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Rudimentary Drills (Guitar Lesson)

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Allen Van Wert

Rudimentary Drills

Allen shows you the 24 rudiments crucial to developing finger dexterity. This is a short lesson but the exercises here can take years to master.

Taught by Allen Van Wert in Speed And Technique seriesLength: 7:22Difficulty: 1.5 of 5

Video Subtitles / Captions

Supplemental Learning Material


Member Comments about this Lesson

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michael.nationjrmichael.nationjr replied on January 28th, 2017

Nice. I practice something similar reasonly. This is perfect. I like the idea of alternate picking the same ascending back up. Really nice and I can applied it to other patterns as well. Also up downs all way up fret idea instead down ups. Practice both. I was thinking.

rarebird0rarebird0 replied on July 27th, 2016

uh-oh, I suck

tgmanzotgmanzo replied on September 5th, 2014

How long should I work on these exercises before moving on to the other videos in this series? Should I just move on whenever I feel ready ?

panterax390pwpanterax390pw replied on August 7th, 2014

sorry if this is a really stupid question but how do you use the metro nome is it every time is beeps you play a single not?

GrazzhoprGrazzhopr replied on March 15th, 2014

Are you doing strict alternating picking or Economy Picking? Do you practice both?

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on April 25th, 2014


jwood87jwood87 replied on November 23rd, 2013

Hey Allen, great stuff. I love the analytical approach to shredding. One question though, I've noticed that many times while playing, pretty much regardless of what I'm playing, my fret hand thumb will run parallel to the neck and will be higher up the neck than my index finger. For barre chords I should try and fix it, but what about for this type of shred playing? What are your thoughts on thumb positioning?

midlifemidlife replied on July 7th, 2013

I am surprised how hard it is for me to shift the patterns up or down a whole step between G and B when leading with my second, third or fourth finger. Really exposes how first finger dependent I am.

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on November 22nd, 2013


michaelk25usmichaelk25us replied on January 20th, 2013

Is this the best way to practice above the 12th fret as well, or is there another lesson that goes over that?

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on January 21st, 2013

I don't think I have a specific one to practice over the 12th fret, You should take pretty much any exercise you can and play it on each fret that is physically comfortable for your guitar.

danludwigdanludwig replied on January 19th, 2013

Is it normal for some hand muscles to cramp up when doing some of these exercises, or does my actual fretting technique need some work? For example I have a habit of squeezing with the thumb to fret a note, so that muscle gets tired quickly. I've read about trying to concentrate on using more shoulder / back muscles to apply pressure to the string, and have been trying, but I still get cramped up. Is this something that the muscle will eventually get used to, or should I be worried about it?

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on January 21st, 2013

You need very little pressure to produce a note. The thumb is mostly there to keep the neck at a comfortable position away from the body. You can play without using the thumb at all if you hold the guitar body in place by leaning forward to see how it works.

michaelk25usmichaelk25us replied on January 13th, 2013

I have been through the first 6 exercises that start with the first finger. Should I master the first 6 before I move on to the exercises that start with the rest of the fingers?

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on January 14th, 2013

No, It is a good idea to mix them up. When I do them I have been selecting four of them, each starting with a different finger. Just cycle through them, 4 new ones each practice and they will all start working a little better.

staufferstauffer replied on November 30th, 2012

Great Lesson, I finally realized that when something doesn't come easy for me, that is what I need to practice the most. With the metronome should I keep the same speed through all the patterns of each grouping? IE. I can do that first pattern easier than I can do the diagonal pattern, should I keep the metronome the same until I can play the diagonal at the same speed and then move up for all?

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on January 9th, 2013

Great question. I would keep the metronome the same tempo as the hard one.. also work on the one you have trouble on a little extra to get it up to speed with the rest.

raskewraskew replied on August 22nd, 2012

Focus is the key. Can't really do this well while watching TV! This is the best! And not boring as long as you are continuing to find technical issues to correct or are getting the left and the right hands better coordinated.

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on November 22nd, 2013

That is true

bstringbstring replied on July 12th, 2012

Hey Allen, I've been following you lessons on here, but I have a question. As I am practicing my rudimentary left hand fingering, I notice my pinky jumps WAY off the fret board. Do you have any tips for keeping my pinky down a little closer to the fretboard or is this a natural thing that I will never tame? Perhaps I am being to picky?

thesnowdogthesnowdog replied on November 6th, 2012

No, you're not being too picky and it can and, ideally, should be tamed. Have a look at Scene 13 "Best Left-hand Exercise Ever" in Lesson 11 (Left Hand Boot Camp) of Nick Amodeo's Bluegrass Series for what I think is the best way to approach getting the flying pinky under control. You can obviously combine that approach with these exercises of Allen's too. Apart from a general lack of control it's certainly exacerbated by excess hand tension.

martamiusmartamius replied on August 5th, 2012

I have the same problem. Either my pinky is way back, or it hammers on. Any tips?

