What to Practice on Guitar?

What to Practice on Guitar

There are several things a beginner guitarist should practice. When your starting out maybe you don’t know what to practice on guitar. Or where to start. Maybe your thinking:

What to practice on guitar? Here are a few ideas what to practice on guitar: Lots of fundamental techniques to learn the proper way to pick the strings, fretting hand Technique. Practice how to make chords. Then practice how to play chords. Practice exercises to gain strength in your hand. Practice Hammer on’s, pull offs, Scales, Alternate picking.

These are just a few basic things to start practicing. If you want to learn how to practice these techniques. Then this is the place for you. So get your guitar out, and lets learn what to practice on guitar.

When you first start out learning to play the guitar your hands are not strong. So that would be one of the first things I would work on. That is to strengthen your fingers.

What to Practice First on Guitars

When you practice stretching, and strengthening your fingers. You may be excited, and ready to conquer the guitar all in one setting. But it doesn’t work like that. Beginner guitar players need to think as if they were an athlete. If you plan to run in the NY. Marathon. You don’t just start off running 20 Miles. The minute you decided your going to train. No! That would be silly. You have to work your way into the big run.

Just like the Marrathon, when you start playing the guitar you have to start off slow. Then work your way up to becoming a Rock Star.

So take practice a little at a time so you don’t injure yourself. If while your practicing you feel pain. Then stop immediately.

Also don’t practice for a long amount of time. You can get repetitive  injuries. Now all that’s been said, grab your guitar and lets practice. Lets start off with this finger stretching exercise.

First off we want to start down the neck. Where the frets are smaller. This will make it easier on your fingers. Then you can work your way towards the headstock, or the first fret. Where the stretch will be wider, as the frets are bigger.

You can start anywhere, but for this exemple Lets start on the seventh fret. 


What to Practice on Guitar for Beginners?

What you want to to do is place your first finger on the 7th fret of the sixth string. Play that note. Then place your second finger on the 8th fret of the sixth string. Next is your third finger. Place it on the 9th fret of the sixth string. Then we have the pinkie, put it on the 10th fret, of the sixth string.

There are a couple of techniques you want to make sure of. So that you will be playing properly, and getting a good complete ring of the string. When it’s played. First make sure fingers are directly behind the fret. As close to the fret as possible without touching the fret. If your finger is on the fret, the string will not ring out properly.

The next thing to remember is to play on the tips of your fingers. The very end of the finger. When you play on the tips you want to curl the end knuckle. This will ensure you are playing on the tips of your fingers.

Now what you want to do is pick each note. Keep all your fingers on the 6th string after you pick the note. So start with the first finger pick it. Just use down picks to do this. Then leave the first finger on the 6th string. Place your second finger on the 8th fret, still on the 6th string, pick it. Next is your third finger, and then your pinkie.

Remember to keep all your fingers close to the back of the fret.

Next move to the 5th string. Note: The 6th string is the thickest string. Then it goes down from there. Now that we got that straight, place your first finger on the 7th fret of the 5th string pick it.

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Keeping Your Fingers in Position

After picking it leave that finger on the string. Then place your finger on the 5th string at the 8th fret. Go ahead pick that note. Now your first finger and second finger should be on the fifth string.

Keeping those fingers on the string, place your third finger at the 9th fret. We are still on the 5th string. Pick that string. Keeping all three fingers close behind there frets. Place that pinkie at the 10th fret and play that note.

Next move to the fourth string. Again play one finger at a time. After that note is picked. Keep that finger on the string behind the fret. Then move to the next finger, fret and keep that finger and the previous fingers on the string.

After playing the fourth string. You want to continue down to the first string. Playing string 3, and 2, using the same technique. Don’t forget you want to play on the tips of your fingers.

Once you get to the first string. You want to work your way back up the strings. So starting with your first finger on the first string. Place it on the 7th fret and proceed to pick that note. Then we are going to play fingers two, three and four like we have been doing.

After you pick the notes on the first string. Then work your way up. So the next string is going to be string 2. Work all the way back to the 6th string.

