Category Archives: Fretboard knowledge and Warm up exercises

Little finger exercise

Hi all,

Thanks for reading my blogs so far.

On top of my blog about having a good warm up exercise, it’s also important to have one to develop your little finger strength.

Many people seem to neglect their little finger, but if you want to become an accomplished guitarist you need to take advantage of all your fretting fingers.

Have a go at the below exercise where you’ll use just your 3rd and 4th fingers only. The pattern is in groups of 3 and you can see it’s been displayed ‘ascending’ (going up in pitch) and also ‘descending’ (going down in pitch)

The one descending is where you start with your little finger and the one ascending you start with the 3rd.

You should find that this helps massively – think of it as a finger gym exercise for the guitar. (If you want a larger picture click on the picture above)


You can find me tweet regularly on all things guitar @jsmusicschool on twitter

Many thanks

James Schofield


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Learning your notes on the fretboard

Hi there,

So we’ve covered CAGED chords, a bit of strumming and theory so far.

Now this is all well and good but it’s important for everything to sink in that you know your notes on the fretboard to find your way around.

You’ll be shown how to learn the notes on the neck in the most constructive way using Octave shapes.

Here is a picture of the fretboard – notice how there are 2 names for the same notes i.e. A# and Bb – these are called ‘enharmonic notes’

Most music is organized into keys and some keys will have sharps (#) and some keys will have flats (b) so it depends on what key your in to determine what you call it.

As you can see from the diagram a lot of notes appear quite a few times. These are the same notes but sound slightly higher or lower as they resonate at different frequencies. These are your octaves.

Now I’ve come up with a system so that you can learn every single note by jumping from one octave shape to the next:

What we’ve done here is go from the 1st fret on the E (1st) string, down to the 6th string and followed these 6 octave shapes.

Depending what note’s you want to practice will determine what color octave to choose. Let’s take C for example:

So as the first C on the neck was on the B string we chose the orange shape octave to go down to the A string.

They always follow in order, it just depends on what string your first note is. Let’s take one more, D :

So as you can see Orange always follows on from green, brown after yellow, it just depends on which notes you’re practicing.

One of the issues with most beginners is when they want to work out a different chord or where to start a scale, their knowledge of the neck slows them down.

After practicing this regular you should be able to pick any note at random then play all of them on the neck in about 10 seconds.

Many thanks for reading and hope you found it useful.

rock n roll

For other tips you can find me @jsmusicschool on twitter

James Schofield


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Guitar Teaching : Step 1 – Technical – Warm up exercises

In my first blog you were shown how Jsmusicschool operates in terms of what it takes to become a great all round musician in the most structured way. I will now go on to explain why all the technical aspects of your guitar study are important for progression.

Warm up exercises:

At college and university it was stressed many times to integrate some warm up exercises into your practice schedule.

The reason for this is it will improve your technique and dexterity massively. Warming up with a metronome is really important as timing is essential and you can also push yourself.

Warm up exercises will also be instrumetal in developing your alternative picking for your scales/arpeggios. The A chromatic scale is a great one to use

– start on the 5th fret low E string and play 5,6,7,8, then cross to the A string and go 4,5,6,7, then on the D 3,4,5,6, then G string 2,3,4,5, B string, 2, 3, 4, 5, then go 1,2,3,4 high E string.

(going down,up,down up with the right hand for every note)

That was ‘ascending’ as in going up in pitch

You can then go ‘descending’ by going down in pitch.

Once you are on the 4th fret high e string, slide your little finger up then go 5,4,3,2 on the same string, then 6,5,4,3 (B), 6,5,4,3 (G), 7,6,5,4 (D), 8,7,6,5 (A), 9,8,7,6 then slide down your first finger to finish off on the fret you originally started with (5th)

With your metronome start off playing 1 note per beat (crotchets) at a tempo of 70bpm (4 beats to the bar). Once you get comfortable at that speed increase the speed in 10bpm increments.

Once you’ve got it up to 110bpm go back to 70bpm and play quavers (1note every half a beat – count this as 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + – so 8 in a bar)

Apply the same process and get comfortable with that at 110bpm.

Then play the pattern using semi-quavers (1note every quarter of a beat – count this as 1e+a, 2e+a, 3e+a, 4e+a – so 16 in a bar)

With your fretting hand ensure that you use all 4 fingers for each of the 4 notes on every string.

So ascending you start with your 1st finger, then descending start with your little finger

If you do this for 5-10 minutes a day you’ll notice the improvement and you’ll find it’ll help all the other aspects of your playing.

Many thanks for reading and i’ll be explaining how useful the CAGED chord system is on the next blog.

You can also find me on twitter – @jsmusicschool



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