Lateral Dexterity

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One of my students asked me if I had any exercises the focus on positions shifts and improving speed going up and down the neck laterally rather than keeping in position and going accross strings, which was something I must admit that I had never looked at in isolation it just always happened naturally for me. So I told him I would have a think about it and see if I could come up with a few exercises. I also looked on here to see if I could find a lesson of a similar ilk, but alas no. So I actually did some work and came up with 2 exercises and a variation on each one and thought I would post them here incase anyone else was looking for the same thing as my student. Please send questions and comments on a postcard!

Exercise 1.
This example is clearly based on the scale of A major but obviously can be moved to different keys to suit your mood. Also, if you want more of a challenge move it closer to the nut for larger stretches. With both this exercise and the variation use the same fingering pattern (1st, 2nd & 4th) troughout Start off at 60bpm playing 8th note/quaver triplets and build it up to a decent pass and just try and increase your speed every day. Picking patterns are indicated in the usual manner.

  n v n n v n sim.
|------------------------------------14-12-10-|
|---------------------------14-12-10----------|
|--------------------11-9-7-------------------|
|-------------11-9-7--------------------------|
|-------9-7-5---------------------------------|
|-9-7-5---------------------------------------|

  v  n  v  v  n  v sim.
|-10-12-14-------------------------------------||
|----------10-12-14----------------------------||
|-------------------7-9-11---------------------||
|--------------------------7-9-11--------------||
|---------------------------------5-7-9--------||
|---------------------------------------5-7-9--||

Now the variation of the exercise to make it slightly more of a challenge. Again start at 60bpm playing 8th/quaver triplets and the picking patterns are shown in the usual manner.

  n v n  n v n n  v  n  v  n  v  v n v  v n v
|-----------------------10-12-14---------------||
|--------------14-12-10------------------------||
|--------------------------------7-9-11--------||
|-------11-9-7---------------------------------||
|---------------------------------------5-7-9--||
|-9-7-5----------------------------------------||

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Exercise 2.
This excerise is a-tonal and spans the whole neck, so there’s no easy get out if you want to move it to a different postion for smaller stretches! It’s a bit longer and more involved than the first exercise too. Start at around 50bpm playing 16th notes/semi-quavers, work it up till you ‘feel the burn’, use the indicated picking patterns and make sure you stick with the same finger for each fret in each position.

  n-------v-------n-------v-------sim.
|-------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------|
|-------4-1-------------8-5---------------12-9----------|
|-----3-----2---------7-----6----------11------10-------|
|---2---------3-----6---------7-----10------------11----|
|-1-------------4-5-------------8-9------------------12-|

|-------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------|
|----------16-13-------------------20-17----------|
|-------15-------14-------------19-------18-------|
|----14-------------15-------18-------------19----|
|-13-------------------16-17-------------------20-|

|-------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------|
|----------18-21-------------------14-17----------|
|-------19-------20-------------15-------16-------|
|----20-------------19-------16-------------15----|
|-21-------------------18-17-------------------14-|

|------------------------------------------------------------||
|------------------------------------------------------------||
|----------10-13----------------6-9-------------2-5----------||
|-------11-------12-----------7-----8---------3-----4--------||
|----12-------------11------8---------7-----4---------3------||
|-13-------------------10-9-------------6-5-------------2-1--||

And now the variation for a bit more of a challenge. Again start at around 50pm playing semi-quavers, build up the speed, use the same finger for each fret in each position and use picking patterns as indicated.

|-----------------------------------------12-9----------|
|-----------------------8-5------------11------10-------|
|-------4-1-----------7-----6-------10------------11----|
|-----3-----2-------6---------7---9------------------12-|
|---2---------3---5-------------8-----------------------|
|-1-------------4---------------------------------------|

|-------------------------------------------------|
|----------16-13----------------------------------|
|-------15-------14----------------20-17----------|
|----14-------------15----------19-------18-------|
|-13-------------------16----18-------------19----|
|-------------------------17-------------------20-|

|--------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------14-17----------|
|----------18-21-----------------15-------16-------|
|-------19--------20----------16-------------15----|
|----20--------------19----17-------------------14-|
|-21--------------------18-------------------------|

|----------10-13---------------------------------------------||
|-------11-------12-------------6-9--------------------------||
|----12-------------11--------7-----8-----------2-5----------||
|-13-------------------10---8---------7-------3-----4--------||
|-------------------------9-------------6---4---------3------||
|-----------------------------------------5-------------2-1--||

71 thoughts on “Lateral Dexterity”

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