One Finger Per Fret, Up And Down

First let me show you a very common exercise that's good for your single-note technique. Remember that it's not supposed to make sense musically. It's purely a work-out for your fingers.

This exercise starts with your 1st finger in the 1st fret of the low E-string. Then we'll grab the 2nd fret with our middle finger. That's followed by the 3rd fret with our ring finger and finally we have the 4th fret with our pinky.

Now in our right hand we'll go down, up, down, up, repeating. After this we'll do the same thing on the next string. And so on.

Make sure you're using your finger tips. Make sure your fingers aren't flailing all over the place. If any of that is tricky, you just have to slow it down.

Once you're ready, try doing it backwards. This exercise is good for your left and right hand coordination and it forces your pinky to be a part of the team. Otherwise it has a tendency to try to avoid getting involved and that's a shame cause it's quite useful to have it ready.

This is sometimes referred to as spider fingers or the spider fingers exercise.

Now let me demonstrate this for you. You're of course welcome to try playing along with me, but the best thing is probably to watch my demonstration and then try it on your own afterwards so you can find your own tempo.

Instructor Anders Mouridsen
Fun Finger Exercises
Any Style
One Finger Per Fret, Up And Down song notation

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Questions & Answers

5 months ago
My pinky is not getting placed at proper positions whatsoever. How much I try, I am unable to put my pinky properly on strings. The pinky fingertip is not touching the strings, rather than the right side portion of the pinky tip (of my left hand finger. It is like the pinky is kinda getting in a bent shape while touching the string). How can I improve?
Mike Olekshy 5 months ago

Hi thanks for your question! You can improve this by going slowly through the exercise. Try moving the position of your hand slightly to accomodate the pinky fretting the note straight on. Aim to get your pinky pressing down on the string at a 90 degree angle onto the fretboard as best you can. Keep working on it - with all the repetition, the pinky will start to loosen up and make this easier and easier. Keep at it!

7 months ago
Hello, when playing the notes, does it matter if your fingers touch the string below or should you aim to curl your fingers so you play each note without touching the string below? It doesn't seem matter if you do touch the string below as that isn't the note you are playing, but I want to make sure I am training my hands and muscle memory correctly for the future. Thanks.
Josh Workman 7 months ago

It's more efficient to leave the fingers pressed down as you ascend and then peel them off as you descend. Notice Anders' fingers remain pressed down as he ascends and only lifts the first finger in order to prepare to switch strings.