Guitar Exercises for Beginners

 

Advanced horizontal pentatonic shifting  

Think about it : a daily twenty minute exercise schedule which you keep up for a while, and then one morning you wake up, pick up the guitar and... WHOOOMM. An over night sensation. You're finally there...you have had a threshold experience...you are a pro...!

Is this possible? Read on to learn how reality looks.

 

     What is a guitar exercise?

An exercise is a number of notes, or a pattern, which you repeat to develop an even, controlled technique.

Once you have got control it is possible to increase speed. It is perfectly possible to achieve speed without control, but your technique will be useless. You will not be able to use your technique in a real life musical situation - and you will have few chances of ever getting out of your bedroom. (!)

If you already have achieved speed without control, you are obviously reading this a little late. Fear not - no guitar mistake is irreparable. Just watch this lesson's video and make sure to go through this metronome lesson. Your solution will be to pick some exercise which you haven't yet practiced - and do it correctly from the beginning.

     Are there good and bad exercises?

 

Split answer here...

No, any exercise is okay to repeat as long you don't use a bad technique (such as using only downstrokes etc.).

Yes, some exercises will suit you better, depending on what your problem areas are.

Girl practicing beginner exercises
Exercises can take beginners to a new level in no time.

The purpose of an exercise is to get rid of your problem areas so that you can play music. An exercise will never be music. So if you feel the music you want to play is shred guitar (=a style which envolves playing very fast) - you will have quite some problem areas to deal with - especially if you are a beginner. Consequently, you will need to intensely practice many different exercises.

On the other hand, if you mostly want to play bluesrock, it is possible to get away with just a couple of exercises in the beginning, and then eventually just spend your practicing time on new riffs and licks.

     Start practicing exercises!

 

Time for you to get started - follow the video to get a hold of my favorite beginner exercises. Make sure to follow the technical advises given- regarding muting technique, picking, accents etc. - from the very start.

The exercises presented will give you a good start for both rock/blues oriented technique - as well as shredding à la Yngwie Malmsteen.

Your first year of practice will have a heavy impact on your future ability!

Good luck - see you soon!

Beginner exercises backing (90 bpm - A minor pentatonic)
   
Backing track slow
   
Tab TAB

 

Related lesson:
How to use a metronome

     Lesson Questions, Feedback & Comments





Steelkonsum
post 11th January 2007


Member


I've been doing this too and fro since I got home and I must admit I -already- have better control over my pinky.

Cool lesson. And the backing track is nice as well. Too bad the backing track is better than what I play over it tongue.gif
beebo
post 4th February 2007


Member


This is very nice! smile.gif
beebo
post 26th February 2007


Member


Hey Kris u put " This will keep you up FO a while" don't u mean FOR a while tongue.gif
Kristofer Dahl
post 28th February 2007


Member


beebo, where?
edgor67
post 1st March 2007


Member


Kris,

I'm about to leave the beginning section. What section would you recommend next? Any particular method or is it what I pick.

edgor
Kristofer Dahl
post 3rd March 2007


Member


Edgor: That's very nice to hear - congratulations! biggrin.gif

Where you choose to continue is a matter of personal preference - the choice you make will determine your style and direction...!

On a personal note, one of the most useful things for me was to learn how to work around in the pentatonic scale - so why don't you have a go a the pentatonic 101 serie? biggrin.gif

http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/One_on_on...onic_scale1.htm
ClifordACDC
post 9th March 2007


Member


good lesson but im haveing trouble doing pull offs on the b and g strings
Kristofer Dahl
post 12th March 2007


Member


If you can do it on the other strings then you should have the basics of the technique down - just practice it more!
Chooch
post 15th March 2007


Member


Also make sure it's a downwards movement, as opposed to a lift off movement.
BlueChaoz
post 18th March 2007


Member


Hey, the lesson is great!

But one question: What about "alternate picking" by hammerons or pulloffs? I play a downstroke (pinky in 8th fret) and pulloff to the 5th! My pick is down, is it right to play an "up" next, cause of alternate picking (down, up, down, up ...)?! Or is the next stroke a downstroke again cause of the note? Im not sure about this!

