This nifty left hand exercise stretches the left hand fingers as you creep down the fingerboard from the twelfth fret to the first. The stretch gets further apart as you descend downwards and contrary to many things on the guitar, the slower you play it, the more difficult it is!
To begin, place your fingers like this:
- 4th finger on the 12th fret – 4th string
- 3rd finger on the 11th fret – 3rd string
- 2nd finger on the 10th fret – 2nd string
- 1st finger on the 9th fret – 1st string
Your fingers should be in a diagonal line from the fourth to the first string and this is a major seventh chord (D major seventh when you are on the twelfth fret)
In the right hand you will be playing a simple arpeggio starting on the fourth string with the fingering p, i, m, a, m ,i and repeating it as the left hand changes. After each right hand arpeggio has finished you are going to shift one finger at a time down the fingerboard. The first finger will shift from the 9th fret to the 8th, then the second finger with shift from the 10th fret to the 9th, and so this crawling down of the fingers goes until you reach the first fret with your first finger.
If it hurts your hand to complete the whole exercise give it a rest and try it the next day, after a while you will be able to do it without any problems but you do need to give your hand time to develop the flexibility.
Goal: To stretch your left hand fingers and warm up the hand
Tempo: Slower the better!
Tips: Use a metronome to keep from speeding up and stop if your hand hurts.
This exercise appears in 5 Technical Routines for the Classical Guitar Level 3