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How to Do the Spider Exercise Version 2 on Guitar

Learn a version of the fingerstyle guitar exercise known as the spider from guitarist Adam Smale in this online guitar lesson from Howcast.


Here's another version of the spider exercise that I really like to do. I'm putting my first finger on the fifth fret of the third string, on that C, and I'm going to line up all four fingers on the same string one fret apart. What I'm going to do now is plant three fingers and now move one, so I'm going to move my first finger to the fourth string, then the second string. I go back forth, do that twice, then the fifth string to the first, fourth, second, fifth, first, and then plant that finger, then move to the second finger and do the same thing, go from the fourth string to the second string, fifth string to the first.

Now, I should add maybe at this point that the whole idea of this exercise, and all the spider exercises actually, is to try to leave your hand as still as possible, not to move around while you're doing it, to try to just move your fingers, not your hand. So then we'll go through, we'll move the third finger now. Four two to five one, and then plant those three fingers and then move your pinky. You're going to find that the pinky is the weakest finger, so it may take the most amount of work on getting the feeling that it's independent of the others.

Sometimes, you're going to miss a string like I just did, but that's okay. Then, you can take it a step further. You can now plant two fingers and then move two fingers. There are two ways of doing it. You can go [plays guitar]. Or you can go opposing motion. And then now what I'll do is I'll plant these two fingers, my two outside fingers, and I'll move those two inside fingers.

I guess why they call it a spider exercise, is that your fingers are supposed to look like a spider crawling on your neck, or a bug or something. That's what it should look like.

An then, I'm going to plant those two fingers, and then move those two fingers. There are many more combinations that I won't go into right now, but you can come up with different combinations, so have fun with that.

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