Finger Techniques

Once you have worked your way to the 6th string. Now move up a fret. Proceed back down the neck. Then back up again. Remember to use the same finger techniques.

  1. Play on the Tips of your fingers
  2. Curl the end knuckle
  3. Play close behind the fret
  4. Keep your fingers in position
  5. GO SLOW!

The closer you get to the first fret the more of a stretch on your fingers.

You are not trying to have a speed test. You want to go slow and play each note so that it sounds good when you play it. You also want to make sure your fingers stay down. They need to be close to the fret. The closer to the fret they are from the previous finger. The bigger the stretch will be.

Use this practice each day for a couple of weeks. This will help you to play the notes in consecutive sequence. Your fingers will slowly become a little more nimble getting you used to the strings.

That is a beginner exercise. Lets take a look at another exercise.

What to Practice on Guitar Everyday?

This exercise is one that you can practice everyday to enhance your playing.

This will strengthening your fingers. But start doing this about 5 minuites a day. Remember your the athlete go slow, and stop if there is any pain. You are trying to keep a steady beat in this exercise. Also you are n ot going to gain anything by running through this exercise. What you want to do is go slow and steady.

One thing to remember when your doing this exercise. Is to keep your fingers parallel to the strings. You will also benifit by keeping your thumb low on the guitar neck.

What we want to do is start on the 6th string with your What to Practice on Guitar first finger on the first fret. Pick that note, then do a hammer on to the second fret with your second finger.

Maybe you need to know what a hammer on is so that you can do this exercise. Here is a link that explains a hammer on a little better.

5th String Exercise

So after you pick the 6th string, and hammer on the second fret. Then you move to the 5th string. Your looking for a nice sturdy Hammer on. So that the note rings out. Then go to the fourth string. Do the same Hammer on that second fret after picking the D# at the first fret.

Next perform the same actions on the 3rd string, 2nd string and then the 1st string.

After getting to the first string. Go back up to the 6th string. So starting on the second string. Pick the first fret. Then hammer on the second string. Keep going up. Third string hammer on the G# at the first fret. Then Hammer on the A note on the second string.

Keep moving up to the 6th string. Remember keep your thumb low – to the middle of the back of the neck. Keeping your fingers perpendicular to the strings.

Also remember this is not a speed test. So perform this exercise relatively slow.

  • First set of exercise use fingers one and two.
  • Second batch of exercises. Use fingers one and three.
  • Next use your second finger and pinkie.
  • Then Fingers two and four.
  • Last set is fingers one and four.

See each finger technique below.


Guitar Exercise for Second Finger and Third Finger Strengthening

Starting on the 6th string. Use your second finger at the second fret. Pick that note. Then hammer on to the third fret with your third finger. What you want to try to do is be concise with the hammer on. You want to have the same tone when you hammer on to the string as when you pick the string.

Remember you don’t want to go fast with this exercise. Take it slow, it’s not a speed test. Also keep your fingers parallel to the strings.

Now go to the 5th string. Place your second finger on the 5th string. At the second fret. Pick that note. Play close to the fret, on the tip of your finger. Then with your third finger hammer on to the third fret 5th string. Make sure you get the same tone. That you are getting when you pick the note at the second fret.

Work your way down to the first string slowly. Finger on the fourth string second fret, Hammering your finger on to the third fret. Walking slowly to the 3rd string. Pick the note at the second fret of the third string. Hammer on the note at the third fret of the third string.

Following the same pattern pick hammer on the second string and finally the first string. Now work your way back from the first string. Up to the 6th string using the same pick hammer on technique. Go slow, this is one of the most important aspects of the exercise.

Third Finger and Pinkie Workout

What to Practice on Guitar

Next we are going to start on the 6th string. Using your third finger. Place it on the third fret of the 6th string. Then with your pinkie you are going to hammer on the fourth fret. Still on the 6th string.

You may find that it is a little difficult to hammer on with your pinkie. Take it slow! You want to get a nice loud note with your pinkie finger. Make sure your first and second finger are in line with the string that you are on.

Moving along to string number 5. Pick the note on the third fret. Then hammer on with your pinkie. Do the same technique with strings 4, 3, 2, and finally the 1st string. Then work your way back up the strings. To the thickest string.

