As much as there is to focus on for the left hand for guitar players as they get to know the neck, there’s another hand that most guitarists rarely consider, which is strange since there are only two!
As a guitarist you essentially have three options of how to play the instrument:
1. Finger Style
2. With a pick
3. Combination of the two above
As the guitar is a self-taught instrument we can see how every famous player has a unique style when it comes to their right hand.
This might sound like bad news, just like there is no commonly embraced chord and scale system, there is no “one way” to play guitar with the right hand.
Very often players want to try both techniques and often find that one makes the other worse… You play with a pick for a few weeks, swap to finger style for a few weeks, and as you come back to the pick it all of a sudden feels alien to you!
Perhaps the ultimate solution is a thumb pick so you seamlessly can move between the two styles but few players who try one like them, myself included.
Another massive factor is your individual hands anatomy, if it’s a massive hand or a small one matters, neither is better or worse, but it does matter.
After extensive research on the topic I have found that there is only one exercise that works for this and that is the Spyder.
The Guitar Conspiracy has more tips and there are already loads of threads in our forum about the individual Spyder exercises, possibly our most popular exercise.
Let me share with you a few tricks that can improve your pick and finger style control.
Isolate the hand movement!
Instead of varying your pick movement between up and down strokes you could try the concept of playing only down strokes for the entire exercise, followed by playing only up strokes.
The latter is what will improve your skills since it is always the case that the up stroke is weaker than the down stroke.
For finger style exercises, play the Spyder with only one finger at a time, this would have to be executed on a much slower BPM setting.
When you played the exercise with individual fingers, move on to combining fingers such as thumb and index, thumb and middle, index and middle etc.
By taking this very scientific approach to the Spyder you will iron out any imperfections in you right hand.
Remember that the key to successful Spyder practice is to do it regularly. 20 min every day for 6 months is much better than 1 hour a day for a month, so don’t burn yourself out by trying too hard!
Expect to see results within a month when practicing regularly and complete the Spyders within a year, usually it takes between 6-12 months until you can stop practicing the Spyder. The results you’ll get are unbelievable.
To be continued…
PS. There is a common idea that the Spyder should be varied in the left hand by playing 1324, 1423 etc instead of just 1234.
This is a pointless exercise, save yourself the headache and just stick to 1234, there is no need to memorizing unmusical patterns!