Real Guitar Adventure for Grownups

Real Guitar Live #15 – Essential Hand Stretching Exercises for Guitarists

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This month on Real Guitar Live we’re learning a few essential hand stretching exercises for     guitarists of all levels. It’s important to warm up the muscles and ligaments before you play or practice.

First off, Tomas demonstrates a handful of stretches to do without the guitar. Then we’ll start stretching the fingers with exercises that progresses down the fretboard. After that, we touch on how to prepare for playing barre chords.

Then we get into the questions from our live viewers and RGS students. Today’s viewers ask about picking accuracy, travis-picking, strengthening the pinky, first scales to learn and much more!

Last but not least is the monthly raffle for RGS members who complete a series of 20 exercises each month. Great work everybody!

​It’s important to warm up the muscles and ligaments before you play or practice.

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Questions Asked During the Session:

[20:57] I have short fat fingers and have real trouble with reaching say from the 5th fret to the 9th fret at the same time with my index and pinky. I’ve been trying to stretch it forever.

[22:45] Also related to my fingers is on some chord I cant help muting the lower string with my middle finger even when I play with my finger straight on or angled. What can I do to solve these issues, help please?  

[26:09] How to be able to play bar chords? My fingers won't lay down for the bar or stretch for them. [30:20] What scale would be best to learn first and can you show us how to play through it at different locations on the guitar.  

[34:52] How can the Scarborough Fair Melody and Fingerstyle be played by an individual to make it one song? Or can it?

[38:00] I struggle with pick accuracy. I keep missing the intended string when picking notes. It is holding up my progress.  


[42:06] I seem all good until I get to the pinky. To be more specific, it’s more about strength than stretching.


[47:49] Is there anyway to stop the fingertips from hurting?

[51:47] Does the gauge of your strings make a difference in how hard you have to press down on the strings?  

[52:42] Would a guitar strap help with hand/finger positioning for a beginner?

[54:24] I’m beginning to take on the Travis picking technique, do you have any advice when it comes to practice? Should I be using fingerpicks? If so, what would you recommend?

[56:55] Do you have a graph for that pentatonic scale?

[57:10] I’ve been using a soft rubber ball to strengthen my fingers.


Tomas Michaud

Author - Tomas Michaud at Real Guitar Success
Tomas Michaud is an American born guitarist and music educator with a French Canadian heritage. He first developed the Starland Guitar System in 1982 when his 9 year old daughter asked him to teach her guitar. Since then he’s founded the Starland School of Music in the SF Bay Area, and

When he's not making guitar instruction videos or creating more music to record (currently 7 CDs including Beauty and Fire) he's riding his bike along the beach with his dog Marco Polo or traveling to interesting places with his lovely wife Pui.
Tomas Michaud

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