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Right-Hand Exercises To Create A Foundation For Playing Fingerstyle

These Right-Hand Exercises Go Beyond Basics Fingerstyle Guitar.

Controlling your fingers is crucial to fingerstyle guitar. The easy guitar lessons in these right-hand exercises help you develop that control.

Think about it. If your right hand can't play the music that you hear in your head then you might as well not be hearing it. Fortunately, it's like riding a bike. Once your right hand control is developed you never really have to think about it. It will just take some practice to learn how to do it.

If you're a lefty, these right-hand exercises are to be played with your left hand.

As far as right hand position goes, everyone finds what's comfortable for themselve's. Something that should be considered though is having your hand turned so that your thumb doesn't get tangled up with your fingers.

Check out this Youtube video of Chet Atkins to see a very very efficient right hand.

For all of these drills we'll start with the thumb playing strings 4, 5, and 6. Finger 1 will play string 3, finger 2 will play string 2 and finger 3 will play string 1.

Rest your fingers on the strings like I've just described and gently play them in this sequence:T-1-2-3. For the time being don't worry about playing loudly or fast. As you work your way through the following exercises speed and volume will develop.

Try to have the fingertips push their way through the plane of the string instead of pulling the string away from the guitar and snapping back against the fingerboard.

Snapping the strings is a cool sound used by blues and country players but that's not what we're looking for now.

Learn to play the following sequences, always striving for good tone. Don't worry about playing anything with your left hand, these exercises are strictlyly designed for your right hand.

Right Hand Exercises 1 and 2 Right Hand Exercises 3 and 4 Right Hand Exercises 5

The exercises listed above are a good starting point. After you have them under your fingers you will be ready for this next series. Keep your fingers on the same strings as the first set of exercises.

Right Hand Exersises 6 Right Hand Exercises 7
Right Hand Exercises 8
Right Hand Exercises 10 Right Hand Exercises 11

We haven't talked about our pinky(4th) finger much. Because it's shorter and not as strong as our other fingers it usually isn't used much.

It can be developed just like our other fingers though. To begin training the 4th finger, eliminate finger 1 from the right-hand exercises above and shift all of your fingers up so that finger 2 substitutes for 1, 3 for 2 and 4 for 3.

To see great finger independance including finger 4 take a look at this Lenny Breau video.

To develop your thumb we'll do a series of sets that target the thumb. We will begin by working the 6th, 5th, and 4th strings using only the thumb. Play The following patterns:

Right Hand Exercises 12 Right Hand Exercises 13
Right Hand Exercises 15 Right Hand Exercises 16 Right Hand Exercises 17

Try to do this series of exercises daily. Then, if they fit, use them in the songs that you're working on. Right-hand exercises like these are crucial for learning fingerstyle guitar.

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