After that finger strengthening exercise. Start on the 6th string, and use fingers one and three.

What you want to do is place finger one on the first fret of the sixth string. Then with your third finger you want to hammer on the third fret of the sixth string.

Remember go slow and try to get a nice firm sounding note when you hammer on the string. You want the two notes to sound the same. Meaning the loudness of the tone should be equal.

Use fingers one and three on string five. Then move up to string four making sure you are getting an even tone out of both of the notes. Try to hammer on to the center of that string with your third finger. You will notice that when you hit high or low on that string. The note will not ring out the same. So just try it again until you get a healthy firm note.

Workout and Up to the First String

Now you should be on the fourth string. Hammer on to the third fret. Slowly moving up to the first string. Playing the third string, and second strings in the same way. Finally making your way up to the first string.

Through this entire exercise you are trying to get a full sounding note. One when you pick the note. Then also when you perform the Hammer on which is more difficult.

How to Strengthen Your Second Finger and Pinkie

Starting on the 6th string. Place your second finger on the second fret. Then hammer on the 6th string with your pinkie. Like the other finger exercises. You want to try to make the two notes have the same round full sound. When you pick and when you hammer on to the string.

Work your way to the first string, and back up again. Really concentrating on going slow. It is so easy once you do these techniques, and get the hang of them. To rush and fly through them. This will not improve your finger strength or technique. GO SLOW!

After you work your way to the 6th string. Now work on fingers one and four.


Finger Technique for Fingers One and Four

Starting off on the thickest string. String number 6. Place finger one on the first fret. Pick that note at the first fret. Then with your pinkie finger hammer on the fourth fret, on the 6th string.

You may find that your pinkie is weak compared to your other fingers. This is normal. Keep working it out to get that pinkie moving.

Like the previous exercises work up each string. First finger pick the note then hammer on with that pinkie. Once you get to the thinnest string. Come back down to the 6th string. Staying close to the back of the fret. Also playing the notes on the tips of your fingers.


Pull off Technique Exercise

To start off, start on the 6th string with fingers one and two. Finger one is on the first fret of the 6th string. Finger two is placed at the second fret of that same string. Pick that note at the second fret. Just like in the previous exercises. But this time you pull off the second finger after picking it.

This time instead of Hammering on you are going to want to pull off the string. Using your second finger. If you need a more in depth look at pull offs take a look at What is a Guitar Tab.

Then go to the 5th string. With your first finger in place at the first fret of the 5th string. Place your second finger on the second fret of the 5th string. Then pick that note on the second fret.

Then pull off the note on the second fret. Using your second finger. When you pull off the string, you will see that it is the complete opposite of the hammer on.

What you want to do is pick the note at the second fret. Then pull off to the first note that is on the first fret. This too is the opposite.

Performing a Pull Off Technique

When you pull off the string. Take that second finger and pull the string as your finger comes off the string. Causing the string to ring out. The pull off is a little difficult if you are not used to doing a pull off. It takes some getting used to. Here is a video that shows you a pull off technique. Once you practice the pull off then come back to this exercise. It will be well worth your effort.

Next work your way to the fourth string. Placing your index finger on the first fret at the fourth string. Second finger is at the fourth string, second fret. With your finger at the second fret, pick the fourth string.

Then with your second finger pull off the fourth string. Leaving your first finger on the first string. This creates a ringing of the note that was pulled off. Then also another tone of the note on the first string.

Do this pull off technique working your way up to the first fret. Go slow practice pulling off at string 3, 2 and 1. Then work back wards to the 6th string. Start with the first string. Finger one is on the first fret. Then finger two is on the second fret at the first string. Pull off at that second fret. Using your second finger. Remember your first finger is holding that note at the first fret.

Working your way down slowly to the 6th string. You want to have a nice even tone and pace with this technique.

Practice a Pull Off Using Other fingers

Now that you are used to the pull off idea. Let’s make it a little harder. Use your second and third finger. Using your second finger at the 6th string. Leave it at the second fret. While your third finger is on the third fret. Still at the 6th string. When your third finger is in position pick the 6th string. Pull off with the third finger, to the second note at the second fret.

