20 Guitar Exercises That Will Make You A Better Guitarist

Looking for guitar exercises? We’re going to show you 20 exercises that WILL make you a better guitarist.

guitar exercises

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 5 must-know guitar tricks that will boost your progress.
  • 3 quick & easy picking drills that will enhance your technique and dexterity.
  • 5 essential warm up tricks up that will make you sound amazing.
  • The no1 secret to playing guitar fast.

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Guitar Exercises #1 Warm Up Tips

Before you even touch a guitar it’s important that you warm up.

Here are 5 essential guitar stretches that will enhance your dexterity:

Guitar Exercises #2 The Finger Twister

Once you’re warmed up, it’s time to get those fingers moving around the fret board.

When you play this exercise you must:

Assign a finger per fret.

For every fret that you play, place a specific finger on it.

Like this:

  • 1st fret = 1st finger.
  • 2nd fret = 2nd finger.
  • 3rd fret = 3rd finger.
  • 4th fret = 4th finger.

guitar exercises

Here’s what it sounds like:

Try and play this exercise at a variety of tempos, from slow to fast.

Guitar Exercises #3 Alternate Picking and String Skipping

To play guitar fast you NEED to know how to alternate pick.

Watch this video to learn how to alternate pick:

To learn more about alternate picking, go here: Alternate Picking

For this guitar exercises, we’re going to use the G major scale. Scales are perfect for practicing your alternate picking.

To learn more scales, go here: Learn Guitar Scales In 8 Easy Steps

guitar exercises

Don’t know how to read tab? Go here: How To Read Guitar Tabs

This exercise is a finger twister. But if you can nail it, you’ll be firing around the fret board in no time.

guitar exercisesHere’s what it sounds like:

If you’re not too sure what the symbols above the tab are, here’s a guide:

guitar exercises

Be strict! Keep to down and up strokes.

Guitar Exercises #4 Alternate Picking Major Scales in 3rds

To take your alternate picking to the next level, practice your scales in ascending major 3rds.

Like this:

gutiar exercises

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again. Click here to download your copy.

 

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Guitar Exercises #5 Major Arpeggios

Practicing arpeggios is a great way of drilling your guitar skills. This major arpeggio is in the key of C.

guitar exercises

Practice this arpeggio sequence with alternate picking.

For more arpeggios, go here: Guitar Arpeggios: The Ultimate Guide

Guitar Exercises #6 Minor Arpeggios

For every major arpeggio, there’s a minor arpeggio.

In this guitar exercise, we’re going to practice the C minor arpeggio.

guitar exercises

Make sure that you alternate pick each note.

Watch out for the 8th fret on the G, B and E strings. You will have to use your first finger for each of those frets.

Guitar Exercises #7 Practice Hammer Ons

A essential technique that every guitarist must know is hammer ons and pull offs.

Watch this video to learn how to play this powerful guitar technique.

To practice this essential technique, we’ve created a guitar exercise to help you nail it!

guitar exercises

Notice that the first note on each string is picked. The rest of the notes are hammered on.

Guitar Exercises #8 Practice Hammer Ons and Pull Offs

In this next exercise you are going to practicing hammer on’s and pull offs together.

This exercise is trickier but if played correctly you will have TOTAL control over your guitar playing.

Make sure that you pull down on each note with authority, the same goes for when you hammer on.

Each note MUST sound punchy.

guitar exercises

Guitar Exercises #9 Two Note Bends

A must know technique for any guitarist, is string bending.

Watch this video to learn the essentials of string bending:

For this exercise, we’re going to use the A minor pentatonic scale.

Here it is:

guitar exercises

Learn more about the A minor pentatonic scale here: A Minor Pentatonic Scale: The Essential Guide

Find The Target Note

When you bend a guitar string it’s important to find the target note BEFORE you bend the note.

