Welcome to GuitarCardio.com

Hi. I’m Brad Heintz, author & proprietor of GuitarCardio.com.

I play the guitar. Like pretty much everyone else who plays the guitar, I have to practice or I start to suck – my fingers get slow and clumsy, and playing the music becomes about making sure my fingers are in the right places instead of feeling what I’m doing.

Like most people who have to practice at something, I found that the practice & warm-up part of my routine got stale pretty quickly, and that I was just running through the same scales again and again, not really stretching my finger skills or my knowledge of music theory.

I’m also a software engineer. And like most software engineers, my first approach to a problem – any problem – is to try to write a solution.

Thus was born GuitarCardio.com, the practice tool that keeps my practice sessions and warm-ups fresh and challenging. I tell it what keys I want to work in, what scales I want to practice, and how hard I want the exercise to be, and I get a customized practice regimen on the spot. I’m pretty pleased with it – it’s done a tremendous job of scratching my particular itch, and I’ve put it on the web to see if it can’t maybe help someone else as well.

It’s a work in progress (and on the web, what isn’t?), and I’ll be adding more scale types and new drills and hopefully down the road I might even get to features like ear training and throwing in a bulit-in metronome and whatnot. For now, though, it’s helping me keep my practice sessions real and pushing me in ways I wasn’t pushing myself – and the process of making software that automatically generates scales has been an education in itself.

If you play guitar, I invite you to try it out, and visit me back here at the blog to share what you thought was good about it, and what you thought was missing.

Keep up the practice!

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32 comments ↓

#1 Connor on 07.09.08 at 7:35 pm

Hey, this is a great idea, but how about this-

support for alternate tunings? I was about to do some exercises and I’m like, “wait, I’m not tuning my guitar up for this.”

I could just shift everything down a few frets but it would be a lot easier and better if you had a little drop down box for different tunings. I don’t think it would be too hard to program either?

#2 Brad on 07.09.08 at 9:35 pm

Connor – First, thanks for breaking in the comments section!

Support for alternate tunings is one of a whole mountain of features I have in mind for the future of this site – and I’m in the middle of prioritizing that mountain right now. Feedback like you just gave is extremely helpful in that process of choosing what to do next, and I’m grateful that you took the time.

I play in alternate tunings myself (especially DGDGBD – good for lots of Stones songs), so I understand where you’re coming from on this.

In the near future, I’ll be posting about next steps for the site, including details of the next revision, which will include user profiles and choosing your favorite exercise setup.

Again, thanks for commenting. Cheers!

#3 Prakash on 07.09.08 at 9:47 pm

Hey Brad,
This is a novel site indeed! Thanks for starting this.
I am a decent guitarist myself (and a software engineer too!), and I will definitely try to utilize the warm-up techniques you post here. I’m pretty bored with my own practice routine. It involves just doing some finger-stretching exercises, some scale rundowns, and then I’m on to my music. Definitely needs an overhaul.

I’ll be checking this blog regularly for new exercises (I’ve subscribed to its feed). Thanks once again!

Cheers!

#4 Sporkboy on 07.09.08 at 11:45 pm

More scales/modes would be awesome. I’ve been trying to break out of my pentatonic/major/minor box forever and some drills outside of that format would be perfect. I love what you’ve got so far though, I have a few students now that I’m about to point right at your site and tell them to use the drills on it at least three times a week.

#5 Tye on 07.09.08 at 11:56 pm

Just thought I’d let you know I spent about an hour working with your page. It’s a great help! Thanks for hosting/creating.

#6 Fred on 07.10.08 at 1:12 am

Brad,

I just stumbled across your site… and I have to say, I really like the idea. I’m not a terribly good guitarist and I hope I can use your website to attempt to improve myself!

As I explored your software, however, I realized something… there’s no way in hell I’m _EVER_ going to remember to come back here tomorrow. Well, maybe tomorrow. But your site sits among my unorganized mountain of bookmarks, and while I would like to make a trip here every day to work on a few exercises, I know I will simply end up forgetting.

