Finger Workout User Guide

Finger Workout™ User Guide

Proper Form

Proper Fret Hand Positioning

Many guitar players tend to "cradle" the neck when they play. I do it a lot myself. Sometimes it's preferable, but technically, it is not the "proper" way to handle the guitar (most of the time). If you are a beginner and you have trouble playing chords cleanly, then examine your grip on the neck. if your palm is making the main contact on the back of the neck - that makes it more difficult to keep your fingers curled enough to precisely fret notes with your fingertips.

When practicing these exercises, it's important that we position our fret hand properly in a way that gives our fingers the maximum mobility and precision. So for the best results, we'll use so-called proper thumb position when we practice. Exception: You can cradle the neck when doing bends for better leverage if necessary. That's fairly common.
But you should be equally skilled using either grip wherever appropriate (that's an important tip for future development).

The proper way to handle a guitar neck is to place your thumb against the back of the neck, approximately equal to the position of your second (middle) finger.

If you already know this... great. If you are trying this for the first time, it might feel strange. Keep the neck at a height where your wrist feels comfortable and natural. If it's bent too much, you'll be straining too much the other way. It's worth spending some time playing around with different neck heights to find out what feels good for you.

TIP: If you're having a hard time getting the hang of this, try the following... Sit comfortably in a chair with your back straight, and place the guitar in your lap. Now angle the neck upward so the headstock points almost toward the ceiling. Now steadying the guitar with your picking hand, bring your fret hand up to the neck and finger a few chords, keeping your thumb behind the neck and using your fingertips only on the fret board. Experiment with different neck and wrist angles. By trying this, you should be able to discover what feels best.

No Barring!

On a number of the exercises, you'll hear me nagging you not to "barre" the first finger... that is, press the first finger across the lowest fret of the pattern, and let the other three fingers do all the work. Although this approach is common, and sometimes even favorable certain situations... we do not want to do this during our workouts.

Again, we're here to develop our dexterity and for that reason, the first finger should always act independently just as the other fingers (unless otherwise indicated). There is a good reason behind the "don't barre" instruction. Pay heed to it. It will pay off in the long run and enable you to develop better finger independence faster.


Force yourself to follow these guidelines when you practice. It's not just to get the most out of your workouts, they are good habits to train into your development as a guitar player.

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