For example, if you wanted to bend up two notes on the 7th fret of the G string. (3rd string.) To make sure you were bending up to the correct note, you would play the 9th fret of the G string (3rd string.) first.

This helps you get the correct pitch of the note you’re aiming for before you attempt the bend.

Here’s a bending challenge will help you get this technique up to scratch in no time:

guitar exercisesFor each string, you are going to bend up two notes.

These are the notes you want to be targeting for each string:

  • For the high E string (1st string) your target note is on the 10th fret.
  • For the B string (2nd string), your target note is on the 10th fret.
  • For the G string, your target note is on the 9th fret.

Here’s how it should sound:

Guitar Exercises #10 One Note Bends

This exercise is very similar to exercise 9. However, this time we are going to be bending up 1 note!

This means that our target note is different. This type of bend is great for adding a bluesy feel to your playing.

Here’s an exercise which will help you nail those 1 note bends.

guitar exercises

In this case, your target notes are on the:

  • 8th fret of the high E string. (1st string.)
  • 8th fret of the B string. (2nd string.)
  • 8th fret of the G string. (3rd string.)

Make sure you play these notes first, before bending the note!

Guitar Exercises #11 Learn To Remember Chords

An essential part of guitar playing is guitar chords.

Chords make up 99% of all music!

To learn guitar chords, go here: How To Play Guitar Chords: A Beginner’s Guide

Sometimes getting chords down can be a huge challenge.

To help you with your chord practice we’ve come up with an awesome exercise to help you practice your guitar chords.

Here it is:

  1. Practice your chord correctly.
  2. Make sure that each note is nice and clear.
  3. Once your satisfied with how the chord sounds, squeeze your left hand.

Squeezing your hand engages your muscle memory, muscle memory is vital for us as guitar players as it helps us to remember chords.

However, it’s important that you play your chosen chord correctly. Muscle memory can’t tell if your chord is being played correctly or not.

If you squeeze your hand to remember the chord when it’s wrong, you’ll be training your hand to remember the incorrect chord.

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide.

 Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly. Click here to download the guide.

 

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Guitar Exercises #12 Don’t Look At Your Guitar Chords

Most guitarists struggle to remember chords. Here’s a exercise which will help you NEVER forget guitar chords.

  • Practice your chord until it’s spot on.
  • Once your satisfied, try playing your chord without looking.

Once you’ve played the chord, you’ll immediately be able to tell whether the chord is wrong or not. If it’s wrong, try again. If it’s right, great job. Keep practicing.

You can try this exercise with ANY chord!

For quick & easy guitar chords go here: Guitar Chords For Beginners: 14 Easy Chords

guitar exercises

Guitar Exercises #13 The 1 Minute Game

Practicing chord changes is one of the most difficult parts of learning the guitar.

However, there is an awesome way to practice this.

To do this chord exercise:

  • Pick a set of chords that you’re working on.

This could be a set of chords from a song, or some new chords that you’ve learnt. Don’t pick more than 4 or 5!

Then:

  • Set a timer on for 1 minute.
  • Try to change between your chords as many times as you can in one minute.

Keep track of how many times you change, it’s good to keep a note of how quickly you did it, that way you can monitor your progress.

Make sure that:

  • You don’t rush!
  • You play each chord correctly.

It’s far more important to play less chords correctly, than play more chords incorrectly in one minute!

guitar exercises

Guitar Exercises #14 Leave A Gap Between Your Chord Changes

Try this, let’s say we have a chord progression which goes:

G – C

Learn these chords here:

For each of these chords, we’re going to have four beats.

G          | C

1 2 3 4 |1 2 3 4

Within those four beats, you’re going to try and change between them.

Sometimes adding an element of time pressure can really spur you on to change your chords quickly.

You could monitor this time with a metronome.

If you don’t have a metronome, try this: Free Online Metronome

It should sound like this:

Guitar Exercises #15 Practice Down Strokes

One of THE best ways to add musicality to your guitar playing is to add strumming.