jadepaintjadepaint replied on July 10th, 2012

Today I started your method, I look forward to the progress I will accomplish lets say in 6 months. It took me hours to actually get through the first 4 drills. Kept on having to s-l-o-w the metronome down. Prior to the drills I worked on the right hand picking ... Bought variations of some new size picks. Ended up practicing your method with the Stubby 3.0 mm. At first it felt very weird but became more comfortable pretty quickly. After the 4 drills, I started the Left hand endurance, the only difference is I started with the ring finger and pinky and worked my way up to my stronger fingers far as the hammer ons. I practiced on my acoustic guitar which far as the pinky and ring finger was concerned it was more like just going through the motion with very little sound and very slow. I think I was at turtle speed, but I kept telling myself this will someday actually work and plowed through it slowly, but in time. Also started to keep track of my daily practice session. Oh and then of course I just needed to have some fun just playing the guitar, tried throwing some quick single picking in-between chords... Trying to apply it. Thanks for this method!

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on November 22nd, 2013

Perfect, how is the progress going?

muziqlvr77muziqlvr77 replied on June 22nd, 2012

This seems great but I only counted 14 patters instead of I missing something? Watched 4 or 5 times... Oh well, I'll practice the 14. Can't wait to try

thestraightenerthestraightener replied on July 27th, 2012

page 4 of the supplemental content has all 24 fingerings - each finger you start on has 6 different configurations. its tiring!

johnnyrockitjohnnyrockit replied on June 15th, 2012

Dude! Gotta lot of work to do to get as good as you! Thanks for all this bro'!

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on November 22nd, 2013

You got it!

verciapoanceverciapoance replied on April 26th, 2012

I don't think you're right about slowing this down like that without a reason. Also starting over doesn't seem valid, I urge anyone to just play the portion they mess up on to find out if it's a recurring mess up, or a flub by playing that part only and paying attention to their whole body while doing so, play it above speed and below the speed with the exact same motions. Also learn Mental Play, even for these lessons. Allen, please teach mental play in conjunction with your lessons! It would make you even better teacher! You already great tho.

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on November 22nd, 2013

It was a form of "death penalty" to make me focus on what went wrong. It is a tad extreme though hahaa

dignindignin replied on June 9th, 2012

why would you not slow down, or even repeat from the beginning? I think this is not a question, but a must. For me, it is about training your concentration. If you mess up, you are not concentrating. Stop rinse, repeat!

cmckinneycmckinney replied on May 12th, 2012

I have noticed a big difference in my playing, this helped me with my finger independence as well. I'm glad I ran across this lesson thanks dude.

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on May 25th, 2012

You're welcome!

ErikB1013ErikB1013 replied on February 21st, 2012

Not my favorite exercise to do, however I started noticing improvements in my accuracy and my pinky mobility in just a few days. Thanks Allen!

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on April 30th, 2012

You're welcome!

nickonicko replied on February 10th, 2012

I did not really get this, am i doing it now forever, or when i finish for those 6 days thats it?

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on April 30th, 2012


rudy.martinezrudy.martinez replied on October 17th, 2011

Camera angle from above - Fantastic!

ak3levyak3levy replied on October 7th, 2011

what is the metronome set on for the pace you are playing that at in video?

mdmooremdmoore replied on October 2nd, 2011

You say that if you mess up to start over. Do you mean on the same pattern or do I go back to the beginning. For instance, if I'm doing 1234 on the diagonal and mess up, do go back to the first pattern or just start over on the diagonal? Great exercise by the way.

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on October 3rd, 2011

Go back to the beginning of that diagonal portion on the starting fret you messed up on... so if you messed up on the 3rd string.. go back to the 6th and start over there on the proper fret that shifted position began on.

thesnowdogthesnowdog replied on September 30th, 2011

This series has inspired (probably more embarrassed) me to really get back into working through these and similar exercises on a daily basis and to document my progress. My first unexpected observation after a week is that I'm actually weakest leading with my middle finger. I never would have guessed that...weird indeed.

goobstergoobster replied on September 30th, 2011

Matt Brown's lesson on practicing includes an exercise similar to this. I like the way you expand upon it with the different ways of doing the 24 patterns. Really is great stuff. I hope you will make more videos. I bought your book on ear training as well. So far so good.

