Learn how pros warm up so YOU can get skilled on guitar in short order!
If you want to: warm up quicker on guitar without having to play through your favorite songs again and again to warm up, then this is for you! You will not only make your fingers and your picking hand loose and limber fast, you will also get productive coordination and strength– that you won’t get noodling through songs you already know by heart (that’s not practice-THIS IS!)
This is part II, so if you missed part one: Best guitar warm up & exercise! (Do THIS daily) – Guitar Woodshed (guitar-woodshed.com)
I’m going to show you how to warm up using 4 finger exercises on guitar in easy-to-follow steps, so you can:
- Sync left and right hand.
- Gain left hand finger strength.
- Cross strings smoothly without string interference.
- Accent note groupings.
- Learn to train ALL 4 left-hand fingers.
- Warm up and be ready to play MUCH FASTER ..
Guitarists who should do this and why
If you want to maximize your practice in minimal time (like if you don’t have a LOT of time to practice) then this will help you double your guitar training in half the time, as it works on your fundamental skills.
If you go in circles, and play the same random things over and over, this will train your essential skill sets INSTEAD OF NOODLING AROUND.
If you’re sloppy and shy away from using particular fingers on your fretting hand, this will help you overcome that.
Your favorite pro players know how to build skill on the guitar, and you should too.
The multiple skills covered in these two warm up exercises make them equal or greater to warming up by doing various other skills- only all in one! (So instead of 15 minutes noodling through a couple of songs, 5 minutes on these exercises surpasses just messing playing through stuff you already know).
Let’s look at two examples below that will fast track your skills!
Exercise Example 1 overview
Let’s walk through exercise one above (also refer to the video below!). We have a perfectly chromatic exercise on guitar here (chromatic refers to every single one of the twelve notes, in a row (E, F, F# etc). These exercises are perfectly chromatic in that they don’t skip a note, but go to the next note on the next string when crossing.
- Start with optimal finger placement- middle on the 12th fret, then index 11th fret on the thickest string as we ascend (go low pitch to high pitch).
- Third finger is on the 13th fret, and pinkie the 14th.
- The idea is to walk down one fret, then back up! This will put the fingers out of order, so it’s not just a row of index, middle, third, pinkie (that is a good starting place, and is in part one here: Best guitar warm up & exercise! (Do THIS daily) – Guitar Woodshed (guitar-woodshed.com)
- The string crossing will help you not only to stretch, but also to clear up string interference. As you play the last few notes on each string, anticipate the string cross to the next higher string- by bringing the index of the fretting hand close to where it’s going. Doing this in advance will help sync left and right hand and make the notes clear.
- NOTE PICKING DIRECTION! Follow the down-up indications below, for efficient picking.
These are groups of 8, so play each first note in a group of 8 accented (louder) to real feel them, and that will build an internal sense of rhythm, timing and where you’re at.
- Make a video of yourself playing the exercise.
- Ensure your fretting fingers hover just over the string you’re on, and it should resemble a crawling spider!
Exercise Example 2 overview
Let’s walk through exercise two above (also refer to the video below!))
- Going in reverse high-to-low means you’re going up a note, then down one. Again, perfectly chromatic.
- Start with optimal fingerings: the 9th fret thinnest string should be your ringer finger of the fretting hand.
- This is in reverse doing high-to-low (descending) so it’s again groups of 8, and you want to accent the first note in the group of 8 as you did above.
- Note the placement of your thumb: working the higher strings your fretting hand’s thumb is higher on the back of the neck on thinner strings, and lower on the thicker strings.
- Helpful hint: drop your wrist to make stretches in the fretting hand- you’ll have greater reach and more mobility.
- Each practice session, go a little quicker just outside your comfort zone, and you’ll get faster over time & practice.
Takeaway value & NEXT STEPS
After you have gotten the two exercises down (memorized, accurate and at a steady speed) you can expand. To expand, the next time you practice, start the exercise from two frets below OR above (transposing/shifting the pattern down/up).
Now you know how to warm up & use your time smart (more results in less time on guitar!)
Take the exercises and start them at a different fret each day, and get to know them around the neck.
You can also use these chromatic exercises as passages to a song/melody. (From C headed to E for example, you could walk up the row passing through C#, D, D# and sound far out).
Apply the picking direction and the note groupings to scales and single note melodies you craft- because now you’re gaining real technique.
Here’s PART I on guitar warmup exercises, don’t miss this!
Guitar warmup and exercises, part I: Best guitar warm up & exercise! (Do THIS daily) – Guitar Woodshed (guitar-woodshed.com)
Check out these videos BELOW for examples! (a playthrough and walkthrough of the examples)
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