One Reason Why You Struggle With Fretting

One of the struggles that you face during initial days of playing is with the dexterity and flexibility in your fingers. Have a relaxed fretting hand with good capability to stretch will always prove beneficial for long term success and fluidity when playing guitar.

One of the mistakes that beginner to intermediate players make is to try and find gadgets and exercises to improve the way your fingers move. An even bigger mistake is to use strength building devices to make your fingers stronger.

If strength was the answer for fluid guitar playing, you wouldn't have found 10 year old kids shredding on guitar.

What you need more than strength and stretch is FINGER INDEPENDENCE!

If you struggle with this problem of not being able to move properly on the fretboard, I want you to stop solving this problem with exercises, and observe how your fingers are moving.

Do you find that moving one finger, causes other fingers to tense up?

Do you find the ring finger being tense, when you move your middle finger?

These are signs that finger independence is one of the things you need to work on.

There are many exercises to work on improving your finger independence, and many of these can be done away from the guitar. I don't want to recommend any exercises here, but I highly recommend you find the right ones for you to solve your fretting hand issues.

One of my personal favorite exercises, that helped me a lot during my playing days was to try and move the middle and ring finger independent of each other. Follow the steps below to perform this:

  1. Place all four fingers on the 3rd String of any 4 adjacent frets. e.g. Index finger on 5th fret, middle finger on 6th fret, ring finger on 7th fret and pinky finger on 8th Fret.

  2. Now while holding down all 4 frets, Try to move each finger up and down alternating between 6th String and 1st String on the same fret. You don't need to play anything, just move the finger. The Key here is to only move 1 finger, and keep the remaining 3 holding down their respective frets.

  3. Try this with all Fingers, alternating between them

  4. Now try moving the fingers in pairs, but in opposite direction:

  5. You are still holding down the same 4 Frets

  6. Let's choose a finger pair, Index and Middle Finger

  7. While the ring and pinky finger continue to stay on the frets, you need to move Index Finger and Middle finger in opposite directions. YOU NEED TO MOVE THEM BOTH SIMULTANEOUSLY and not one after another.

  8. Alternate this exercise between other finger pairs such as, Index with Ring, Middle with Ring, Ring with Pinky, Middle with Pinky and Index with Pinky.

  9. Do not stay on 1 finger pair for a long duration, try alternating after a few proper repetition

The beauty about these exercises is that you don't need the guitar for this. You can do it anywhere, on a table top, on the back of your forearm and so on. Just ensure that you follow the basic principles of these exercises.

There are many more musical ways to train your fingers to move independently, which I'll teach you during your guitar lessons, that will help you to consistently solve your fretting hand issues.

Book A Trial Lesson to find out more about how you can avoid these problems and develop your fretting hand much faster on guitar.