Every player wants to be able to fast fast. However, speed isn't something you can instantly acheive just by picking faster. It takes time, and it takes patience. After all, what good is it to play a flurry of notes that cannot be articulated clearly? Who does that benefit except one's own ego? You must learn to walk before you can run. So it is with the fret hand of the player. You need to take things slowly and develop agility & dexterity before attempting to speed your way through a solo. For this reason you require a systematic approach to getting your fret hand to do what you want it to do. I have outlined 24 fingering patterns in six day combinations using both straight 8th notes and triplets. Watch the video and then download the PDF file for personal practice.
Irrespective of differences in technique there is a basic foundation that one must build from if one is to gain the facility needed with fret board fingerings. I recognize that Django had only two good working fingers to utilize in his fret board gymnastics. This is the exception and serves to show that necessity is the mother of invention. I assume most of us want to use all available fingers we have.
Let's look at combinations which will force us to stretch each finger for full dexterity. In this way we can optimize our fret hand co-ordination, thus facilitating a total approach. There are a total of 24 fingering combinations or practice patterns that the left-hand can play (6 strings X 4 fingers = 24 patterns). I have laid them out so that you can practice one ascending and descending set each day for six consecutive days. This applies to triplets as well as straight eighth note patterns. Begin each practice period with the exercise for that particular day. It is not necessary to dwell upon your mistakes; it is the fact that you are practicing them on a daily basis over a long period of time that will improve your technique.
24 Fingering Exercises for Dexterity
When playing these patterns, keep your fingers low to the fretboard; avoid unnecessary and wasted motion. Do not use wide picking strokes; strive to utilize only enough of the pick as to make contact. This is known as an "economy of picking" approach.Do each warm-up exercise for six consecutive days, with one day off. Do them before you practice or play anything else. Some fingering combinations and/or triplet patterns will be more difficult to play than others. Avoid skipping over them, for whatever reason. The effect is very detrimental to overall progress. Slow them down to whatever tempo is necessary in order to play them. Regularity is essential to overall coordination and dexterity when it comes to performance goals.
Play only eighth notes at first, continuous and uninterrupted, up and down the fretboard. No rests. No phrasing. No hammer-on's. No pull-offs. No other ornamentation. Assign one finger per fret. Move one fret higher each time you've played from the low E (6th string) to the high E (1st string) and back down again.
Always use a metronome. However, do not set your metronome any faster than you can play cleanly and comfortably. Use the metronome to track your progress; keep a daily record of your tempo gain. NOTE: Your tempo will vary from day to day. This is to be expected. The goal is to increase the coordination between left and right hands. Your speed will increase as your ability to articulate each note cleanly and evenly increases. Do each warm-up exercise for six consecutive days, with one day off. Do them before you practice or play anything else. Some fingering combinations and/or triplet patterns will be more difficult to play than others. Avoid skipping over them, for whatever reason. The effect is very detrimental to overall progress. Slow them down to whatever tempo is necessary in order to play them. Regularity is essential to overall coordination and dexterity when it comes to performance goals.