May 15, 2019 by Klaus Crow
Photo by finewallpaperss.com
The 1 2 3 4 exercise is a notorious warmup exercise that many skilled and famous guitar players have adopted in their regular workout.
It’s the perfect exercise to develop dexterity and increase your speed.
In the beginning it tends to be a little bit boring because of the monotonous movements, but after a while your fingers get accustomed to the stretch and finger placement and you’ll start feeling the rush of getting up to speed. You’ll notice your fingers become more flexible and capable and eventually you’ll get hooked on the exercise.
Also playing chords, fill ins, licks, arpeggios and everything else on the guitar becomes a lot easier, even effortless, depending on how much you practice.
This is the Almighty 1 2 3 4 Combinations Workout:
with putting your index finger on the low E-string 1st fret (and down stroke with the pick), then your middle finger on the 2nd fret (upstroke with the pick), your ring finger on the 3rd fret (downstroke) and pinky on the 4th fret (upstroke).
Then index finger on the A-string 1st fret (down stroke), middle finger 2nd fret (upstroke), ring finger 3rd fret (downstroke) and pinky 4th fret (upstroke). Continue like this all the way up to the high E-string.
Then move your finger position (1,2,3,4) up a half step (2,3,4,5) and play the same pattern from the high E-string back to the Low E-string. So this time index finger on the high E-string 2nd fret (down stroke), middle finger 3rd fret (upstroke), ring finger 4th fret (downstroke), pinky 5th fret (upstroke). And continue all the way down to the Low E-string.
When finished, again move finger position up a half step (3,4,5,6) and take off. Continue this process until your finger position has reached the 12th fret (12,13,14,15) and then go all the way back again (11,12,13,14) (10,11,12,13) (9,10,11,12) (8,9,10,11)… until you reached (1,2,3,4). See example below.
– For great results practice the exercises for a total of 30 minutes a day.
– If you can’t spend 30 minutes, 5 to 15 minutes a day will also pay off.
– Left hand: Press the fingers as close to the fret as possible (but not on the top of the fret).
– Left hand: Keep your fingertips as close to the strings as possible while playing the exercise.
– Left hand: Start slow and make sure each note sounds perfectly clear before you increase your speed.
– Right hand: Use alternate picking. (down stroke, up stroke, down stroke, up stroke, etc.)
– Right hand: Experiment with how you hold your pick, change the angle of your pick to increase speed.
– Practice as many of the different combinations below to achieve ultimate dexterity.
Stick with it and you’ll find it rewarding!
4 NOTES PER STRING COMBINATIONS
Go all the way up to the 12th fret and then back down again.
Try all these 4 notes per strings combinations over a period of time,
and you will definitely feel the excitement of dexterity and speed improvement:
1234, 1243, 1324, 1342, 1423, 1432
2134, 2143, 2314, 2341, 2413, 2431
3124, 3142, 3214, 3241, 3412, 3421
4123, 4132, 4213, 4231, 4312, 4321
3 NOTES PER STRING COMBINATIONS
Go all the way up to the 12th fret and back down again.
Here are some 3 notes per string combinations:
134, 143, 314, 341, 413, 431
124, 142, 214, 241, 412, 421
123, 132, 213, 231, 312, 321
For the combinations below use middle finger for the 2nd fret, ring finger for 3rd fr. and pinky for 4th fr.:
234, 243, 324, 342, 423, 432
2 NOTES PER STRING COMBINATIONS
Go all the way up to the 12th fret and back down again.
Here are some more 2 notes per string combinations:
(i=index, m=middle finger, r=ring finger, p=pinky)
14, 41, 13, 31, 12, 21 ip, pi, ir, ri, im, mi24, 42, 23, 32, 34, 43 mp, pm, mr, rm, rp, prIf you like to share this post on Stumbleupon just click the lovely button below. I appreciate it.
Alejandro Motta says
Video for not english 100% speakers maybe a good idea
Klaus Crow says
Hi Alejandro, I do have videos on many other posts. I still have to make a video for this one.
Thanks for your feedback.
just added 30min of this with my metheny & scale warmup-exercises. was just working out a new warmup set for myself and along your email came today!! cool. appreciate your site and efforts!
Thanks dude, you did not lie when you said improvements could definitely be felt. I’m on the second line of 4-note exercises so far and I can not just feel but also clearly hear the difference. Thankful for your sharing, cheers,
Boring but great – agreed! :-)
I do a variation of this for legato as well
1 h 2 h 3 h 4 etc.
4 p 3 p 2 p 1
So, only pick one note per string.
Nice! This is a concise recap of “Quadraphonic Fingering” by Mitch Holder. Great book that came out in the early ’70s; now near impossible to find.
very helpful. thank you for this! I’m actually feeling some muscle stretching of my fingers and wrist while doing this exercise. interesting.
Hi, I found these exercises very helpfull.
Just would like to ask, how to organize them to study.
I have about only one hour per day and I also would like to practice other subjects, how much time of these exercise you recomend?
Regards from Brazil.
Thanks for the great resources Klaus, I browse your achieve and learn something new from you almost everyday. :)
Good lesson,great exercises…I’m already workng on some of this exercises.But please can you post me more of melodic pattern exercises and sequences? I’ll so much appreciate it.Thanks.
When i’m doing this excersises and going down from the 6th to the 5th string I leave resonance from the 6t string, so when I get to the 1st string all the resonance make the guitar sound dirty, how can I correct this?
HI the tab for the 2 notes per string exercise is the same as 3 notes per string. Can you please update it?
how much should I practice? I practice like 6 7 hours minimum a day .. and there is a lot of improvement , not in one day but eventually .. is there some limit? i wanna play fast, really fast.. like metal songs .. does this help in that? i can play the 1,2,3,4 ; 1,2,4,3 ; 1,3,2,4 and 1,3,4,2 exercises for around 6 notes per second and i can play smoothly up to 12th fret and back 3 times . from 4th time it eventually becomes a little hard. I feel like i shouldn’t be stuck practicing just one exercise.Is it enough exercise for me or am i not practicing enough? Please help.
Effective guide on finger exercises for the guitar. It is highly essential to warm up the hands before each session of practice with the guitar. Not only will it help to promote finger strength, but it could also reduce the pain when playing extensively, whilst conveniently acting as a warm up. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through your guide. If you have the time, please don’t hesitate to check out some of our posts and tutorials around the guitar.
Thank you for reading
Клаус, ты просто ГЕНИЙ! 👍