Thx
Kristofer Dahl
post 20th March 2007


Member


markus: Good question! I would still do down-up-dow-up regardless of a hammer-on in between. But I suspect some would do it the way you describe... Pick which ever feels best to you.
Kris smile.gif
Terbo
post 15th April 2007


Member


hey im liking this lesson as i really need to get speed in my pinky
DragonX556
post 29th April 2007


Member


The related lesson: How to use a metronome isn't working.
Kristofer Dahl
post 29th April 2007


Member


Dragon: It seems to be working at my end - are you sure?
DragonX556
post 30th April 2007


Member


When i click the link it says:

Not Found
The requested URL /beginner-guitar/how-to-use-a-metronome.htm was not found on this server.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
Apache/1.3.37 Server at www.guitarmasterclass.net Port 80
Andrew Cockburn
post 30th April 2007


Member


That link is wrong - where are you clicking it?

The correct link is:

http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/how-to-use-a-metronome.htm

You can get to it ok from the video lesson front page - maybe you have an old link from before one of Kris' reorgs.
DragonX556
post 30th April 2007


Member


Thanks for the link! I was clicking the link right above the "Lesson Questions, Feedback & Comments" where it says "related lesson"
rokchik
post 2nd May 2007


Member


Hey Kris - I'm concentrating on this exercise and the scale one at the moment. I'm trying to get the Am pentitonic down with the variation in the Scale exercise before moving to C and trying to get the first 3 exercises down in this one. Is this a good way or should I be practicing the whole lessons as seen in the videos?
Kristofer Dahl
post 2nd May 2007


Member


It sounds like a good way - especially if it motivates you!

DragonX556 - you have spotted a broken link, thanks a lot I will get onto it!
riffgiant
post 4th May 2007


Member


Great exercises Kris.

Any tips on how to not hit the strings *below* where you are doing a pulloff? Are you muting them?
Andrew Cockburn
post 4th May 2007


Member


Strings below (I mean the higher pitched, thinner strings) are most easily muted using the fingers of your left hand, since they naturally cover those strings anyway.
riffgiant
post 4th May 2007


Member


thanks Andrew, tried that and it was definitely easier than palm muting.

do you personally use muting when doing pull-offs or is it even necessary as you get better? just curious what to expect as I improve...
Andrew Cockburn
post 4th May 2007


Member


Part of getting better is getting the muting right smile.gif So, yes, I definately use the left hand muting technique extensively when playing any kind of legato - it works really well when you are playing a descending melody (down to the lower strings). For me at least it is harder to play legato ascending runs where I change strings and that is a focus for me at the moment. I'm working on a combination of plam muting and some stops with the left hand, but it is a work in progress. For now, I always pick the first note of a string for these types of runs becaus that helps me with the palm muting, the next step is to keep the palm muting and not pick the string.
CatastrophE
post 31st May 2007


Member


I'm not sure if this is a silly question or not ^^
But is the end result of practicing these exercises that you should be able to play the pentatonic scale by hammering on and pulling off notes instead of going up and down the whole scale picking each note?

Just making 100% sure smile.gif
Andrew Cockburn
post 1st June 2007


Member


QUOTE (mattyvsmithy @ May 31 2007, 09:48 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm not sure if this is a silly question or not ^^
But is the end result of practicing these exercises that you should be able to play the pentatonic scale by hammering on and pulling off notes instead of going up and down the whole scale picking each note?
Just making 100% sure smile.gif


The end result is that you should be able to play almost anything legato (no picking at all), of course crazy sweeps and fast speedpicking will sound a lot better if you pick, but you should be able to get a strong melody without any picking at all, and legato has its own unique feel that can be just what you need for some songs. At the end, its just another weapon in your armoury for when you want a particular feel ...
CatastrophE
post 1st June 2007


Member


Ahhh right got it smile.gif

Thanks for clearing that up Andrew.
I was just wondering because I found it almost impossible to pick up any speed when playing the Pentatonic scale note for note, and I assumed that this lesson was to teach you how to do it fast without picking every note.

Now I know it applies to more than just the pentatonic ^^

Thanks!.
Andrew Cockburn
post 1st June 2007


Member


QUOTE (mattyvsmithy @ Jun 1 2007, 04:23 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ahhh right got it smile.gif
Thanks for clearing that up Andrew.
I was just wondering because I found it almost impossible to pick up any speed when playing the Pentatonic scale note for note, and I assumed that this lesson was to teach you how to do it fast without picking every note.
Now I know it applies to more than just the pentatonic ^^
Thanks!.


Exactly right - pentatonic is hard to speed pick as it is just 2 notes per string meaning you are changing strings with both hands very quickly. 3 and 4 notes pers string give you more time. There are a couple of ways you can help with this.