To fix this issue, I was wondering if you had any interest in an iGoogle gadget? I’ve never written a gadget for iGoogle but I’d certainly love to try and it doesn’t look incredibly hard. Having iGoogle fetch me a couple exercises every day would be absolutely fantastic and would probably guarantee that I worked my fingers out a little bit – and I’m sure I’m not the only person that’s true for.

I figured I could probably hack out a gadget that sort-of-worked on my own, but I tought having your blessing would be a good thing, especially after seeing the authenticity tokens… Maybe you can provide some sort of simple interface for getting exercises or provide a constant authenticity token for me to use with the software? Just a few ideas.

Let me know if you’re interested. You should have my email from this comment. If you are planning on implementing yourself or you don’t have the time needed to make it compatible with a gadget I would understand too – as a fellow web dev my time is often short as well.

Brilliant idea! Thanks again.

#7 Brad on 07.10.08 at 6:56 am

Prakash – I’ll be adding more scale types and exercises, and other kinds of exercises. For example, I’m currently looking into chord transition exercise based on CAGED chords.

Tye – I’m glad you found it so useful! I hope to see you back soon.

Sporkboy – Thanks for the feedback, and I can’t tell you how good it is to hear that you think this is worth your students’ time. Keep coming back and watching for new features!

#8 Brad on 07.10.08 at 6:58 am

Fred – I have a lot on my plate already, but it certainly has occurred to me to add a web API to GuitarCardio.com and open it up for Facebook and other kinds of apps. Stay tuned – I’ll be in touch as soon as I have some spare cycles to devote to the idea.

#9 Peter on 07.10.08 at 9:43 am

I ‘Stumbled’ on this site and think it’s great. I just started playing again after a twenty five year break. It offers a more interesting way to get those four sausage fingers on my left hand back into shape. Especially that little finger that seems to belong to some one else.
I’m now using your site everyday.
Thank you.

#10 Brad on 07.10.08 at 9:48 am

Peter – I feel the pain in that fourth finger. The good news is, it gets better when you keep at it.

Thank you for the kind words, and I hope you do keep coming back – and even more importantly, that you keep picking up that guitar.

#11 Gerrit on 07.10.08 at 1:57 pm

Hello 🙂

Just stumbled upon this site and gave it a “thumb up” instantly!

I think a little flash metronome with manual tempo adjustment would be VERY useful. Maybe you should give that task a higher priority than adding new scales.

Everythin else is fine. Nice clean and functional design.

Thanks

Gerrit

#12 Brad on 07.10.08 at 5:02 pm

Gerrit – Thanks for the stumble! And for your feedback – the metronome feature suggestion is one I’m hearing a lot, so I’m looking at options to implementing it.

Thanks again, and I hope to see you back soon.

#13 Matt on 07.11.08 at 8:51 am

Brad,

Great tool. I wanted to suggest a mode selection for the scales, ie Ionian(I), Dorian(ii), Phrygian(iii), Lydian (IV), etc. You could easily expand that to include other scales such as the Harmonic Minor, Jazz minor, etc.

Then branching out, what about an arpeggios generator for the diatonic chords for each of these scales? You could build it such that expansion to polychords would be an easy move, as well as adding extensions, like 11 and b13’s, to the arpeggios.

Your tool is a great for any level of musician, and as an experienced player and teacher, it I look forward to checking back and seeing what you do next.

If you are interested please drop me a line to discuss some of the resources I’ve used over the years.

Matt

#14 Brad on 07.11.08 at 9:44 am

Matt – I’ll almost certainly take you up on that and drop you a line. And thanks for the feedback and suggestions.

In the next two or three days, I’ll be posting about all this great feedback I’m getting and what I plan to implement next.

Until then, thanks for the kind words and I hope to see you back soon.

#15 Josh on 07.13.08 at 5:06 am

Hey, I’ve recently decided to upgrade my guitar playing from rhythm to lead and these exercises seem perfect to help me on my way. Adding the modes would be incredibly useful for me as I play thrash metal so a lot of my songs are in ‘odd’ or even non-existent keys, haha.

Thanks for the great tool.

#16 =brian on 07.13.08 at 12:45 pm

Great site, lots of potential. You are getting lots of suggestions, maybe too many. To throw more fuel on the fire: You might consider releasing some of the lessons in tabedit format.