Learn how to strum here: How To Strum A Guitar

The first exercise you’re going to do consists of just down strokes.

For this example we’re just going to use a E major chord:

guitar exercises

To learn the E chord, go here: 4 Easy Ways To Play The E Chord On Guitar

Here’s the exercise:

strumming-pattern-downHere’s what it should sound like:

Remember, just use down strokes for this exercise. If you fancy an added challenge, apply these down strokes to other chords.

Guitar Exercises #16 Adding Up Strokes

Once you’re comfortable with down strokes, try adding some up strokes.

If you can nail these two strokes, you will be a strumming master in no time.

Some people think that an up stroke needs to be a direct mirror image of a down stroke.

This is not the case.

When you play an up stroke, you only need to play the top the 3 strings.

Try this exercise, for each strum you’re going to down, up, down, up down, up etc.

Here’s the tab:

strumming-patterns-upHere’s what it sounds like:

Guitar Exercises #17 Using Your Thumb and First Finger To Finger Pick

Finger picking technique is a great way of adding extra dynamics and texture to your guitar playing.

In this exercise, we’re going to be using our thumb and first finger!

Let’s check out the tab:

guitar exercises

  • For every ‘p’ on the tab, you’re going to use your thumb.
  • For every ‘i’, you’re going to use your first finger.

Here’s how it should sound:

Guitar Exercises #18 Using Your Thumb,  First Finger and Second Finger To Finger Pick

Most guitar players spend a lot time developing their fretting hand and often neglect their picking hand.

The picking hand controls what you play.

This finger picking exercise will get your finger picking strength up to strength in no time.

Here’s the tab:

guitar exercises

For every ‘m’ which is used, use your second finger.

Here’s what it should sound like:

For more finger style lessons, go here: Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons 5 Easy Ways To Sound Amazing

Guitar Exercises #19 Use Your Ears To Learn A Chord Progression

One of the MOST useful skills you can learn as a guitar player is to learn music by ear.

As guitarists, it’s important that we use our ears. It allows us to develop our musicality.

As a challenge, here’s a chord progression. Try and figure out what the chords are:

Here are a few quick tips and tricks you can use to help you:

  • Work out how many chords there are in a progression.
  • Work out whether the chords are major or minor.

Does the chord sound happy or sad? 99% of the time in music, the chords are going to either by major or minor, so if you can work that out, you’re halfway there!

  • Find the root note in the chord.

The root note is the first and lowest note in a chord, this can help you find out what key your chord is in.

To learn more about root notes, go here: What Is The Root Note of A Chord?

Did you work out the chord progression?

Here’s the answer, it was…

GUITAR EXERCISES

G, E minor, C and D

Guitar Exercises #20 Learn a Melody By Ear

This one is a little trickier, as we have to try and work out single notes rather than whole chords.

This is difficult, but the results are so worth while.

Here’s a melody which you may recognise:

Here are a few tips and tricks to bare in mind when working out this melody:

  • Try and find the key to the melody.
  • Try and find the first note of the melody.
  • Does the melody use any open strings?
  • How many strings could the melody use?

The best way to work something out by ear, is by trial and error. Listen to at is as many times as possible. Then, try and find the notes on your instrument.

Got it yet?

guitar exercises

Here’s the tab:

guitar exercises

Find Out What You Should Learn Next With Our Guitar Map

If you want to understand where you’re up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‘should’ know by now (and also what you need to learn next to move forward as a guitarist).

Most people find that the Guitar Map shows them how everything fits together and best of all, it will help you identify gaps in your knowledge that are holding you back.

(There is often just one piece of information that holds people back, 1 key insight that they need to know so they can continue moving forward and improving in their guitar journey.)

We made the Guitar Map so people like you can quickly identify what you don’t know, that you need to know next. We hope that makes sense!?

NOTE: The Guitar Map is now included in our free special report: 'The 7 Steps To Guitar Mastery'.

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