When you practice this pull off you should be able to hear a difference in the two notes.

Then work your way to strings 4, 3, 2, and one. Making sure you are moving at an even pace across all the strings. Then go back up to the 6th string. Once your back up to the 6th string switch fingers.

Use fingers 3 and 4. On frets three and four. Pick the note at the fourth fret. Then with your pinkie pull off to the note on the third fret. Work up to the first string. You want the two notes to ring out the same. In other words the loudness of the notes are equal. Once you are at the first string move slowly back to the 6th string.

Practice the Pull off on Fingers Three and at One

Put your first finger at the first fret of the 6th string. Then your third finger is at the third fret of the 6th string. Keeping the notes covered. Pick the note at the third fret of the 6th string. Then use your third finger to pull off the string. Leaving your first finger on the first fret.

Then work your way to the 5th string. Moving slow, but steady. At an even tempo pull off the note at the third fret. With the use of your third finger. Your first finger is holding the 5th string at the first fret.

Staying steady and even perform this pull off technique on all the strings. When you get to the first string work your way back to the 6th string.

Use this same technique, but now use fingers 4 and 2. Starting at the 6th string. Cover the note on the 2nd fret, and the note at the fourth fret. With your pinkie pull off the string at the fourth fret. Move to the 5th fret and do the same pull off at the fourth fret.

Keeping your fingers all in line with the strings move up to the first string. Again when you get to the first string. Then work your way back to the 6th string. Using your pinkie and second finger.

Both of the hammer on and pull off techniques are a great way to strengthen your fingers, and at the same time really sharpen your hammer on and pull off. This exercise can be done now and for years to come. To keep your fingers nimble.

Next lets look at using the Pentatonic scale to practice alternate picking.


What to Practice on Guitar to Get Better?

With this practice you will learn the Pentatonic scale and alternate picking. When you practice like this a few minutes every day you will fine tune your picking skills.

Let’s take a look at the first pattern of the Pentatonic Scale. This is the one we will start with. Even though there are 5. Start with this one. Then later if you have this one under your fingers. Then maybe you will want to go on to pattern 2 or 3. Here is the Beginners Guitar 5 Pentatonic Scale Ultimate Guide.

For right now here is the first pattern of the Pentatonic Scale:

What to Practice on Guitar
Pattern 1

To use pattern one of the scale. You can see it starts on the 5th fret. The Scale pattern ends on the eighth fret of each string. The 6th string is the bottom horizontal line. Then 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. One is the very top line. So to practice this scale here is what fingers to use.

What Fingers to Use When Playing Pattern 1 of the Pentatonic Scale?

  • Starting with the thickest string. 5th fret first finger. Then Play the 8th fret with your Pinkie.
  • 5th string first finger at the 5th fret. Third finger plays the note at the 7th fret.
  • 4th string is played with your first finger on the fifth fret. Then play the note on the 4th string at the 7th fret with your third finger.
  • 3rd string is played with your first finger on the fifth fret. Then play the note on the 3rd string at the 7th fret with your third finger.
  • 2nd string play the note with your first finger on the string. Also at the 5th fret. Your Pinkie is playing the note at the 8th fret of the second string.
  • Finally your at the 1st string. Using your first finger play the note on the 5th fret of the first string. Then use your pinkie on the 8th fret of the first string. To play that note.

When you get to the bottom of the scale work your way back up the scale. Basically in reverse. Starting with your pinkie on the first string. Pick that note at the 8th fret. Then pick the note at the 5th fret of the first string. Using your first finger. Then go to strings 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

You want to play the scale slowly. Making sure you are using proper fretting hand technique. Click this link to learn more about fretting hand technique and 10 things every beginner guitar player needs to know.


How to Practice Alternate Picking

What you want to do is take that pattern of the Pentatonic scale and practice alternating picking. How? You say. First let me describe what alternate picking is.

If you were to take the pick and pick in a downward motion. This would be picking the string. Alternate picking is picking down, and then picking up. It seems easy enough, but it does take practice to hit the strings just right so that the note really sounds good. The more you practice alternate picking. The faster and easier picking the strings will become.

