This is an exercise that I use to warm-up with. I find it really helps with finger independence (getting each finger moving separately) because it forces you to produce the motion from your fingers instead of your hand (in fact, if you move your hand too much it actually makes this exercise harder to do!).
There are four main variations here, but the idea is basically the same; your hand is basically playing “diagonally” across the fretboard (as opposed to up/down the neck or across the strings). The fingering underneath refers to your fretting hand fingers, and the rhythm is two notes per beat (or metronome click).
Can you see how the shape of your hand kinda makes a diagonal line (from little finger on fret 8, to first finger on fret 5)? This shape starts on the low E string with your first finger, and gradually moves across the fretboard until only your little finger is left.
Once you’re happy with that idea, try taking it across the other way (i.e. starting with your little finger, and ending up on your first finger).
So, we’ve done from the 5th fret on the low E string, to the 8th fret on the high E string and back. Now comes the even more complicated bit (I did say it was extreme!). We’re now going to flip everything over so we’re going from the 5th fret on the high E string, to the 8th fret on the low E string:
…and then back…
Super Difficult Version
You can actually take this one a lot further, thanks to a guy called FreePower (check out his YouTube channel- FreepowerUG). The previous versions of this exercise are all my variations on the same theme, and are what I use to warm up with sometimes. This next one was created by FreePower and is the same idea, but you ignore the A and B strings.
Here is the tab:
Of course, you can take both variations together and end up with one, complete monster of an exercise!
Let me know if you come up with any variations of your own!