Getting the fingers in shape using finger exercises should always be a top priority when learning and playing guitar.
I have a ton of exercises that I use with students to help them get their fingers in shape.
However, I think that some of the most fun ways of doing that are learning parts of songs.
For me, it keeps the interest going plus I will have learned a new song to boot!
Finger stretching is one of those things that you really need to keep up with as a guitarist.
There are many songs out there from blues to pop to prog that will require some degree of stretching the fingers. And, if you aren’t fully stretched out, you will have difficulty playing them.
Warm Up Exercise
So, when getting the fingers ready to even play these “stretchy” songs, you need to always warm up!
Let me repeat: always warm up!
This is so true before doing any stretchy type of riffs/songs on the guitar. But really, warm ups should always be a thing.
Do things like the following:
- Do a chromatic scale warmup.
- Go over a scale you are learning. Or one that you know that is a favorite.
- Play some simple songs that you are familiar with.
What you could also do is go to a Guitar Gymnastics Course and take up on some exercises you can work out with. Just click on the link below, enter your email (don’t worry, no spam crap here. I’ll send you some more tips later if you want them, that’s it).
Start Stretching Exercises
After you warm up, you can work on those stretches!
Here is one article I wrote about this very subject that might help:
A “Guitar Exercise” Song for You
Now try this popular song to test your “stretchy-ness”.
Some of you might be ready for it.
Some of you might not. If that is you, don’t be intimidated by this song. It will simply take you longer but the journey will be oh, so worth it! In fact, I strongly encourage you to take it slow! Just work on one part of the riff until you have it. Then go to the next and so on. You have heard the saying that the greatest journey begins with a single step. Make this one one of your single steps!
Important: also, as you watch the video, be sure to watch how my left and right hands are positioned on the guitar. Specifically the wrist and thumbs. Are they bent or pressing in ways that are making it difficult? Do a self check on that. Watch how I am positioned and do your best to mimic what I am doing.
Ok, enough of that. Now on to the song. Here is the familiar riff to Message in a Bottle by The Police.
Grab the TAB here: Message In a Bottle TAB.
Note it says (Another) Guitar Finger Stretch.
I have another one that will be more challenging if you are up for it. Stay tuned, I’ll send it soon. (Or you can simply look at my You Tube Playlist and look for it).