Guitar Warm-Up Exercises
As a long time guitar teacher, I often notice that many of my students do not go through any guitar warm-up exercises before they practice their guitar. They simply just pick up the guitar and start blazing on different speed picking techniques or whatever they might be working on at the time.
Not only is this limiting your actual progress, but it can actually hurt you if you’re not warmed up before you start putting your hands and fingers through strenuous challenges immediately upon picking up the guitar.
Now, I know there are some that might say “I don’t need to warm up” that I can play just as fast from the moment I pick the guitar up until the moment I set it down. Maybe that is the case for some, but.. I highly recommend that you DO some guitar warm-up exercises before your actual practice time.
What you might not realize is that you may be holding yourself back from your full potential.
You’ve probably heard somebody say (after playing a 45 minute set) “I can’t believe the set is over I was just getting warmed up”. Well it’s true, but here’s the biggest issue, if you allow yourself just 10 or 15 minutes of warm up time, you’ll start off in your sweet spot and then rapidly start to progress.
Guitar Warm-Up Exercises Will Improve Your Band Performances, And Tighten Your Overall Guitar Skills.
Here’s what I recommend for a good solid guitar warm up. Start off slow (this is very important) and be very accurate with your alternate picking. Keep your mental focus locked in on your left and right hand being in sync with each other. Here’s what you should practice..
This is a simple chromatic pattern that will warm up all your fingers simultaneously and lock in your synchronicity.
Use your (1) index finger, (2) middle finger, (3) ring finger (4) Pinky. Use Alternate picking for every movement made. Go slow! Only go about 10% of your capable speed. The purpose is not to build speed, the purpose is to loosen up, stretch your fingers and tendons, as well as getting your mind laser focused. Play as loose as possible, try not to tense up at all. Just let the exercise happen as freely as possible with clarity, consistency, and distinction.
Here’s Your Guitar Warm-Up Exercises:
6th string – 1st fret, 2nd, 3rd, 4th,
5th string – 1st fret, 2nd, 3rd, 4th,
4th string – 1st fret, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
3rd string – 1st fret, 2nd, 3rd, 4th,
2nd string – 1st fret, 2nd, 3rd, 4th,
1st string – 1st fret, 2nd, 3rd, 4th,
Then reverse it back down.
1st string – 4th fret, 3rd, 2nd, 1st
2nd string – 4th fret, 3rd, 2nd, 1st
3rd string – 4th fret, 3rd, 2nd, 1st
4th string – 4th fret, 3rd, 2nd, 1st
5th string – 4th fret, 3rd, 2nd, 1st
6th string – 4th fret, 3rd, 2nd, 1st
You want to repeat this exercise for each and every fret all the way up to the 12th fret, and then work your way back down. (the next fret series would be 2nd, 3rd, 4th,5th, frets – then 3rd, 4th,5th,6th frets and so on…) I suggest doing this entire warm up 5 full times, all the way up the neck and all the way back down the neck.
If you allow yourself to do these exact guitar warm-up exercises every time before you begin practicing, you’ll notice that you’ll be like a race horse waiting to bust out of the gate. When it comes time to actually start your practice routine, you’ll be so much more accurate and your speed will seem effortless.
The key to this whole thing is going slow, allowing yourself 5 complete times up and down the neck, focusing on the left and right hand being in sync, and distinct alternate picking. This may seem boring, but if you’re doing this properly, you won’t be thinking about how boring it is because you’re not trying to play a piece of music, you’re allowing yourself to become prepared for battle, so to speak. This is the golden rule for guitar speed success.