Micro study 27 – left hand basics 3 is part of the – #6stringinspiration – series of short and sweet studies that target very specific ideas. These are for those who have very little time and want huge gains from tight focused practice ideas.
Micro Study 27 – Left Hand Basics 3
This is a left hand only exercise, which has two levels to it.
It works the most common finger combinations that you will see on the fretboard. Again, like micro study 26 (link here), it works from the strongest combinations to the weakest.
Common Finger Combinations:
1 2 + 3 4, 1 4 + 2 3, 1 3 + 2 4
The first level is all about moving the combinations up and down the fretboard one string at a time. Level two then adds in a string skip: string 1 skip to 3 & 4, skip to 6. and then reverse. Realistically there are loads of string skipping versions. try and make your own up once this becomes easy.
[This exercise was given to me by my first guitar teacher, the amazing Neil Smith, and I have extended it and made it slightly more challenging. He is worth checking out: Neil Smith Website]
Gaining finger independence is a slow process, but it is crucial to playing guitar-any style. This exercise utilizes fingers in combination with each other, as you would do on the guitar; but it simplifies their movement by restricting it to only one string.
Finger combinations, 1 2 + 3 4 & 1 4 + 2 3 are relatively easy to work and most guitarists do not struggle with them. Finger combination 1 3 + 2 4 however is the exercise that will challenge your left hand the most. Work up to it with the others. This particular combination is used on the guitar a lot in the form of 6ths and 10ths, especially in the 19th century literature; so it is worth getting good at.
In order for fingers 1 3 + 2 4 to move in this manner, it needs to be practiced slowly and carefully at first, especially if you haven’t work on this combination before. The hand tendons need time to adjust, so do not push past in pain or real discomfort – not worth it!
Note: This study uses the left hand only so that maximum concentration can be given to this exercise, which not only improves finger control but also has a bearing on tone production. Practice mindfully.
Push against the wall
There are 2 levels to this exercise, the string spacing basically increases, so take your time on the level that requires it. If you can’t do any combination fluently, then work up to it. That then becomes your wall, and you need to beginning pushing against it, and through it everyday: go onto the new level, do until you can’t, then drop back into the comfort zone-repeat! Eventually you will break through on to the new level.
And Remember: only move the fingers you need to.
Make sure you fingers are moving one combination at a time only. Keep the other fingers hovering above the string as you move. This is very clear on the video above. It should like your fingers are walking across the fretboard, in other words there is always a combination down whilst the other ones move.
Click the link below if you want to go back to the beginning of the series.
Want the Dots?
No music for this example, use the video above to walk through the 3 exercises.