A Better Fretting Hand

(Handout from L&M Lessons)

To build the dexterity and strength in your fretting hand use the three exercises below.  Your focus should be on repeating the pattern slowly with an even tone while you build the strength on your left hand.  This will improve coordination between your picking and fretting hands.

Half Step Exercises

12 or 23 or 34

There are two ways to play this exercise.  Start by playing each note using plucking hand.  You can use one finger or alternate fingers.  Pay attention when alternating fingers to get an even tone.   I’d also suggest using the same note/position on the bass for each fretting hand sequence.  Listen to hear if the quality of the sound when you use 12 is the same as when you use 34.

The other method is to use a combination of hammer on and pull off to produce the notes.

Using Whole Fretting Hand

There are two methods of using your fretting hand.  The first using one finger per fret using all four fingers of the fretting hand (1234) and the other method is taken from double bass technique and using 124 in the lower positions and 1234 further up the neck.


Place 1st finger on 1st fret, 2nd finger on 2nd fret and 4th finger on 3rd fret of G string.  (These notes would be Ab, A and Bb)  Repeat the pattern 124, 124, 124.  From there you can change the pattern.  Ex. 241, 241 or 142, 142 etc.  There are 27 variations you could play using fingers 124.  Move the 124 chromatically up the neck.

(Video Example Coming Soon)


Follow the same process  as 124.  If your hands are smaller you will want to pick a position further up the neck so that your are not stretching your hand too much and risking injury.  Even if you have larger hands playing 1234 on the first 4 frets can be too much of a stretch.   Like the 124 exercises change the finger pattern.  There are 256 variations you could play.  1324, 1423, 1243 and so on.

(Video Example Coming Soon)

Triads, Seventh Chords and Scales. 

Develop fingerings for chords and scales over 1 octave and eventually 2 or even 3 octaves is the next step after building your fretting hand.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: