Is this killer left hand guitar exercise for you?


How do you get your left-hand’s little finger as good as the other three?

Do you, like many other guitarists try to avoid using it?

I remember struggling with the left-hand guitar exercise of the little finger at the time I went to Uruguay in 2007 to study the method of Abel Carlevaro with the accompanying booklets.

It was challenging but changed my playing experience for good.

I want to introduce you to the ‘killer left-hand fingers exercise’ of pull-offs and hammer on’s,
that I do daily and suggest it to you if you want to get to the next level in your
electric/acoustic/classical guitar technique.

This is how it looks and sound like after practicing it for about five years already:

I attach later in the article the less rapid version of the exercise with the instructions so you can do it correctly.
You can, of course, play the video at a lesser speed in the wheel button of the video.


This so-called ‘killer left-hand exercise’ will only suit you if you are medium to advanced, who are already playing solos and ready to spend two more minutes in your guitar training with this exercise.

I’ll introduce left-hand exercises for guitar beginners in the in other articles of this blog.

If you are a beginner level exercise may discourage you and cause pain or damage to your fingers.

Proper technique = Greater enjoyment in playing.

As a general rule, to get to the technique you dream of, you will get used gradually and systematically.

If you are also interested in saving training time but still getting a high result, this is a pure,
and straightforward concentrated effort of the muscles responsible for developing your pinky responsiveness.

This guitar exercise has benefited me a lot, and I hope so for your guitar playing.

What will you need to follow this killer left-hand guitar exercise?


  • Use a guitar with good action (string height). We usually measure it at the 12th fret.
    The action on an electric guitar should be around 1.6mm on the high E string and 2.4mm on the low E string.

    On an acoustic guitar 1.8 mm on the high E and 2.3 on the lower E.On a nylon string guitar 3.2 on the high E and 4.0 on the Lower E. 

  • You need to find a time frame of about 4 minutes for stretching, playing and resting between the intervals and doing this exercise at least three times a week at the same time intervals equally. Within 1-2 weeks you should feel better strength, control, and independence in your little finger. 
  • A real desire to let go of your left-hand technique is to be able to put into practice the technical and musical ideas you have in mind and enjoy the results and the time you hold the guitar in your hand. 
  • Along with the work process and progress with this exercise, try to incorporate the little finger in the melodies and songs you already know.Use this method as a more fun-oriented because eventually we better apply the exercise goal to
    the real music we play.Deep into the process, you’ll feel that your hand is playing more efficiently with the more significant ability of your little finger.

How to practice killer left-hand guitar exercise:


This is the less fast version of the exercise (After I recorded the video, I realized I had to demonstrate it even slower than that then apologize in advance, but again, you can use the speed options of the video) :

The exercise is quite simple.
Start with a four finger on the 12th fret, the 3rf finger on the 10th frets and the 1st finger as a bridge on the 8th fret. The movement is a chain of pull off’s from the 4th finger to the 1st finger,
starting at the 1st string up to the 6th string.

Then this position of the hand moves back to the lower fret, And finish with on 1st string.
Now you descend and begin the pattern again from 1st string no.1 up to the 6th string 6 and so on.

    • I highly recommend you to make some warms up’s for your left-hand before you put yourself into this exercise and before any guitar left hand stretching exercises.
      Include large movements of the shoulder and elbow, then smaller movements and stretches of the wrists and digits.
Here is a good video on youtube about Essential Hand Stretches For Guitarists:
  • Start slow. Very slow! Psychologically, sometimes we do exercises at a fast pace to avoid an extended period of effort and pain, and I do get it.The thing is that to assimilate the right movement in the brain and fingers; we need to play slowly, cognitively.
    It’s like learning a long word for the first time – you need to pronounce it slowly and even divide it into syllables
    ( movements in our case).
  • Stop when you start to feel pain.
    It might happen already in the first notes.
    Each of us has a different point where he will feel the difficulty of the exercise and will want to stop.
    The improvement curve will look flat during the first two weeks, and then the curve will rise sharply
    meaning that your muscles are getting used to this kind of intense movement.
  • The placement of the hand over the fingerboard.
    Keep your first and fourth finger parallel to each other as if creating a straight line between the parallel to
    the string on which they play.
    As I would always recommend to you, press the string in the center of your fingertips.
    This is especially valid when we stretch the pinky and have to present it this way on the string.
  • Apply your first finger as a pivot finger. 

    We are doing it for two main reasons:
    Prevent involuntary movement of the hand and to force almost only the third and fourth finger
    to execute the move.

    As you probably feel, the index finger has by nature a secure orientation,
    so together with the thumb, they form the support of all the hand.

    We should realize that we need to combine the movement of the wrist as well.
    The guideline is that the elbow should tend to the body in such a manner
    as to allow the tips of the fingers create the imaginary straight line if I’ve mentioned before.

  • Pull off’s, and hammer on’s of the third and fourth fingers must also collaborate the movement of the wrist, Which help them to make it because of a more massive body organ- palm vs. finger –
    Means that it has a lot more strength we need to utilize to get maximum results with minimum effort.
  • Play with a metronome or any drums loop.

    Without a metronome, you might find yourself slowing down or speeding up at hard sections.

    We usually tend to do it when we don’t keep up with speed or the contrary,
    trying to play it fast and superficially thus to “pass” the hard section and avoiding what
    seems to be an excessive effort without realizing it.

    The metronome keeps a steady tempo for you and will reveal where are your hard parts and
    your tendency to adjust the exercise and the speed to you and not the opposite way.
    When you feel like the metronome is speeding up, you are starting to slow down.

A conclusion of the killer left-hand guitar exercise

Enjoy the whole process, and really, it’s a process!

Sometimes the longest way is the shortest.

There are no shortcuts to developing control of the left hand and the right hand and controlling the guitar.

On the one hand,

this exercise is challenging and at first, it can even raise a slight sense of frustration,
but I promise you that after about a week or 2 you will begin to notice an improvement
and most importantly- playing the pieces you use to play with more ease and flow.

Mentally, during exercise, try to enjoy the thought of the outcome this exercise will give you
in the end and which is:
A more enjoyable and professional guitar playing experience.

I must say that, at least for the left-hand guitar exercises,
this will give you much value whether you are an electric guitar classical guitarist or acoustic guitarist.

Have Fun!