.

3. Hammer-ons – Play notes chromatically using hammer-ons to take you to the next fret, while keeping the initial finger stopped on the previous fret. If we number our fretting fingers 1 to 4 we can play the following hammer-on patterns on each string starting at the 5th fret:

Hammer-on patterns for each string

So, for the first exercise, finger 1 will be stopping the 5th fret and finger 2 will be hammering on to the 6th fret twice, then finger 2 will be stopping the 6th fret and finger 3 will be hitting the 7th fret twice, then finger 3 will be stopping the 7th fret and finger 4 will be hitting the 8th fret four times (the 4th finger needs the most strengthening). Repeat this on all 6 strings. To increase difficulty, move down towards the 1st fret.


4. Pull-offs – These are similar to the hammer-on exercises except we are playing the patterns in reverse, that is, we are pulling-off the strings rather than hammering-on. So if we numbered our fingers again, we can play the following patterns:



These exercises, if practiced daily, are guaranteed to improve your playing ability. A minimum of half an hour a day should be set aside for these exercises.

However, to avoid boredom, as is quite common with guitar exercises, I suggest you break up the exercises with songs or pieces of music you enjoy playing, thereby increasing the daily practice to an hour.

It is guaranteed that you will become a better player and have more control over your fingers on both hands.

The more time you spend on playing, the better you will get.