Anyone, playing any style of music, needs to either improve or maintain their technique…

I don’t think it matters how long you’ve been playing, you can always use a refresher.

I stole a bunch of this stuff over the years from some really great guitar players and teachers I’ve had… so I can’t take credit…

But I can tell you that if you want to play better, improving your technical ability always helps.

So watch the video – maybe a couple of times – and swipe some things you like, and practice them every day.

Most importantly, pay attention to when I talk about the specific technique (all fingers down, lifting up one at a time, etc.)…

And when I talk about playing as quietly and smoothly as possible.

Those two tips, alone, can radically improve your playing in short order.

    19 replies to "Do This – Play Better"

    • Bill Storey

      Early in my guitar journey I gravitated toward finger picking on an acoustic guitar. This ultimately led to studying flamenco and the classical guitar.. The teachers I had in both flamenco and classical guitar emphasized warmups that utilized the minimum finger movements of the left hand. That was 50+ years ago. That early training has paid dividends for a long time.

      I started my blues journey with BGU about 8 years ago. My style preference is thump bass style on an acoustic but I also enjoy the electric material as well.

      Thank you Griff for broadening my guitar journey

    • Don Hall

      Thanks, Griff. This is critical stuff for all players who want to progress. I figure your fingers are your tools, and, like a skilled woodworker, you have to keep your tools sharp!

    • Jim

      I have trouble putting down my ring finger. I have an extremely bad habit of using only one thru third finger when playing leads. I rarely use my pinky. So this method is great for retraining my muscle memory.

    • Paul Griffiths

      Great lesson.I found it difficult to get all my fingers down when descending,so I started with a 4-1-3-2 pattern which makes you put your index finger down quick smart,and the rest follow.It’s amazing how hard it is to break years of bad habits!!

      • Paul Griffiths

        Sorry about that.My connection dead midway through my first comment.

    • Paul Griffiths

      Great lesson. At first I found it very hard to put all my fingers down at once when descending.So I started by descending using a 4-1-3-2 pattern which forces you to get the index finger down fast ,and the rest follow.It’s amazing how hard it is to undo years of bad habits!!

    • Steve Garner

      I start down at the higher frets, first finger on fret 12 of the 1st or e string and move towards the lower frets.
      This way, I am not starting on the wider spaced frets, which is hard on my hands. As I slowly work backwards to fret 1, my hand and fingers are warmer and they adjust to the stretch with less discomfort.

    • Alexander

      I love doing your warm up exercises every time I play my guitar, which I got from one of your lessons I ordered. It really helps my playing more and I believe its just a good thing to do every time I play. I don’t make as many mistakes and my hand feels more limber when playing. Great lesson Griff!

    • Dave L

      Great lesson, Griff — thank you! One problem I’m not able to lick is the sound of my finger scraping on the strings when I pick them up. Is there a technique fix for this?

    • Gene W

      Hey Griff,

      Great lesson! I wish I had worked on this prior to lesson 1 of BGU 2.0 .I’m feeling like I just picked up the guitar yesterday. The good and bad news of rectifying poor technique.

    • Suzanne S

      Great lesson, Griff. Thanks much. Will have guitar in hand following your example shortly.

    • Jack Grady

      Hi Griff. I remember my first guitar teacher showing me much the same exercise over 60 years ago. He was a well known and respected jazz guitarist in the Toronto, Canada area. I found it challenging then and still find it challenging now—but it does work. Since we are on technique, how about something on hands: specifically, on the shape. care. and use of fingernails, fingertips (I know Buddy Guy is VERY strict about developing calluses), and general hand health. Also, something on posture to prevent muscle strain, again specifically—tendonitis from stressing the wrist (wrong position) and forearm/elbow (same problem). Thanks for all that you do to encourage and promote. Your material is so right on the money. P.S., I am chewing my way through your theory course to remind myself of all that stuff I learned long ago and far, far, away.

    • Doug Prentice

      Great lesson Griff. My only suggestion would be to do these exercises with a metronome. It’s a great way of measuring your progress. Which in turn makes you keep up the practice.

    • Steve Daniels

      Thanks, I’m with Alan H

    • Interstate slim

      Thanks Griff, what has been helping me recently since I just have semi retired and have more time is to use all my guitars throughout the day. Acoustic for hymns and classic rock( strumming), electric for blues solos( picking), and resonator for delta style( fingerpicking). This is has got me out of strictly blues solos that I have been on for the last few years and brought up my weak points in strumming and fingerpicking. Thanks for your continued inspiration and motivating lessons to push us beyond even what we think we are capable of doing. Enjoy your day.

    • Alan H

      I’ve been thinking about what I should include in a daily practice routine and this helps. Thanks Griff

    • Ken M

      Tks griff , I started going through speed bldg blocks and found it very useful although one exercise i found extremely difficult was a spider crawl using four frets and four different
      Strings .I found it a little easier on my les Paul but a strat was way harder especially closer to the nut I went even lifting my guitar. Question ,
      should I be happy with that’s the best I can do or persevere with agony of defeat ?

      • Griff

        Just continue to do it and let it be natural. It may or may not improve much (I think it will eventually) but it will keep your focus on it which improves everything else.

    • Martin Rowland

      That’ really great advice.
      Thanks Griff.

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