Take that same Pentatonic scale pattern; Pattern one. Place your first finger on the 6th string at the fifth fret. With your pick, pick in a downward motion. Then place your Pinkie finger on the eighth fret of the 6th string. Now you are going to pick upward on the 6th string.

Let me give a couple of tips about picking the strings. First you can either hover over the strings. Or use a pinkie as a “kick stand” to keep your picking hand in the proper location to pick the strings.

When you pick the strings there is a right and wrong way to hold the pick. The best way, and proper way is to hold your pick between your thumb and first finger. With the pick facing the strings. Like this:

What to Practice on Guitar
Holding a Guitar Pick

Alternate Picking Using the Pentatonic Scale

Now move to the 5th string. Since you just used the pick in an upward manner it would be easy to pick down on the 5th string. Pick down once you have your first finger in position. At the 5th fret, on the fifth string. Then place your third finger on the 5th string at the 7th fret. This time you want to pick up. See how you are alternating the picking up and down.

This exercise will help you with picking and eventually your picking speed will get faster and smoother. Although right now you are not wanting to go fast. You want accuracy.

On the 4th string you want to place your first finger at the fifth fret and pick the string in a downward motion. Then up when your picking the note on the 7th fret of the 4th string.

You don’t always have to start picking down. Maybe you want to start by picking upward first. But then the next picking motion should be down. Using the Pentatonic Pattern above and alternate picking. Pick the notes on the next 3 strings. When you get to the first string start with the 8th fret. Then go up to the 6th string.

Alternate Picking

Start by using an upward motion first. Then once you place your finger on the first string at the 5th fret. Pick down, then move up to the second string. Place your finger on the second string at the 8th fret and pick that string in an upward motion. Then place your finger at the fifth fret of the 2nd string. Pick that. Practice alternate picking up and down the strings. Remember it’s not for speed its for accuracy.

The more you practice alternate picking you will gain muscle memory and your fingers will get really good at finding the right frets, and landing in the middle of the string. So that the notes that you pick will sound full and round. Let’s look at different scales to practice.


What Scales to Practice on Guitar?

There are several scales, but I think starting out you should learn the Pentatonic Scale. Then the Blues scale. The blues scale is primarily the Pentatonic Scale with one added note. The Added tone is the Blues note. Once you learn the Pentatonic scale the blues scale is a peace of cake.

Also if you want to learn how to solo. Most of what you will be playing is out of the Pentatonic and blues scales. Another Scale that if you want to play guitar is the Major Scale. This is a scale that once you know it will unlock the entire fretboard for you. If you want to know the secrets to the Major Scale click this link How do you know if a chord is Major or minor.


Related Questions

Guitar Practice Exercise

There are lots of different things to practice when you are first starting out playing the guitar. Then depending on what it is you want to accomplish you will find that practice never ends. But the more you practice the better a player you will become. In the beginning practice maybe frustrating, and at times maybe overwhelming.

There is a lot to learn. But like everything new after you learn the fundamentals it becomes second nature. Then you don’t really have to think about it. You just automatically hold the chords right with the proper technique. Or hold the pick right. All things that you have to learn. So stick with it and you will be playing like a pro in know time.

Your fingers when starting out are weak, and not used to working hard. Like you have to do while playing the guitar. Here is a great Guitar Technique and finger strengthening exercise to get you started.

Another guitar practice you need to get good at is rhythm. 90% of everything you will be doing on the guitar is playing Rhythm. So you will defiantly want to learn chords and how to switch between the chords. Then you will need to practice strumming. Here is a link how to get better at strumming.


Guitar Practice Routine PDF

Here is a guitar practice routine that will get you started in the right direction. With about an hour a day of deliberate practice you will reach your goal faster. First you need to have a goal. Write it down, and take the proper measures to accomplish your goals. Click this link for the Guitar Practice PDF.


Guitar Practice Scales

The Pentatonic Scale is a great scale to learn. There are 5 scale patterns. If you want to unlock the fingerboard and learn all the secrets to the scales. Click this link get the Free PDF and learn to solo with the five forms.

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