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How To Improve Finger Rolling On The Guitar

Updated: Apr 10

Is going from string to string an issue for you? Do you find it hard to fret notes in sequence?

Well, this is the article for you because in today’s article we are going over the importance of being able to roll your fretting fingers to the right place.

The topics covered in this article will be as follows:

Firstly let’s begin with ….

What Is A Finger Roll?

A finger roll is when the quickest possible move from one note on a string needs to be shifted to the next string. This causes a roll to happen technique wise and it can be quite difficult to get under your fingers to begin with. The hardest part to this is making sure the note you switch to rings out because the common problem with rolling your finger is that you roll onto the next string and you can generate a lot of fret buzz if done incorrectly.

This article is going to help you with this technique as it’s a useful way to traverse the fretboard on the guitar.


When Do We Use Finger Rolls?

This is a good question in that we have to do them quite often due to the nature of the guitar.  When we look at the guitar, we know that from the low E up to the B string is all perfect 4ths.

Which forces the player to be able to jump up fourths quite a lot when having to match other instruments or music written for different instruments.

This is when finger rolls happen the most. We can also use finger rolls when we approach arpeggios or playing notes consecutively over many strings.

Which brings us to the next topic…

How To Improve Finger Rolling On The Guitar - Join Beta Banner 1 | Grokit Guitar

Exercises To Help With Finger Rolls

In Example 1 Ascending 4th rolls this is an example to help with individual strings and rolling to each of them with each finger.

Ascending rolling on all fingers | Grokit Guitar
Ascending rolling on all fingers | Grokit Guitar

In this exercise we will do them ascending. But it is also important to do them descending too.

Which is the topic of Example 2

Descending rolling on all fingers | Grokit Guitar
Descending rolling on all fingers | Grokit Guitar

Example 2 Descending 4th rolls.

The same concept as Example 1 but in a descending form.


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In Example 3 we are using primarily your first and pinky fingers because usually they are susceptible to difficulty when attempting finger rolls.  

First and pinky finger exercise | Grokit Guitar
First and pinky finger exercise | Grokit Guitar

This example can be done in ascending and descending forms for now it will display the ascending form only.

It also alternates between going up and down to get used to being flexible.

In Example 4 a common place to use finger rolls is in arpeggios so we are taking this D chord arpeggio and practicing the roll that happens with the third finger on the D string at the 7th fret going up to the B string.

Arpeggios | Grokit Guitar
Arpeggios | Grokit Guitar

It is my hope that these exercises are helpful to you the reader in developing this technique.

If you have any comments or questions id love to hear them below.


See you in the next article!

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Awesome as always! Really helpful

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