Learning to play guitar is not as difficult as it seems.
But, it’s not a walk in the park either.
Taking up guitar lessons means having the dedication and patience needed to build your skills. This will often reflect outside of your weekly meetings with a guitar teacher.
The highest level of dedication is taking the time to practice guitar exercises on your own every day. This is the only way to see a significant amount of progress, and it works best when you’re patient with yourself.
Here are ten guitar exercises you can try for just 10-20 minutes a day!
1. Basic Introduction Exercises
Before you become the next guitar expert, you have to master the basics.
This includes the most simple of guitar subjects, like how to properly hold the instrument and naming all its parts.
Of course, it means practicing a few scales, too. Start with getting a grip on common chords. Keep working on them until your finger placement feels natural instead of forced.
You’ll start to notice the difference when you aren’t looking down to check yourself as much. Plus, your fingers will become less tense and more relaxed over time.
2. Picking Practice
Speaking of progressing over time, do you think you can keep the same speed for 3 minutes?
That is the main objective of a picking practice. These kinds of guitar exercises can often test a beginner’s patience.
You want to take on challenging chords and scales. You want to try fast beats just to say you’ve got them down.
But, you’ll be much better at the advanced skills after you’ve established a firm foundation.
This begins with constant, steady repetition.
When picking for 3 minutes (or more), you’re building muscle memory. Your fingers will become better acquainted with the fundamental skills they’ll need to move forward.
3. Fretting Techniques
Although mind-to-muscle connection matters when playing guitar, strength is just as important.
Your fingers will get more tired than you think. But, fretting hand guitar exercises can improve playing stamina over time.
Such exercises are less about sounds and strumming than they are about precision and skill. They are repetitive motions on specific fret and strings, meant to train your finger muscles.
This isn’t like traditional strength training – you won’t see your muscles grow. But, you’ll feel them doing much better and lasting longer while playing guitar.
4. Practicing with Both Hands
After a bit of picking and fretting practice, combine both techniques and play basic scales.
Use the timing of picking and the accuracy of fretting to guide this guitar exercise. You should be playing at a steady pace all the way through, progressing through different frets.
Make note of how you move up and down the neck of the guitar. Some places will be easier to use your fingers than others. You should only be playing as fast as your worst set of notes.
This will help you improve everything at the right pace, without going too fast and skipping over important skills.
5. Downstroke Strumming
There are a few different ways to practice picking and fretting along the neck.
Always keep pace in mind as you take on strumming. The first strum to try is a downstroke sequence.
Downstrokes are guitar exercises meant to help you get used to basic strumming techniques. These are the most simple because they only require a downward motion on each note.
Don’t mistake them for boring, or too easy, though.
The true test of a downward strum exercise is one in which the pace is kept from start to finish. You can use this exercise as a way to practice soft and loud strums, too.
6. Up and Downstroke Strumming
Once you’ve got the hang of a downstroke, mix in some upward motions. These are otherwise known as upstrokes.
Start by alternating down and up each time. More complex transitions and patterns will come later.
First, you have to get used to the rhythm. Try not to lock your wrist and play with hitting different numbers of strings as you go up and down.
7. The Muted Strum
After practicing downward and upward guitar exercises, introduce muted strums into your home routine.
A muted strum is one in which you let off the fret a bit with your fingers and press down on the strings with your palm.
It creates a pause and adds texture to your music. These are commonly used when playing and can imitate the beat of a drum if you’re a one-man show.
8. Rest Patterns
A muted strum is a strum that makes no noise. A rest pattern is a strum you skip altogether.
Say you have a downstroke note followed by another downstroke. Use your hand to come up just like you would for an upstroke, but don’t put pressure on the strings.
This might be hard to get used to after doing continuous strums for so long. But, they will come in handy as you progress through your guitar skills.
9. Rests and Various Strums
Speaking of making progress, try mixing up a few of your guitar exercises. When you feel comfortable with each exercise on its own, the next challenge is to go back and forth between them.
Add muted strums to your downwards and upwards motions. Try some rests in between everything, too.
10. Introductions to Power Chords
Think you’re ready to take your at-home practice up a notch?
Try introductions to power chords. These are things you’ll want to work with a guitar teacher to perfect. But, there’s no shame in taking them on at home to improve.
Power chords are challenging progressions of basic guitar skills.
But these are where the basics really shine. The better your timing and precision with beginner guitar exercises, the better your power chords will be.
Combine Your Guitar Exercises with Guitar Lessons
Have you been trying to tackle guitar all on your own?
Although these exercises are great for continued learning, they work best when you have a teacher to help you.
Reach out today to book your lessons and take your skills to the next level!