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Guitar Finger Exercise for Beginners | Peter Gunn Theme

Today we’re going to look at a guitar finger exercise disguised as the Peter Gunn theme. Some of you may know it as the Blues Brothers theme, depending on how old you are. This was originally written by Henri Mancini for the Peter Gunn Show. In the 1980’s the Blues Brothers recorded their own version which became a hit.

We’re going to play this theme on the sixth string and use all four fingers for a great guitar finger exercise for beginners. 

Getting Started

You could play this theme with just three fingers of your left hand, using your index, middle and ring finger. However, we’re going to turn it into an exercise for all four fingers. This will help you further develop your pinky. Chances are your pinky could benefit from some extra work. This is true if you have been playing for a while and especially true if you are new to the guitar.

 We’re going to play down strokes on the right hand for simplicity's sake and for keeping our focus on the left hand.

Playing It

Start by plucking the open sixth string (low E) twice. Then place your index finger on the sixth string, second fret and pluck it once, release and pluck again on the open sixth string. After that, place your middle finger on the sixth string third fret and pluck, release and pluck that open sixth string. Then place your pinky on the sixth string, fifth fret and pluck, then go down to the fourth fret with your ring finger and pluck.

Do it slowly at first to make sure you got the correct order. To get the most out of this, pay close attention to exactly where you’re placing the fingers of your left hand. Try to get your fingers to go right before the fret, and never on top of it. This will help ensure that you get to play with the least amount of tension in your left hand. Practicing this will help you get in the habit of placing your fingers right where they need to go.

one string riff

Speeding Up Slowly

Once you can play this exercise slowly, try speeding it up a little. Take your time and make sure you are placing the fingers in the correct position and that your hand is relatively relaxed. When you have mastered the exercise, then try playing it along with the backing track that I created to help specifically with this. It is a drum track that will help you play in time and make sure you stay with the beat. Try playing this exercise continuously with the backing track to ensure you can execute it well. 


It is important to start slowly and to make sure that your fingers are getting to the right place at the right time. You can then speed it up little by little. By doing this, you’re developing good habits that will serve you well on your guitar journey. Remember to play it right before increasing the speed. 

If you’d like some more help with learning guitar, check out my Real Guitar Success guitar learning system and see how much fun learning guitar can really be. Remember to have fun.

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