I play guitar, but these days my heart belongs to the mandolin. (Perfect fifths…) If you ever put together mandolincardio, I want to support it.

#17 Brad on 07.13.08 at 1:20 pm

Brian – Believe it or not, you’re the second person to suggest mandolincardio.com.

Thanks for coming, and for your suggestions. Hope to see you back soon!

#18 Alex on 07.13.08 at 10:29 pm

Very nice site. Have you considered a version as an iPhone/iPod touch application? Can’t really beat the portability.

#19 Brad on 07.14.08 at 4:30 pm

Alex – I have considered an iPhone app, or at least tuning the site for the iPhone browser. Guitar tab takes up a lot of screen space, though, so I’m not sure how it would go.

But still, it’s worth checking out – and it’s in my backlog of features to prioritize.

#20 emo on 07.20.08 at 7:08 am

hey thats perfectt bye xx:emoo girl

#21 ema on 07.24.08 at 4:13 pm

porque yo no entiendo casi nada porque esta en ingles, entonces quisiera que la pongan en espanol.por favor . si lo hacen me van a hacer un favor

#22 Peter on 07.25.08 at 2:42 am

Found this site from a link on another Guitar Blog. Great site. I have been playing guitar on and off for years. Have finally decided that I want to be as good a player as I can be and that means practicing regularly. Will be using this site as part of my regular scale practice. I find it is very useful to change my practice routine regularly as this keeps things fresh. Can’t wait for any other sections you put up here. Arpeggios, Modes and Chords. Keep up the great work.

#23 Brad on 07.27.08 at 9:37 pm

Ema – Lo siento, pero mi Español no es el mejor. No puedo hacerlo ahora, pero voy a recordar su sugerencia. ¡Gracias!

#24 Brad on 07.27.08 at 9:39 pm

Peter – Thanks! I’ll be rolling out new features, starting with user logins, very shortly.

Thanks for visiting, and I hope to see you back soon.

#25 Pickyfingers on 08.15.08 at 5:35 am

I really like your site and practice with it everyday.

Good job.

#26 Brad on 08.15.08 at 6:54 am

Picky – I’m really glad to hear it. Thanks for coming back every day.

As soon as the current rush at my day job is over, I plan to add even more to the site for you, including modes, more scales, and product reviews.

#27 Nick on 12.03.08 at 11:50 pm

Hey buddy! I’m sorry I really don’t have time to read all the comments so someone may have said this already but some features that I think would give your site a heads up would be a feature to log your bpms on the metronome per exercise, I know they said built in metronome but having one with a “train” function like the boss dr beat where it will play however many measures, say 8, then increase 5 bpm or in higher bpm settings 1 bpm. And eventually adding arpeggios, atonal (not musical, basically just for hand strength, for example the spider exercise) and maybe even rhythm elements. Keep up the good work Brad, I hope my input helps you a little, if not, Im still a big fan.

#28 Nick on 12.03.08 at 11:56 pm

I also prefer to practice on an acoustic guitar so a feature to keep the notes maybe below the tenth or twelfth fret would be pretty nice to be able to check on and off.

#29 Brad on 12.10.08 at 10:10 am

Nick – A lot of what you suggest is in the development queue, but you have given me a couple of new thoughts. The development queue is slow (I’m one guy, with a day job), but it’s moving.

Thanks for commenting, and I hope you keep coming back. Keep an eye on the blog, I’ll be updating as new features come online.

#30 Dan on 02.27.11 at 7:59 am

This is the first guitsr website I have come across that
makes sense and seems practical.
When I bring my guitar in here I will start using it.
😉

#31 William on 09.10.13 at 11:39 am

I found this site through Reddit, and it has helped me really get back into playing like I used to when I was a teenager. But as a couple others have said, My heart belongs to Mandolin now, and I would also like to see a Mandolincardio.com someday! keep up the outstanding work!

#32 Kevin on 01.07.14 at 4:30 am

I was really enjoying this site but unfortunately there seems to be a technical problem: it now says “Ruby on Rails application could not be started”. Hope to see it online again soon!

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