The four-finger caterpillar workout is a bit like taking your fingers to the gym. It is designed to develop hand strength and finger independence. These exercises may seem mechanical and unmusical, but through practice, patience and perseverance they will help you to learn the basic finger skills and technique to enable you to play faster and efficiently, and will be well worth all the hard work and effort.
The Caterpillar: Ascending
The Caterpillar: Descending
- Hold each finger in place every time you add another finger – by the time you have placed down your pinky finger all your fingers should still pressing down on to the correct frets – one finger per fret: finger 1/fret 5, finger 2/fret 6 and so on. This will allow your fingers to stretch wider and get stronger.
- Remember to use your finger tips: Don’t let your fingers fall flat. Keep the fingers slightly rounded (like a tiger claw) and make sure the tip of your finger is pressing down on to the strings. This will develop correct finger placement technique and toughens up the ends of your fingers.
- Keep your fingers parallel to the frets (or 90 degrees to the strings). While using your finger tips and keeping your fingers arched, make sure your fingers are always in line with the frets and never at an angle. This may cause the strings to bend sharp.
It is perfectly acceptable for your fingers to touch the other strings while practicing this exercise.
Practicing this caterpillar exercise for five minutes a day is enough. There is no need to spend long periods of practice time on this exercise, and too much may cause strain and injury.