Intermediate Chromatic Exercises

Practise the chromatic and sweeping exercises with different rhythms!

On this page, you’ll find eleven more variations that develop the chromatic and sweeping exercises.

Some of these use a sweeping technique over several strings, others focus on speed. In order for you to get the most out of them, make sure you are ticking these boxes:

  • Always practise to a metronome
  • Start slowly, increase with no more than 4 BPM at a time
  • Stop if it hurts
  • If you can’t play with perfect accuracy, you are pushing the BPM too much

There’s plenty more you can do with these exercises than what you find in the video lessons below, the intermediate course takes both the sweeping and speed exercises much further.

Sweeping exercises 4-6

These exercises move over four strings, the right hand should execute this with a sweeping motion (see video lessons).

The aim of the sweeping exercise is to improve your picking hand’s control as you travel across the strings.

It might take you several weeks to make this type of exercise feel comfortable. To achieve good results, you must practise slowly at first.

Chromatic speed exercises 7-10

These chromatic exercises deal with speed, push the BPM as far as you can.

  • Exercise 7 builds speed by only having one 16th per beat, can you stay with the click?
  • Exercise 8 builds speed by only having two 16th notes per beat, push BPM!
  • Exercise 9 builds speed by only having three 16th per beat, push BPM!
  • Exercise 10 builds speed using five 16th notes, rest for three, push BPM!

Chromatic timing exercises 11-14

The last chromatic exercises in the intermediate library focus on 16th note clusters.

These rhythms are used extensively in popular music so your ability to play them accurately is vital.

Say the rhythms out loud using syllables (see Guitar Conspiracy) before you play the exercise for maximum results.

  • Exercise 11 use a rhythmical cluster of one 8th note, two 16th notes.
  • Exercise 12 use a rhythmical cluster of two 16th notes, one 8th note.
  • Exercise 13 use a rhythmical cluster of one 16th, one 8th, one 16th.
  • Exercise 14 use a rhythmical cluster of one dotted 8th note, one 16th, push BPM!

Spend plenty of time on exercise 11-14 before you move on to the advanced chromatic exercises. Remember to not play these for too long, if it hurts you have to stop


These chromatic and sweeping exercises worked on accuracy, sweeping and speed.

It is very important that you don’t practise these for too long. If you do you may develop RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). If used correctly, for ten or twenty minutes at a time they are fantastic. Your control, accuracy and speed will develop rapidly.

To find out more about how these exercises can help you, turn to the intermediate guitar course.