Minimum Movement Exercise

One of the most powerful and effective exercises you can do to improve your guitar technique!

View the full lesson at Minimum Movement Exercise | JustinGuitar

You don’t mention the finger spread problem. The furthest my pinky to my index finger is only 3 frets. I have to bounce my hand up and down to reach the four frets so the fingers are back & forth fast. I have reached 240 bpm of 1/4 notes or 60 bpm of 1/16 notes. I have practiced this position for 2 months now at a minimum of 2 hours a day and often 2 hours twice a day. I’m at my limit.


For this issue there are two things to do. One is easy … move the scale pattern further along the neck where the frets are closer together. For instance B major scale rather than G major scale. And do the finger stretch exercises within your practice routine if this is an issue preventing your progress. Finger Stretching Exercise |

A sentence within the ‘before you begin’ paragraph states:

This exercise is not about speed at all.

Instruction 1 of the lesson is:

  1. Play the scale up and down very slowly.

This is not, definitely not, about speed. It is about careful and controlled movement.

This is way too much on something that should be a small, compartmentalised element within a bigger practice routine.
Again in the lesson’s content Justin writes (in bold):

You should do this exercise for 5-10 minutes a day for a month or two.

Hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide

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I have just added this to my routine - it’s loooooong overdue. Question : did anyone else experience their fingers shaking trying to do this? I’m sure it’s just the newness of the thing and the slothlike tempo, but it’s still a little disconcerting. I’m curious to hear your experience with this.


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Sure I had it, as you say something new for your fingers causes it and one day it will go away without you even noticing it :slight_smile:

I appreciate the validation - thanks! I can’t remember the last time an exercise was so challenging - this is just one of those things that can’t be rushed or forced, it’s just gotta be slogged through.


As Adi says, sure and the slower I went the more they shook. It was if they were rebelling against what I wanted them to do. Mind over matter won in the end but my pinkie still has those moments of not wanting to conform now and then.


My pinky likes to do its own little dance. Slowly improving though.

I’m glad to hear that putting in the reps is yielding results; I know it’ll get less awkward over time, but it feels like two minutes of near-futility at the moment. I’m guessing that this is one of those skills where “trying harder” to learn it is counter-productive, and I just have to put in the time and let it happen at my pinkie’s pace.

It’s been a while since this lesson, I’m going to practice it daily again, during practice my little finger does its best and behaves well, … but during solo guitar practice the little… beep… rascal, goes fly again :smirk:

Hello Everybody,
I’ve got a question. Does the “not moving fingers” still push on the string while the moving one is going to his next destination?
I mean. Beginning the exercise, Will my small finger should still push the E string on the fifth fret while my index goes to the B (on A string) etc…
Or does my hand has to stay just near the strings?? standing next to the strings. Do you understand?
Excuse my poor English, that’s not my native language. Thanks for the answer. Good study to everyone.

I think the fingers can be interacting with the strings in in a few different ways. The three main ones are:

  1. Fretted - the finger is pressed down…you can feel the wood of the fingerboard under your finger. The note will ring out if you pick that string.

  2. Touched - the finger is lightly touching or resting on the string, but it is not pressing down. If the string is picked, it will not ring - it will be muted.

  3. Hovering - the finger is not touching the string at all…it is held - relaxed - 2 - 5 mm above the string over the correct fret…ready to play the next note. This can be surprisingly difficult…at least it is for me.

These are my terms, not Justin’s…I haven’t seen him talk about this explicitly. But I’ve found it very useful to think in these terms when doing slow exercises like this one.

I think the main point of this exercise is to teach your fingers to hover, so they are ready to play the next notes with minimal movement and tension.

This probably doesn’t answer your question directly, but maybe you will find this a useful way to think about the exercise.

Let me know if this helps, or if you need more explanation.

Thank you so much to take some time to answer me.
I think I’ll work it fretted in first intention. Coming from bass learning, this exercise seems hard but not impossibe to practice. Playing it slowly will surely not be easy, and if it’s too hard, I’ll try the others ways you suggest.
I easily presume that the hovering version can be such a torture, but is a good way to have flying fingers (in the good sense of the word).
Thanks so much for your answer. It’s very Kind.

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I’m new to this exercise, but when I do it slowly, I :

  1. Fret and pick the 1st note
  2. Hover the finger that just played
  3. Hover the finger over the next note
  4. Fret and pick the next note
    …repeat for each note

One other thing I tried…doing the exercise just touching the strings - not fretting them.

This seemed to make it easier to keep the other fingers hovering over the proper frets. So that might be worth trying first if some inactive fingers want to really fly up of the fretboard when fretting a string.


Great lesson! I have been doing this exercise for a few days and can already see that I am getting more control over my finger movements.

One question. When I do this exercise, my thumb is behind the guitar neck, and my fingers are under control. But when I play solo or try to bend strings, my thumb would always come back up near the 6th string. This would send my fingers flying everywhere again. Should I do this practice and the scale practice with my thumb behind the guitar neck or up near the 6th string?