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Dexterity Exercises

Alan Desmond

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Hi folks in the forum and supergroup.  Obviously we should all do the dexterity unit and review regularly, but for me anyway I do a short version of dexterity for my warm up before I play most days. Thought it may be helpfull to share my routine.

First i do the finger exercise one by one across the strings low E top high e. Place then 5th 6th 7th 8th fret, then Twenty times each finger is recommended / day, that frees up the 4th and pinky fingers. It takes a few weeks but over time the 4th and pinky become much more usable. Then trills as the course unit describes to gain finger strength particular for the 4th and pinky to  build up the ability to press with them, most of us humans dont use those 2 fingers in other activities, its a time / use thing that needs practice to make all fingers usable. 

Another thing I do that others may wish to try, is to form a usual C chord shape with 2 fingers at the 3rd fret and then walk the 4th finger across the D,G,B.E strings trying to hold the shape and play clean notes. Hold the C chord shape again, try use the pinky & stretch to play all the notes low E to high e ont the 4th fret. I find I have to keep my 4th finger at A3 the C note as that more difficult as finger tendons are linked with others.  From the course units do the spider walks along each string regularly.

Then a good daily action is to play the pentatonics, patterrn 1 from A note on fret 5 and pariticularly join with pattern 2. Playing them together pick up the A octave at D7 and the BB King box, some call that the "House of Blues", pentatonic patterns 3 and 4 become easier to remember specially pattern 4 where all you have to remember is play the 12 and 15 fret and come back 1 fret on the middle strings.

So I hope this is usefull to others. I find playing Am Blues very pleasing. The above gives everyone all they need to do that. If anyone is looking for good backing tracks to play over, refer to Johnathan's post (few weeks ago) from a guy called Quist Am blues (on U tube). Also there's a Neoclasic in Am in there too.  Always remember with Blues you can play 1, 4, 5 notes and add it in where it suit's the music from any key note (A in this case).

If any others have good helpfull ideas nice to post them for the benefit of all of us

Happy P{laying Guys and Girls




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Hi Alan!

I like varying the finger exercises too and I read your post with great interest! In fact, I read it a few times and there still are a few things I do not quite understand and I do not know if I apply your suggestions properly.

I would appreciate, if you do not mind, if you could bring some precisions. Here are my questions:

1. The C chord shape with two fingers at the 3rd fret? What exactly do you mean by that?

2. The A major Pentatonic Patterns 1and 2, that is ok. When you say go to the octave 7th fret of the D string and the BBKing box.....Which Pentatonic Pattern do you start on D7, Pattern 1?

Then when you mention frets 12 and 15, which strings are involved?

As I mentioned, I am interested in applying your suggestions but I am a bit confused....my fault probably, but if you do not mind adding a few precicisions I would really appreciate!

Thanks for the backing tracks suggestions by the way.


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I tried to answer your query before, but seems maybe I was not successful, as there's no record of it.

1) As p[art of daiIy warm up. I place index finger on C note A string fret 3 and middle on either E note at 2nd fret D string. Then to exercise 4th finger walk across the strings at 3rd fret trying to play clear notes while maintaing the index and middle in  original position.  Then doing same but using the pinky at the 4th fret.  Its just an excersize to try to make 4th and pinky more flexible independant and usable. Maybe others have different ways of improving the 4th and pinky. Whatever works for you

2) When playing Am from the  A key note at D string 7th fret its basically pentatonic pattern 2.  As part of my daily warm up I play through the pentatonic paterns 1 thro 4, to improve fingering memory and develop speed. The BB King box, sure you know already sits between frets 7 and 9.  I'll copy the sheet, just for info and ur records.

If you look on U tube you will see some clips, one particular good one is called house of blues, another is Eric Claptons 1968 stock phases and riffs.

The last un-numbered question: The area frets 12 to 15 has A notes (of course) at  A string 12 fret and G string 14th fret. For Blues you can play the notes 1, 4, 5s or the                pattern 6, just you need decide what fits best into the music your playing. Of course adjust to suit the warp zone when playing from G string to B string. 

Hope tyhis helps.


Am Pat'n Pentatonics.jpg

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