Ultimate Chromatic Finger Exercise Guide

Chromatic exercises are a guitarist’s best friend.  If you run through a couple of them everyday your technique will improve in no time.  Below I’ve listed a quick and easy guide to all the possible 4 note chromatic permutations.

1234 2134 3124 4123
1243 2143 3142 4132
1324 2314 3214 4213
1342 2341 3241 4231
1423 2413 3412 4312
1432 2431 3421 4321

To use these in a practice routine, take each one and play each one with a one finger per fret approached.  Play them on every string up the neck until the 12th fret.  I’ve done the first permutation in the example below.  Do that for every permutation and a guarentee you’ll have a burning fretting hand.


                          continue up the neck until 12th fret


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4 Responses

  1. Good post for those who haven’t seen Petrucci’s instructional video ;].

  2. I am a bit confused on this exercise. “Play them on every string until the 12th fret” that part in particular.

    do I fret 1234 on each string (moving E A D G B E) at the 1st fret, then fret 2345 back on each string (moving E B G D A E) ?
    then, do it all again but start at the 2nd fret, and repeat this all the way to the 12th fret (moving up one fret each time)?
    The question is hard to even ask, hope you understand me!

    If so, then I get it. Also is the grid of different finger combinations to change it up? will any 2 boxes work together?

    I am not able to do this at any sort of speed, (which of course is the reason I want to practice) so am unable to analyse my results.

    Thank you

  3. Hey Sheila,

    If I understand you correctly you have it exactly right. Although there really isn’t a “correct” way to practice it, as long as your fingers are getting a workout. I’ll try to clarify what I meant though.

    Play the 1234 pattern on the low E at the starting on the first fret. then A string, then D and so on until the high e. After that move up one fret. Now play the 2345 starting at the high e and then b, and so on until the low E. Then move up another fret. Keep moving up the fretboard in this fashion until you get to the 12th fret. Thats what I think you said.

    As for the grid I posted. All that is is all the different combinations of fingerings you can have. For example the first and most basic combo is 1234 (index, middle, ring, pinky). The next one on the list is 1243 ( index, middle, pinky, ring). Its just a different variation on the same exercise. So to play it you would start at the low E and play the 1243 on each string until the high e. Then move up a fret and play 2354 back down. Then 3465 up. You can do this for all of the combinations.

    Hope That helps,

  4. You have wrote about several interesting points in this post. I found this article by using Yahoo and I’ve got to confess that I am now subscribed to your blog, it is very great ;D

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