Note: when doing these exercises, don’t clutch the neck or cramp your hand. If you are, stop and replace your hands on the neck. Keep your hand, fingers and thumb very relaxed, but still firmly in place. Remember thumb position. Keep your elbow away from your body.
1) 1 finger per fret exercise – play up 4 frets using 1 finger per fret, all the way up the strings, to the high E string and back down again. You can also change the direction of the movement. It’s a good stretch warm up exercise and forces your fingers into 1 finger per fret mode, which you will need to play melodies and other chords. Note: If you’re using a pic, use up and down strokes.
2) Rock n’Roll riff – Using the “A” chord (middle 4 strings, 1st finger across strings). Helps you to open up the space between the fingers. (Note: You’re still in “1 finger per fret” mode when playing this riff.) Thumb position – Middle of the back of the neck, perpendicular to the neck (not horizontal), firmly gripping but not clutching.
How to play the riff - *Play the open A string as the bottom note of this chord.
While strumming the chord, use your 3rd finger and 4th finger to play the F# and the G notes (4th and 5th frets) on the D string, taking them on and off to create the riff.
3) The 12-bar blues progression in the key of A – Use the rock n’roll riff to play a 12 bar blues in the key of A. The chord are A, D and E, like you wrote on your music sheets. Use the same pattern for all of the chords.
4) C major scale (no sharps or flats) going up the neck from the low E string to the high E string.
Homework - Do the same thing but in the key of G, playing a G major scale, using F#’s instead of F’s. Again, use up and down strokes if you’re using a pic.
Here's what these scales look like in musical notation >>
4) Ode to Joy - Simple fingerpicking – Thumb, finger, finger, finger.
Key of C. Play the pattern through the whole song.
Extra work if you like: Use the C scale you just played to play the melody for Ode to Joy (on the sheet). The chart above tells you where the notes are.