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on November 22nd, 2013


stratmusicstratmusic replied on September 20th, 2011

This is excellent!!! Those camera angles work great for this kind of thing. It made it really easy to see exactly what Allen was doing while he was explaining it.

tangohuntertangohunter replied on September 25th, 2011

Wish I could agree...the overhead still makes me feel like I need to vomit.

mkorsmomkorsmo replied on September 24th, 2011

These patterns are pretty cool

krazyfngazkrazyfngaz replied on September 23rd, 2011

This is the worst exercise i've ever done....coincidentally the most helpful.....weird.

thesnowdogthesnowdog replied on September 24th, 2011

Broccoli for guitar.

mkorsmomkorsmo replied on September 24th, 2011

Brussel Sprouts

Tyrone ShoelacesTyrone Shoelaces replied on September 21st, 2011

Finna Tay ya what... If this was the only cat here, I'd buy the membership! note i'm sane? (well, maybe Kenny blue Ray for a kicker)

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied on November 22nd, 2013

Thank you!!!

greyskiesgreyskies replied on September 20th, 2011

Great stuff Allen!! I do have a question though. Why are you looking directly at ME when you say, " you suck at it" ? hahaha #:^)

rhoadsfreakrhoadsfreak replied on September 20th, 2011

I completely agree with Jill! That camera angle is sweet! Loving the lessons so far Allen and can't wait for more.

Speed And Technique

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Allen "Robot" Van Wert teaches his approach to developing technique necessary for fast playing.

Lesson 1

Series Introduction And Picking Primer

Allen kicks off his technique series with a primer lesson on right hand picking.

Length: 30:52 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Rudimentary Drills

Allen shows you the 24 rudiments crucial to developing finger dexterity.

Length: 7:22 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

Left Hand Endurance Building

Allen shows an amazing muscle building exercise that really works out the left hand!

Length: 9:32 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Fundamental Picking Exercise

This lesson covers an exercise that works on all the major picking techniques.

Length: 11:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Synchronize And Stretch

Allen shows you a great exercise set that helps with synchronizing your hands as well as stretching your left hand.

Length: 8:18 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

The System

Allen Van Wert explains his system of programming, reinforcing, and forgetting primary functions of guitar playing. This system is a long term practice routine that will take some time to fully implement...

Length: 50:53 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Interval Exercises

This is the next step after you have learned Allen's "system". If you follow Allen's teachings you are sure to have a deep understanding of intervals and scales.

Length: 21:29 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Triad Arpeggio Exercises

First, Allen gives a pop quiz for you to check your own ability to visualize the fretboard. Then he gives exercises for programming your triad arpeggios.

Length: 21:30 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Seventh Arpeggio Exercises

Allen Van Wert shows you how to apply his systematic practice approach to 7th arpeggios. If you are just discovering this series make sure to start at the beginning or some things may not make sense.

Length: 8:36 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Fretboard Advancement

Allen briefly explains how he refers to modes in the context of this lesson and then shows you how to grow your knowledge of the fretboard.

Length: 15:35 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Rut Busting Exercises

Get out of that rut with these exercises from Allen Van Wert!

Length: 10:44 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Basic Tapping

Allen returns to his speed and technique lesson series with a look at the basics of tapping. This lesson will act as a primer for more advanced tapping concepts and eventual speed increases as well!

Length: 30:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Using Tapping to Extend Your Range

Allen is back with the next installment in his look at tapping. In this lesson Allen discusses and demonstrates how you can use tapping to easily extend your range while playing.

Length: 11:05 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Single String Tapping

Allen is back with more tapping goodness! This time around, he discusses single string tapping.

Length: 10:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

Multi-String Tapping

By this time you should have a pretty strong grasp of tapping basics and be proficient at tapping on one string. In lesson 15 of his Speed and Technique series, Allen starts working you up to tapping...

Length: 14:46 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Tapped Octave Minor Pentatonic

In this lesson Allen demonstrates an octave displaced, tapped, minor pentatonic scale. This can be useful for solo work and getting around chord changes!

Length: 10:28 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Emulating Keyboards

Allen is back with a comprehensive look what what many people call "Touch Tapping." Allen likes to describe this as emulating a keyboard on the guitar.

Length: 32:41 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Combining Tapping Techniques

Now that you should have most of the tapping techniques under your fingers, it's time to put them all together. In this lesson Allen provides you with a piece of music that encompasses all of the techniques...

Length: 11:16 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

String Skipping Exercises

To wrap up his current film session and look at the speed and technique series, Allen provides a lesson based around exercises to build your string skipping technique.

Length: 29:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only

About Allen Van Wert View Full Biography Allen Van Wert got the nickname "ROBOT" from his unusual guitar tapping techniques that often sound like a video game more than a guitar. He has studied and played a wide variety of genres. His experimental and eclectic amalgamation of music combining shred guitar, crazy tapping techniques, and electronically infused composition contrasted by a highly emotional soft melodic side, make his debut album a really fun and interesting listen for just about anyone.

Allen has recorded guitar for the famed video game soundtrack composer Jesper Kyd (Composer of Hitman, Splinter Cell and many other big title games) as well as composing and recording for movie trailers and TV commercials. He has also been producing, recording and co-writing for local artists in his small home/project studio.

His three books on guitar technique, ear training and songwriting have helped many students over the past couple of years. Allen has also played in various cover bands in many genres since the age of 16 and has played to over 5000 on a few occasions. He was a featured guest musician on the album "West Coast Shred Fest".

In his spare time, Allen programs video games for fun. Wooo!

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