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Left Hand Finger Exercises

By Bob Kensinger *

Note: These exercises are written here for banjo but apply to any stringed instrument, adjust accordingly.

Spider walk exercise:

Put all four fingers of your left hand on the high D string with each finger one fret apart. For example the index on the 5th fret, the middle on the 6th fret, the ring on the 7th fret and the little on the 8th fret. Then, at the same time, lift your index and ring fingers up leaving the other two fingers on the spider_walk.gif (43114 bytes)fret board and place (plant) them both at the same time on the next string down (the B string). If you can't lift the fingers at the same time, with your right hand touch the fingers to be moved so your brain can feel the fingers. Remember lift and plant. Now lift your middle finger and the little finger in a similar manner and place on the B string. Continue alternating these two combinations until you reach the high G string, then return down the strings. You may feel a bit uncoordinated at first and your fingers may hurt a little. Do this only a few minutes a day and in a months time you will be amazed at how your left hand responds. This exercise is designed for creating finger independence, making it easier to grab chords and change finger positions more quickly. Also this exercise doesn't include any right hand rolls so your better half will love this one. :-)


Finger spacing exercise:

Put your left hand fingers on the fret board high up the neck somewhere with index on the D string, middle on the B string but one fret higher, ring on the G string but one fret higher than the middle finger, and little finger on the low D string one fret higher than the ring finger. Your hand position should look like the chord position for a Major Seventh Chord on the guitar. Then, and this is important, move your index finger down one fret not letting the other finger tips move and being sure to have a space between the index and middle fingers. If you can't move your index finger reach over with your right hand and move it. This is aalright to do as the important thing is to have a space. Follow with the middle finger then move the ring and then the little. Keep moving down the frets until the you reach the nut. Then reverse and go up the neck. The important thing here is to have a space between your fingers.

At first these two exercises will feel very weird but will pay off big time. Good Luck!
If you have any problems or questions email Bob Kensinger
* Animated images by Bob Kensinger

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