Guitar Exercises: For Speed, Strength, and Dexterity

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  • Applied properly, these exercises will help you to develop confidence in you playing and will help make you aware of weak areas of your playing that need concentrated effort. They are great way to start out a practice session. They will help loosen your fingers and stretch your hand muscles to get you ready to practice other material.


Guitar Exercises

Here you’ll find guitar exercises that will help you develop speed, endurance, accuracy, and finger strength. This physical aspect of guitar playing is called technique. These exercises are not to be performed for their musical value. They are simply to develop skill.

These exercises are not something you play through once and then forget about. Performing these exercises regularly is and absolute must. It’s not unlike going to the gym to workout. If you stick with it and keep a regular schedule you will see marked improvement as time goes by.

Alternate Picking Exercises

These guitar exercises focus a lot on your picking of single note lines. They will also benefit your fretting hand tremendously, as well as help you develop your sense of timing. These alternate picking guitar exercises are for all skill levels and are a great place for beginners to start.

Legato Exercises

Legato Exercises 1-6

Legato Exercises 7-12 (2nd, 3rd, and 4th Finger Dexterity) 

Legato Exercises 13-15 (Open String Pull-Offs)

Legato Exercises 16-18

Legato Exercises 19-21 (4 Finger Hammer-On/Pull-Off

More Legato Exercises

Endurance Exercises

Everyone hates getting hand cramps during the big solo. Use these guitar exercises to build muscle stamina in your hands and enable you to play longer without getting those pesky hand cramps. Beware! These exercises burn…

The Two Week Challenge

Day 1 | Day 2Day 3Day 4

Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8

Day 9Day 10 | Day 11Day 12

Day 13 | Rest! Start entire cycle the next day if you wish.

Strength Building Exercises

Strength Building Exercises 

Stretching Exercises

Stretching Exercises

Finger Confusion Exercises

Finger Confusion Exercises

In this video I’ll show you a set of exercises you can use to help you become faster and play longer:

Guitar Exercises Tips

  • Stick With It

It doesn’t matter what level of guitar playing you are at. It doesn’t matter what style of music you play. Everyone can benefit from the same guitar exercises. And it’s important that you keep doing them. If you slack off at the gym you’ll see you muscle development deteriorate after time. It’s the same with these technique exercises. You can spend months or even years building up blazing fretboard speed, but the point where you stop exercising your fingers on a regular basis is the point where your hard earned skills will deteriorate.

  • Overkill Can Cause Injury

Don’t over do it! These exercises should be part of your regular practice routine, but you don’t want to practice them to the point where you may injure your hands. If you feel a little too much discomfort or cramping in your hands, by all means cut back a little. Like at the gym, your muscles and tendons need time to recuperate in between workouts.

  • Start Out Slow

You should always play each exercise at a speed that you are comfortable with. If cannot play the exercises smoothly and without mistakes, then you are going too fast and you need to slow it down a little. Start out slow and slowly build speed. We’re striving for good technique, not fast bad technique. Speed comes with time.

Don’t get frustrated! You may not see improvement overnight, but you will see improvement eventually. If you practice these guitar exercises just 15 minutes a day for a week, at the end of the week you will have improved guaranteed. With practice you can only get better, not worse. Record yourself playing some of these guitar exercises. After you have had a few weeks to practice them, go back and listen to the recording that you did. You’ll be blown away!

  • Use A Metronome

A metronome is a simple device that keeps the time by creating a regular beat. You will find using one in conjunction with the exercises in this section very beneficial. To practice with a metronome simply play one, two, or three notes per beat. When you are able to play an exercise without error at one speed, then you just speed the metronome up a little.

You can get a metronome at any music store. They come in all shapes and sizes, most notable is the traditional piano metronome with it’s swinging pendulum. Prices range from about $10 all the way to $100+. There’s no need to spend more than $20 for one.

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