Technique exercises for right and left hand dexterity.

Hi everyone, and welcome back to my electric bass technique course. After talking about left and right hand technique, we can move on with some exercises that will improve your dexterity.


I will never stress this enough: always use the metronome when practicing, it will help you develop a strong internal tempo, so that in the future you will be able to play in time without the help of a metronome. As a matter of fact, developing a strong internal tempo is your ultimate goal: in other words, the beat should be in your mind and you shouldn’t rely at all times on a device.                                                                

Now that we know left and right hand technique, we can move on with some exercises that will get you started on the bass. Starting from the left hand first finger, you can play combinations like: 

  • index, pinky, middle, ring (1,4,2,3) 

  • index, ring, middle, pinky (1,3,2,4)


  • index, pinky, ring, middle (1,4,3,2)


  • index, middle, pinky, ring (1,2,4,3)


  • index, ring pinky middle   (1,3,4,2)

The same can be done by starting with the middle, ring and pinky fingers. As you can imagine, there are plenty of combinations to work on, and the purpose of this lesson is to give you the basics to create your own exercises and your own practice routine as well.  

Let’s check together some exercises: as always, I will start from the third fret on the E string, in order to avoid too much stress on your left hand, but with practice you will be able to start from the open E, using the same fingerings. 


Without further ado, let’s check the exercises.

Exercise 1. Index, middle, ring, pinky (1,2,3,4) 

Exercise 2. Index, pinky, middle, ring (1,4,2,3)

Exercise 3. Index, ring, middle, pinky (1,3,2,4)

Exercise 4. Index, pinky, ring, middle (1,4,3,2)

Exercise 5. Index, middle, pinky, ring (1,2,4,3)

Exercise 6. Index, ring, pinky, middle (1,3,4,2)

These exercises can be played, using the same pattern, on all the other frets, in order to build dexterity and speed. Remember, as always, to practice with your metronome at a slow tempo, gradually increasing the speed. 


Alternating strings is another interesting combination that let you stretch further your left hand fingers, and improve as well your left-right hand coordination. In this case you will start on the third fret of the E string, then play the fourth fret on the A string, the fifth on the E string and the sixth on the A string again, creating a sort of zig-zag pattern. Follow this same fingering on the other strings, going back from G to E string and then down on your fretboard.   

Exercise 7

In the next exercise we will follow the same idea as in the previous one, but skipping one more string. I remind you that in the previous and following cases, you can continue on the fretboard with the same pattern.

Exercise 8

The possibilities, when it comes to music, are endless, so I strongly encourage you to develop your own exercises once you will be familiar with the ones presented in this lesson. Don’t be discouraged if all this looks like overwhelming at first: time and practice will be on your side to become a better musician! 


Thank you for reading and happy practice!  

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