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How can I build the strength to play and improve finger coordination?

How to get stronger

When you learn to write, it feels stupid but that's just because you haven't gotten used to the movements yet. If you keep moving bit by bit, you'll get more accustomed - that's what it takes to build strength.

Tips for building strength to play guitar

You shouldn't have to use too much strength to press a string down. However, especially with steel strings and chords, fretting can be a tiring business.

  • Some fingers might also be weaker than others, but they'll all get stronger with practice.

  • You can also strengthen individual fingers and wrist muscles by squeezing a clothespin or the whole hand by squeezing a tennis ball.

We've all seen and admired some great guitarist - Hendrix, Clapton, Vai, you name it. They seem to have that special, inherent thing for grace and coordination.

How can you get there - that's the burning question. 

Tips on improving your coordination

If you're not used to fine motor tasks, it might at first be hard to get your fingers to obey.

Try these exercises to develop your finger control:

  • Place your hands (especially your fretting hand) on the desk and lift your fingers one at a time.
  • Think about the number of the finger you're lifting (1 for index, 2 for middle, 3 for ring, 4 for pinkie) or say it out loud.
  • First lift them in order from 1 to 4 and back, then start making different patterns, like 1-3-2-4, 4-2-3-1.
  • Try not to look at your fingers when doing it.

You can also place your other arm in front of you and then grip it like it was a guitar neck. Then the hand orientation is the same as when playing.

Make a habit of exercising your fingers whenever you're bored, for example in traffic jams, at school/work, when watching TV... but keep your mind on your fingers.

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