Exercises to improve reach?

SnagsSnags Frets: 481
Preferably non-hurty ones :)

There are certain standard things that I find quite awkward to do consistently, or for any length of time, due to a lack of reach and/or my little finger 'curling in ' rather than 'poking out' on my fretting hand.

e.g. a fairly standard power chord shuffle (e.g. for a G chord, index finger third fret E string, ring finger 5th fret A string, then adding little finger 7th fret A string for the dum-da-dum-da-dum stuff) - it's OK higher up the neck, but on a G or an A is a bit too much for comfort.

Similarly the stretch needed to play the intro riff to "Born to be wild" - adding in that last little bit with the pinky is an ow-ee and not something I can do reliably or cleanly without ending up with sore bits (either base of fingers, or wrists from holding my hands at a weird angle and tensing up).

I'm assuming I can improve this with exercises - regularly playing particular scales or something?  When I was a kid an played piano I had quite a good span on both hands but I've lost the art of spreading my fingers rather than grouping them, it seems.

What sort of things are worth looking at to free things up a bit?
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Comments

  • Three note per string scales are good as they will isolate and strengthen the first, third and fourth fretting fingers more. Or the natural minor scale which uses the first, third and fourth to start. 
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  • ShrewsShrews Frets: 20
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2740
    At IGF one year, the late Eric Roche showed us a series of exercises to stretch the fretting fingers.

    Form a chord as follows: e 9th fret, b 10th fret, g 11th fret, d 12th fret.  Play each note cleanly with no muting.
    Then move the e down a fret to the 8th and leave the other fingers as you started.  Play each note cleanly with no muting.
    Then move the b down a fret to the 8th and leave the other fingers as you started.  Play each note cleanly with no muting.
    Then move the g down a fret to the 8th and leave the other fingers as you started.  Play each note cleanly with no muting.
    Then move the d down a fret to the 8th and keep your fingers in the new positions.  Play each note cleanly with no muting.
    At this stage all four fingers are one fret lower than the starting position.
    Start all over again from the new position.
    When you reach your limit, stop as you may hurt your hand but over time you will get further down the fretboard. 

    Sorry as this reads very confusing but it works.  Stick with it.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • SnagsSnags Frets: 481
    Thanks all. And @Rocker   your description makes perfect sense.
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 547
    I hang myself out the bedroom window 
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