I've played guitar on and off for years and I am picking it up again, both electric and classical, hopefully in a consistent manner now.

I am back at working on both my diatonic and chromatic scales and my middle finger on my left hand is causing me quite a lot of trouble: - When doing the chromatic scale using the sequence 4-1-2-3 or 4-1-3-2 each time I lift my pinky the middle finger is lifting itself too far from the strings, sometimes to the point of almost "flipping someone off". - When doing diatonic scales, particularly major scales on the electric, when I use fingers 1-2-4, as soon as I lift the index finger to go to the next lower string the middle finger since "it wants" to lift itself it kind of slide upwards and sometimes it even hits the upper string with the nail.

If I do the exercises slow, and I do mean painfully slow, this behaviour is very mild, sometimes even it is not present, but as soon as I try to do them a little faster it comes again and it gets worse as I increase the speed.

Since my understanding is that chromatic scales exercises are precisely the ones that achieve finger independence, should I just be patient, keep doing them slowly and hope that one day the fingers behave or should I try something else?

It has been close to two months since I started practising again and I have been doing it for one hour every single day, seven days a week.

Thank you.

  • 1
    I have found that to be an age thing. When I, once again, picked up the guitar about four years ago, I had the same thing. For a long time, there was an exercise I found by googling. The exercise does not involve a guitar, but routinely doing finger bends with your index and ring finger, then the middle finger and pinky. Then doing single finger combinations. That helped a bit.
    – blusician
    Jul 19, 2017 at 0:30

1 Answer 1


Scott Tennant of the LA Guitar Quartet has an instructional book called Pumping Nylon. The book has a number of exercises that promote independence.

Also 30-Day Guitar Workout by Jody Fisher is a good resource.

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