9 May 2011

Today’s Guitar Practice Tip: Warm Up

If you often feel intimidated by the idea of guitar practice warm ups can save you.warm-up


Racing car drivers warm up, athletes and dancers warm up… guitarists need to warm up too.


When you warm up you make a switch from your everyday mind set to your guitar playing mind set. You build momentum that gives you a sense of flow to work effortlessly on your guitar practice list.


Here are two of my favourite warm up exercises.


Pick a song, any song

Pick a song you know how to play fairly easily. You can use your song book or mp3 playlist to help you or just grab the first song that pops into your head.


Play through the song you’ve chosen at a steady tempo.


Kick off with someone else’s lick

This warm up is lots of fun too.


Pick a lick from a player you enjoy. Using that lick as a starting point make up and play five more licks.


A lick dictionary is a great source of inspiration for picking licks. Or you can take an exercise, sheet music or tab. Just pick one phrase, or one bar of the music as your starting point.


Keep It Simple

Remember, your warm up is a tool to break down your resistance to practice so make it something that’s easy and enjoyable for you to play.


What’s Your Warm Up?

What about you, do you use warm ups to kick-start your guitar practice? If so, what are your favourites? Let us know by leaving a comment using the link below.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Warming up is an important topic. I find it makes my practice session much more productive. I picked up an idea from Glenn Gould - I wash my hands in hot water before practicing. I thought this was unique, but then found a classically trained guitarist did the same.

Then I do some stretching and massaging of the fingers, hands, arms. There is a classically-trained guitarist on the Web that has covered this well and Petrucci also put this kind of thing on his "Rock Discipline" video.

There are a few things I always start with: a couple of chromatic scale exercises (one straight and one with string skipping) and some major scales working through the cycle of fifths played in different sequences.

I'd also recommend some of the "normal" shredder exercises -- the spider, the worm, the finger gym, hammer-on and pull-off exercises, etc. Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and John Petrucci have quite a few of these that are good no matter what style you play. Satriani's diagonal chord exercise is especially testing, and helpful.

I make a conscious effort at warming up before my morning practice (and am vowing to do so each time before I play). It helps me get into the zone more quickly and for a greater percent of my practice time.

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