Free guitar exercises to improve your technical skills

Hi there,

I regularly teach a bunch of drills and guitar exercises around major, minor, chromatic and pentatonic scales to help improve general guitar technique.  Even good old alternate picking exercises.

To that end I started putting together a resource to send students that would encompass a bunch of those things – then about half an hour in, I thought I would have a quick online search – surely someone has done this before right?

The Material

It turns out the answer is “of course they have”.  So here it is – a really comprehensive exercise and set of drills to help you improve your technique.

So, just before you rush off with those drills and smash them out, hang on a minute.  The important thing is to be methodical.  You will be able to track your progress and genuinely improve if you read 2 more paragraphs….

The Metronome

As always with technique drills (and repeat after me) you must use a metronome.  What’s that you say Simon? A metronome?  OK, now shout it out! I must use a metronome.  METRONOME! METRONOME! METRONOME! METRONOME!

You can get an app on your phone, get a digital metronome or try this great YouTube channel – LumBeat.  This fella has helpfully recorded a simple rock beat at tempos ranging from 40bpm to 200bpm, both straight and shuffled.  What a good bloke! It is a great help.

The Method

So here is the best way to methodically practice these exercises, it is a very simple, yet very effective method.

1. Set your metronome to 60 Beats Per Minute (BPM)

2. Pick up your guitar

3. Play any of the drills in the exercise book for 2 minutes, trying to hit each note exactly on the beat

4. How did you go? Be honest with yourself – if you smashed it put up the beat by 10bpm, if you weren’t fantastic, do it again.

The great thing about running exercises this way is that you will improve both your technical skill and your timing at once – a genuine 2 for 1 deal.  This will then be reflected in your day to day playing – I promise! I recommend spending 5-10 minutes every day practicing this exercise.

So there you go – the internet just give and gives.

Any practice tips, please comment below!