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Developing Finger Strength

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

Watching a great guitarist play guitar looks, well, effortless apart from the screwed up facial expresssions. Some tips on how to develop these skills.

Finger strength like any muscle takes time to develop. For example one pilates class won't give you instant core strength. Like any muscle development repetition is key as is incorporating perfect practice routines.

Playing scales to a rhythm track may sound like a a crappy way to spend the first 10 minutes of your practice session, but a little routine pays off in many ways.

Firstly, once you have mastered the scale ( major, minor, pentatonic, harmonic minor, etc) and you can play that scale forwards and backwards at a comfortable tempo I would suggest the following:

1) Learn and develop your skills at playing doubles and triplets up and down the scale.

2) Play a swing feel to the scale

3) Practice arpeggios (1-3-5-7) of the scale

4) Modal runs from the 2nd degree of the scale / 3rd degree of the scale / 4th / 5 th / etc

Now that you are mastering these exercises it's time to incorporate aspects of them into your solos along with bends, slides, hammer ons and pull offs.

You will hear the benefits of these exercises in your playing. Your muscle memory and finger strength will improve and your solo and improvisation skills will have more fodder for you to utilise.

A key aspect to remember is that music is about tapping into emotion and not running up and down the neck playing scales. Listen to BB King for example THE master of emotion and minimalistic playing techniques.

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