About Finger Workout™

About the site

I've been planning this site for many years. I'm a web programmer by day so I built the whole thing myself... it was just a question of finding the time to make it happen. As the site developed, it started growing out of control as more and more ideas came to me that would make it better and more elaborate. So long story short, this site took a very long time to complete. Just getting all the exercises from my head into a database was a chore in itself that took months, and that was before I had one single web page to show for my efforts.

But finally here we are. It's something I've always wanted to do so I'm happy it's done, Regardless of how successful it turns out to be... at least I finally turned my idea into a reality. That in itself is gratifying. And I know for certain that I will help at least some people become great guitar players, because I know firsthand how much these types of exercises really speed your development. This is how I reached levels that I thought were impossible when I picked up the instrument for the first time.

If you look in the FAQ section, you'll see a list of reasons as to why I chose the web site route instead of trying to get this published as a book. The reasons are valid, but there is another reason which is not listed there... As mentioned above I'm a web programmer so I could build this site without any outside help. But I don't have the first damn clue where to even start getting a book published :)

About Me

I started playing guitar when I was 15. I am in my late 30's now. I've played in more bands than I can remember from rock to funk to reggae to jazz... I have performed, recorded and written music with a lot of other musicians in and around the New York City area since my 20's.

The main influences in my early days were blues, rock and later jazz. But eventually I wanted to express myself on the instrument, without limitations of any one category or style.

It was then, when I began to realize the need for serious fretboard mobility... to make my fingers do what my mind was telling them to do, instead of mindlessly playing the same old tired patterns. Consequently, I stepped up my exercise routines to increase my abilities, and the rest as they say is history.

By the time I was into my 20's, I became known as a stand-out player. If that seems arrogant, I apologize. It's most certainly not a claim that there's no one out there much better than me - That would be very foolish and not even slightly true. But I am who I am, and I know what I can do. I also know that the biggest catalyst in my development by far was following an exercise regimen, exactly like the one I'm offering here at Finger Workout™.

By the way, I really enjoy chatting with other players. If you use this site I would absolutely love your feedback - good or bad - about the site itself, and whether or not you feel the exercises are helping you to become a better player. Drop me a note anytime.

I'm Not Just the President...

This site would not be complete of course, unless I offered you some samples of my playing.It's easy to say that these exercise really work, but that's just talk. Below I have posted some samples so you can hear how I play.

One disclaimer: I was never a metal player and never wanted to be. So these are not over-the-top samples of speed guitar. (I point this out because many young players seem to fixate on faster = better) I was always more fascinated by melodic phrasinging for the most part. I'm playing my solid Mahogany Carvin CT6M (fixed bridge) through a Mesa Boogie F50, using a Dunlop heavy nylon pick (my usual). That's it.

Here's a few pics if you're interested.

My Carvin My Boogie My Pick
My Carvin My Boogie My Pick

With that said, what I have done is tried to pick at least a few samples that will directly demonstrate the benefits of these workouts.

Sample 1
If there was one solo I could play that would actually illustrate the usage of all mechanics - this has to be it. I played in a band that covered 'Yellow Moon' by the Neville Brothers. I liked the saxophone solo so much that I went to the trouble of learning it, note-for-note on guitar. I spiced up the ending a little bit, but otherwise this is an exact rendition of a horn solo that invokes every single mechanic in the Finger Workout™ exercise program. Give it a listen.

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Sample 2
This is another solo that did not originate from the guitar. It's a harmonica solo by John Popper of Blues Traveler from the song 'Back in the Day'. I chose it to demonstrate the necessity of good longitudinal skills. Popper can span 3-4 octaves just by moving his harmonica a few inches, but playing this ditty on guitar is a different story. There's one particular "Popper-style" outburst of over 30 notes which spans 17 frets. In other words, you better be able to move yourself up the neck... fast. (Again I improv'd a bit on the last few measures. I also had to drop it an octave because the high notes were beyond the range of my 6 string.)

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Sample 3
This is just an E/A improvisation jam. Nothing to note in particular for any one mechanic. You might notice I did not bother trying to patch up any glitches, or polish this to perfection... I could have, but why? I think it's more important to demostrate actual improvisational skills. This is how I play out live. Take chances & play what you feel. Master the fretboard through exercise, and do whatever you want to do. That's the philosophy I go by. And that is why I'll post a sample jam which is not perfect - because I have no desire to be perfect. I'd rather be free to move about the neck to play whatever ideas come to me in the moment.
Practice with the correct approach... and that's what you will get too!

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