Practice is really important to improving as a guitar player. If you’re having trouble playing at faster tempos, or holding a barre chord, then it’s definitely a no-brainer to practice. Take time to really analyze what you’re doing and how to fix it. Here are three super easy, super simple practice exercises you can do every day to improve all facets of your playing.
1. Practice Chord Shapes
As a beginner, it’s very important to practice your chord shapes. It can feel awkward at first to try and play a C chord if you’re not familiar with guitar, but with practice, everything gets a little easier. If you’re a little more advanced, it’s even more important to practice barre chords. Take a barre chord you’re having trouble with, and break it down and remove the barre just so you can play it without stressing out your fingers. Once you get it, add the barre and see if you can strum it clearly. Move the chords around and play with a backing track from the Jam Station and with a metronome to keep time. The basics of rhythm is also the basis of all music. Practicing chords is how you practice rhythm, and it is at the heart of guitar playing. For more tips on practicing chords, check out instructor Christopher Schlegel’s tutorial on practicing movable dominant 7th chords here.
2. Trill Drills
Trills are when you hammer on and then pull off a note in quick succession. The sound that happens when you do this is called trilling. This is a great exercise to work on your hammer ons and pull offs, and gives you a pretty good strength workout for your fingers as well. What you want to focus on is your fretting hand position so that you can consistently trill with enough power to hit the strings. But remember to stay relaxed and focus making sure that string is constantly moving because that is what keeps the sound alive. Learn all about trill drills with Christopher Schlegel here.
3. Spider fingers
This is a great exercise and it essentially involves all four of your fretting fingers. The basic rule here is to keep one finger per fret. This means keeping your first finger on the first fret, your second finger on the second fret, your third finger on the third fret and so on. Once you have each finger aligned to their fret, simply play the notes up and down the fretboard. This exercise is all about getting warmed up, and practicing your basic fundamentals of guitar playing. If you do this a lot, this will improve your playing accuracy. Try playing in different tempos, and playing different combinations notes to improve your technique.