1. Practice to a metronome
2. Add passing notes into the pentatonic scale to give you 3 notes per string - I do this a lot
3. Use hamerons and pulloffs - that's not quite the same as legato but is very similar. For each string, you could pick the first note then hammeron the secons, and carry on that way up or down the scale (down is pick then pulloff of course)

A combination of the above will get you up to speed, which you adopt deends on the type of tone you want to get.
CatastrophE
post 2nd June 2007


Member


Great, thanks for clearing that up for me ^^

Much appreciated smile.gif
Tinette
post 28th July 2007


Member


Hi Kris, I like the way you teach, everything seems challenging, but in a relaxed way.
Just one question: I have a classic guitar... not a top quality one, but somewhat good.
Do you think is worthy practising with this techniue like hammerons and pulloffs? They sound jerky... but maybe it's me.

My father has a Telecaster and I think I can arrange to use it sometimes. At least when he's not at home...
Tinette
post 28th July 2007


Member


ehm... while I have no big problems in hammer ons, I can get anything that sound like a real note with pull ons if they are not on the thinest string. sad.gif
I am missing something? I watched the video and everything seems ok. But my notes are ridicolous, even for a total beginner like me!
hyprsoda
post 17th August 2007


Member


playing a guitar requires a lot of practice. I usually spend an hour working on my exercises alone every day. Just keep practicing and avoid bad habits, and eventually everything will come together like you want. They are called exercises for a reason. smile.gif
Jared
post 30th August 2007


Member


When performing a pull-off on strings other than the bottom e, how do you keep from striking other strings and making them sound?

If I'm understanding it right, a pull of is a downward movement of the string which is basically plucking that string.

Does it just take time? I don't want to be repeating any bad habtis.
lcguinea
post 25th September 2007


Member


Kristofer thanks a lot! This is my third lesson and I really feel progress in my skills. You are an excellent teacher. I liked a lot this lesson.
Bluesfeeling
post 10th November 2007


Member


Hi, Kris!
In the Question about Alternate Picking by Hammering and Pulloffs you sayd "Pick wich ever feels best to you". Its ok. But wich one is the best Way in Theory? Ill be faster when a use Alternate Picking with Pulloffs and Hammer-Ons? Maybe its the best way to take to for playing faster? Or thats really never mind?
g-forcelover
post 21st November 2007


Member


hummmmm. you look like you forgot to shave and your bored. but great lesson!!!!
gibono
post 28th January 2008


Member


Hello,
first of all i apologize for my english ;o)

In the vid (5m45 approximately) u use the 4th finger to hammer on the 8th fret on the b cord. Shouldn't be the 5th finger?
Thanks a lot.
Martin la guitarra
post 25th February 2008


Member


kris, when i'm speedpicking in the exercise 8 i find it easier if i place my palm on the lowest strings because then i have smaller hand-movement, is it a bad habbit?
Martin la guitarra
post 25th February 2008


Member


btw, i play double as fast if i place my palm down on the lowest strings
rabxly
post 11th April 2008


Member


Hey guys!
Right now I only have an accoustic guitar. Should I practice hammerons and pullofs on it? I tried a few, and they didn't sound very good.
Btw great lesson.
ShepMFD
post 10th May 2008


Member


Hey Kris (or whoever else)...

Great lesson. My pinky finger is EXTREMELY weak. Through all my years of "casual playing" I've never really practiced with it. My other 3 fingers are relatively strong.

Is there anything else I can be doing (outside of this lesson) to build up strength and coordination in my pinky finger?

Thanks
Isis
post 12th July 2008


Member


Hey!

I saw Jared have asked the same thing, but noone have answered so i try again smile.gif

Are the pulloffs supposed to be done with a downard motion or is it enough to just lift your finger? When I do that the volume is very low, but when i pull downward i hit the strings below. In the video it looks like he's just lifting his finger, but maybe he has some kind of twist thats hard to see?
joandelason
post 16th August 2008


Member


Hi
I'm playing the first exercise til I get my fingers painful and I'm stuck at a quite low speed. I'm always picking up, because if I make alternate picking it goes even slower.

What would you recommend me?
THANKS!
joandelason
post 18th August 2008


Member


I play quite fast now, but it still gets faster when I'm always picking upwards.
Should I do alterante picking?
Is it wrong?
Raph
post 9th November 2008


Member


on the alternate picking exercise are the notes played on every beat or are they triplets?


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