Left hand (fretting hand) running put of gas - looking for strength building exercizes

constantineconstantine New York✭✭✭✭ stringphonic
in Technique Posts: 454
Hi - I have been attempting this style for years now and feel like I have regressed. My fretting hand runs out of gas trying to play some fast solos. Please let me know if you have any ideas about improving my strength/precision/endurance through any particular exercises or something from a book or whatever. I am hoping to woodshed while on vacation to suck less....Thanks in advance - Dean


  • manushemanushe South Louisiana✭✭✭ Lulo's Gitane
    Posts: 30
    Maybe try a combination of guitar exercises and and hand exercises. I have found a lot of good arpeggio exercises on YouTube. For hand exercise you could do anything...hold a brick by your fingertips and walk around with it all day, i duno. good luck!
  • thorjensenthorjensen Brooklyn, NY Jerome Duffell
    Posts: 22
    I had that problem for a bit. I examined how I was playing, and how I was warming up. If you're not one for warming up, I highly advise. I had a habit for a while of playing for about 20 minutes first thing in the morning. Nothing heavy, mostly chopping chords through forms.
  • Posts: 4,005
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • AppelAppel ✭✭✭
    edited June 2015 Posts: 78
    Hi Dean - I read your original post a while ago, and when I came across Steve Ball's "The Airport Exercise", I thought of it.

    It's simple and nice - and if you have a look at the video, you'll likely have an idea to take away and try by about 0:35.

    I know very little about this player; I came across his name in the Wiki article about Fripp's "New Standard Tuning", which I was curious about for a minute or two. I love Fripp but I'm suspicious of any cult of personality - and I wrote that with a straight face into a forum named after Django Reinhardt. How we do delude ourselves. Anyway Steve Ball is or seems to be a fairly successful follower of Fripp.

    The exercise involves playing a series of major second intervals on one string, changing fingerings from 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 2-4, 3-4, 2-4, 1-4, 1-3, 1-2, and so on. He actually makes kind of a nice piece out of it, if you happen to like meditative stuff.

    I'm trying to adapt it to my long-scale guitar by starting somewhere on the second or third string, and around the seventh fret, going through all the fingerings of a major second, and then moving down towards the nut along that string; then, going down a string, back up to the seventh fret, stepping through the combinations at each position, moving down towards the nut, back to fret seven, down one string, then walking down to the nut again ...

    One thing I like about Fripp is that he endeavours to think carefully about things and is big on intention, and this is a good exercise for practicing that.

    I can tell it's helping my hand a lot. Maybe check it out, if you are curious.

  • One of the best exercise IMO is to cycle between two chords which require all fingers moving and shifting

    One of my faves is is to go from Gb7 (2,x,2,3,2x) to F7+/A ( 5,6,3,6,x,x) back to Gb7 then to F7/A (5,x,3,5,4,x) 2 to a bar. Work it up to 160 slowly making sure it's clean. Great for dexterity and stamina. When you can go for 4 minutes at 160+ you know your getting some stamina and strength.

    Lots of other chord oscillations that are similar.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 313

    I think that the left hand finger strength comes from using mainly the middle joints of the fingers, not the tip joints, to direct the last two segments of each finger down fairly perpendicularly onto the strings. (For leads, anyway.) Not so necessary with low-action electrics, but it sure makes playing easier with higher-action gypsy jazz setups.

    There's a great book, "Playing With Ease," by David Leisner, that goes into playing mechanics in (excruciating!) detail.

  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,243

    One thing I've had to learn since I have arthritis in my left hand is not to squeeze too hard it wears you out faster. It takes less force than you might think to fret a clean note or chord.

    constantineBill Da Costa Williamsnomadgtr
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