Finger Isolation Exercises For Guitar

Male guitarist does a finger isolation exercise

Finger isolation exercises are a staple when it comes to guitar practice, especially here at The Guitar Gym.


These exercises are best used as a regular drill or warm-up. The primary benefits of these exercises are:

Increased coordination and brain/hand communication

After doing these exercises every day for a few weeks, you will notice a significant change in the responsiveness of your fingers. This applies to chord shapes, difficult phrases, playing speed and muscle memory improvements.

Improved flexibility and functionality

Flexibility is the main inhibitor of what is or isn’t possible on the guitar, by doing these exercises you will expand your ability to play difficult chord shapes and melodic runs that span over several frets.

The exercises featured in this video are a more challenging take on the traditional finger per fret exercise. If you are reading this article, you are likely looking for the best improvement for your time spent with your guitar. 

I would like to invite you to take part in a two-week finger per fret program with me and see the results for yourself.

I have listed below a set of instructions/guidelines to follow in order to get the most out of this two-week challenge, but also generally in your practice.

  • First, watch the video above
  • Download the Tab for the exercises
  • Set a timer for five minutes, go through the exercises in the tab until the timer runs out
  • Do this two times a day for two weeks
  • For those with Guitar Pro, feel free to start at 50% speed and advance each day over the two-weeks
  • For those without Guitar Pro, start slowly at your own discretion and only speed up when comfortable
  • Remember, the goal is to control each finger as it moves, playing this fast is NOT the goal but will help with improvement
  • Make sure you play non-stop for the entire five minutes – it will feel like a long time while you are doing the exercise

Download the Tab below and get started:

Scale Permutations For Guitar

A scale permutation (sometimes called a “sequence”) is one of several possible ways in which a scale can be ordered or arranged.

Before applying a permutation to a scale, you first have to learn your scale well enough and be able to play all the right notes and be creative enough to play the correct notes in various patterns/shapes/arrangements.

I find the easiest way to think about permutations is to separate them into two categories, Grouping and Skipping. While in the Scale Permutations video we only touched on one example of each of these types, the combinations are in fact limitless. If you truly want to go deeper into learning and discovering all the wonderful ways to play a scale that you can possibly imagine, then I recommend you try the following:

Learn groupings of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 throughout a scale of your choice, if you have nowhere to start on this, you can use the G major scale shown in the Scale Permutations video, then learn interval skipping permutations of a 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th.

Let’s assume you can do all of these options relatively fluently. The real magic begins when you start to combine these options together. I’ve listed below a few ideas and filters you can use when experimenting with these permutations, remember you are only limited in this exercise by your own creativity and flexibility.

  • Pick a grouping and play ascending, then a different grouping for descending and vice versa, there are approximately 15 different combinations available here in total. You can do the same with skipping.
  • Try alternating between skipping and grouping in the same phrase. Skip ascending and group descending, try this with the same number at first and then start changing the number of notes in your groupings and skips.
  • Learn a scale on one string and try these same exercises on one string. This will improve your skill of position shifting and lead you towards areas of the fretboard you may never have played in.

Download the tab below and get started:

Understanding Keys and Scales

Understanding Keys and Scales

What defines scale? What defines a key? How do you know what key a song is in? In this video, Darren answers all these questions. He takes you through understanding what scales and keys are. Discover how a clearer understanding of keys and scales can support your everyday guitar playing.

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