Sunday, June 15, 2008

Left Hand Preparation and Accuracy

Many people think (I myself included at one time) "If I just repeat this hard left hand section enough times, eventually I will get it."

While repetition is important for building endurance, it is the wrong way to try to obtain left-hand accuracy.

The problem in a difficult shift, chord, stretch, etc. is not necessarily what you are getting to - it’s HOW you are getting to it.

The following is an exercise for Left Hand Preparation. Once the pattern is learned, it should be played on many sets of strings - for example - strings 1 and 4, 5 and 2, 6 and 3, 6 and 2 etc... It should be repeated without pausing about 10 times - then make sure you rest your hand.


The lines represent the strings - (top to bottom = highest to lowest), the numbers represent the left-hand fingering (you play two notes together at all times).

For this exercise to be really effective, you must make sure of a few things -

  1. The left hand must prepare as soon as possible for the notes it will play next. This means - as you execute one pair of notes, you'll prepare completely over the strings and frets for the next pair of notes.
  2. The exercises must be completely legato. Try not to have any spaces in the sound due to the left hand lifting off of the strings early - or the right hand putting its fingers down on the strings early.
  3. The left-hand fingers must be placed down at the same time - not one, and then the other.

The point of this exercise is to get the left hand to start thinking (and preparing) ahead of itself. This small statement is the key to solid left-hand accuracy.

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