Rudimentary Drills (Guitar Lesson)

Guitar Lesson
Get Started
What are you waiting for? Get your membership now!
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

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

michael.nationjrmichael.nationjr replied

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

uh-oh, I suck

tgmanzotgmanzo replied

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

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

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

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied


jwood87jwood87 replied

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

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


michaelk25usmichaelk25us replied

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is true

bstringbstring replied

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

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

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

jadepaintjadepaint replied

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

Perfect, how is the progress going?

muziqlvr77muziqlvr77 replied

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

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

johnnyrockitjohnnyrockit replied

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

allen.vanwertallen.vanwert replied

You got it!

verciapoanceverciapoance replied

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

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

dignindignin replied

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

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

You're welcome!

ErikB1013ErikB1013 replied

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

You're welcome!

nickonicko replied

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


rudy.martinezrudy.martinez replied

Camera angle from above - Fantastic!

ak3levyak3levy replied

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

mdmooremdmoore replied

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

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

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

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


stratmusicstratmusic replied

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

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

mkorsmomkorsmo replied

These patterns are pretty cool

krazyfngazkrazyfngaz replied

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

thesnowdogthesnowdog replied

Broccoli for guitar.

mkorsmomkorsmo replied

Brussel Sprouts

YaFaakYaFaak replied

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

Thank you!!!

greyskiesgreyskies replied

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

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.

Series Introduction And Picking PrimerLesson 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
Rudimentary DrillsLesson 2

Rudimentary Drills

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

Length: 7:22 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Left Hand Endurance BuildingLesson 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
Fundamental Picking ExerciseLesson 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
Synchronize And StretchLesson 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
The SystemLesson 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
Interval ExercisesLesson 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
Triad Arpeggio ExercisesLesson 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
Seventh Arpeggio ExercisesLesson 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
Fretboard AdvancementLesson 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
Rut Busting ExercisesLesson 11

Rut Busting Exercises

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

Length: 10:44 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Basic TappingLesson 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
Using Tapping to Extend Your RangeLesson 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
Single String TappingLesson 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
Multi-String TappingLesson 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
Tapped Octave Minor PentatonicLesson 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
Emulating KeyboardsLesson 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
Combining Tapping TechniquesLesson 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
String Skipping ExercisesLesson 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
Allen Van Wert

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!

Lesson Information

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Acoustic Guitar

Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.

Dave Yauk Dave Yauk

Learn a simple mini song that illustrates just how intertwined scales and chords really are. Dave uses a G chord paired...

Free LessonSeries Details
Pamela Goldsmith Pamela Goldsmith

Pamela brings a cap to her first 13 JamPlay lessons with another original etude inspired by the great Leo Brouwer. This is...

Free LessonSeries Details
Evan Taucher Evan Taucher

In the classical guitar world, there seems to be a lot outdated instructional advice. And while this type of information...

Free LessonSeries Details
Mark Kailana Nelson Mark Kailana Nelson

Mark Nelson introduces "'Ulupalakua," a song he will be using to teach different skills and techniques. In this lesson, he...

Free LessonSeries Details
Phil Keaggy Phil Keaggy

Phil discusses inspiration, where it's found and how you can take almost anything around you and use it to inspire your own...

Free LessonSeries Details
Don Ross Don Ross

New fingerstyle instructor Don Ross introduces himself, his background, and what you should expect in this series.

Free LessonSeries Details
Hawkeye Herman Hawkeye Herman

Hawkeye teaches several Robert Johnson licks in this lesson. These licks are played with a slide in open G tuning.

Free LessonSeries Details
Freebo Freebo

In this lesson, Freebo covers the basics of right hand technique. This lesson is essential for all up and coming bassists.

Free LessonSeries Details
Maneli Jamal Maneli Jamal

Tapping is a great tool that can be used to create the sound of two guitars without ever having to pluck a note! The tricky...

Free LessonSeries Details
Orville Johnson Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

Free LessonSeries Details

Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Electric Guitar

Our electric guitar lessons are taught by instructors with an incredible amount of teaching experience.

Rex Brown Rex Brown

Dive into the playing of Rex Brown. As the bass player for Pantera, Down, and Kill Devil Hill, Brown's real world experience...

Free LessonSeries Details
Michael Mennell Michael Mennell

Mike introduces himself and his series.

Free LessonSeries Details
Steve McKinley Steve McKinley

Steve McKinley talks about evaluating your bass and keeping it in top shape. He covers neck relief, adjusting the truss rod,...

Free LessonSeries Details
Andre Nieri Andre Nieri

Born in 1986 and hailing from Brazil, Andre showed musical inclination at an early age. Influenced by native Brazilian Jazz...

Free LessonSeries Details
Evan Brewer Evan Brewer

Evan Brewer explains everything you need to know in order to get going with your bass guitar. Topics include the parts of...

Free LessonSeries Details
Nick Greathouse Nick Greathouse

Nick starts his series with Alternate Picking part 1. Improve your timing, speed, and execution with this important lesson.

Free LessonSeries Details
Emil Werstler Emil Werstler

Emil takes you through some techniques that he uses frequently in his style of playing. Topics include neck bending, percussive...

Free LessonSeries Details
Prashant Aswani Prashant Aswani

Do you want to play more musical sounding solos? Do you want to play solos with more emotion behind them? Maybe you're the...

Free LessonSeries Details
Matt Brown Matt Brown

Matt Brown shows off some ways to add some creativity and originality to your rock chord voicings.

Free LessonSeries Details
Ian Argys Ian Argys

Lesson 6 is all about the major mode. As with the other lessons you'll be taking a look at the individual notes on the strings...

Free LessonSeries Details

Join over 517563 guitarists who have learned how to play in weeks... not years!

Signup today to enjoy access to our entire database of video lessons, along with our exclusive set of learning tools and features.

Unlimited Lesson Viewing

A JamPlay membership gives you access to every lesson, from every teacher on our staff. Additionally, there is no restriction on how many times you watch a lesson. Watch as many times as you need.

Live Lessons

Exclusive only to JamPlay, we currently broadcast 8-10 hours of steaming lesson services directly to you! Enjoy the benefits of in-person instructors and the conveniences of our community.

Interactive Community

Create your own profile, manage your friends list, and contact users with your own JamPlay Mailbox. JamPlay also features live chat with teachers and members, and an active Forum.

Chord Library

Each chord in our library contains a full chart, related tablature, and a photograph of how the chord is played. A comprehensive learning resource for any guitarist.

Scale Library

Our software allows you to document your progress for any lesson, including notes and percent of the lesson completed. This gives you the ability to document what you need to work on, and where you left off.

Custom Chord Sheets

At JamPlay, not only can you reference our Chord Library, but you can also select any variety of chords you need to work on, and generate your own printable chord sheet.

Backing Tracks

Jam-along backing tracks give the guitarist a platform for improvising and soloing. Our backing tracks provide a wide variety of tracks from different genres of music, and serves as a great learning tool.

Interactive Games

We have teachers covering beginner lessons, rock, classic rock, jazz, bluegrass, fingerstyle, slack key and more. Learn how to play the guitar from experienced players, in a casual environment.

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

Unlike a lot of guitar websites and DVDs, we start our Beginner Lessons at the VERY start of the learning process, as if you just picked up a guitar for the first time.Our teaching is structured for all players.

Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 127 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00
Get Started

Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!

Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

Join thousands of others that LIKE JamPlay!