Guitar Tips for Intermediate Players
With many years of teaching and performing experience under my belt, I have found that there certain exercises that have improved my guitar technique the, most. In this video I’ll show you what these exercises are and why they are important.
As you get more advanced your hands will become stronger, it takes time to develop your guitar fitness but it needs to be done gradually and with good habits. A good thing to work on is making sure you use correct finger pressure. So many players over press the notes of the LH. This pressure needs to be balanced with the downward gravity the arm applies to the fretboard.
Pressure Exercise – play a note with each finger on a different fret staring with no pressure, build the pressure until you can hear a buzzing note. Once you hear the buzz add just a little more pressure until you hear a clear note. Be sure to keep as near the fret as possible. Variation – Try this also without the help of the thumb
Finger independence is a vital aspect of technique that needs to be worked on. The fingers need to learn to operate independently of each other. This will make playing easier and more relaxed and you won’t make as many mistakes, your hands will get less tired. Having good finger independence is a real sign of guitar mastery.
Independence Exercise – Place your 4 fingers in a row along the fret board – eg frets 4 5 6 7 on the third string. keep all fingers lightly touching the frets. Lift the 1st finger and play the fret on the string above it and below it. Then the fret two strings above it and below it. Repeat with all fingers. Variation – you can do this with 2 fingers moving in opposite directions.
With a more advanced repertoire the hands will be required to flex more into many shapes which for less experienced players don’t feel natural. This is especially the case with chords which require the fingers to be in many places at once.
Stretching Exercise– Play with fingers 1 and 2 frets 1 and 2, then play frets 1 and 3, then 1 and 4 (if you can). Try this with fingers 2 – 3, 3 – 4, 1-3, 1-4 and 2-4. Variation – start this on the higher frets which are closer together and move gradually to the lower frets.
Building LH strength is a crucial aspect of building technique. There are some things you can practice that will develop strength more effectively than just playing pieces.
Strength exercise – practice slurs. Practice pull-offs and hammer-ons along each string in this fashion: 1-3 2-4 4-2 3-1 going upwards is a hammer and downwards is a pull-off.
Another aspect of guitar technique that is often overlooked is synchronisation between the hands. You practice certain movements you can do with both hands together to improve synchronisation. This will really help scale flow and speed and give you a feeling of having more time.
Exercise- play – prepare – play – prepare. In this exercise you can use the chromatic scale or any scale you desire. Start by playing fret 1 with your i finger. Noe stop the sound with you m finger and at the same time put your 2 finger down. You are now ready to play fret 2 with m. Play this note and immediately top the sound with i finger and put your 3rd finger on fret 3. Repeat this idea along the scale.