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Learn to Burn I: Warm-Up Exercises

Al Olson Jr. (278) · [archive]
Style: Basics · Level: Intermediate · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2 3

This installment of the Learn to Burn series deals with warm up exercises and finger coordination. Just like a pro athlete, you need a proper warm up routine before you begin to tackle strenuous and difficult tasks. For example, you will never see a pro baseball or football player run or exert themselves before stretching.

The same thing applies to playing the guitar. Playing long, fast, complex runs or passages can be very hard on your tendons and ligaments. The longer and more intense your practice session is the more you need to properly and thoroughly warm up your hands. Practicing these proper warm up exercises before your normal playing session will increase your accuracy, coordination and speed. More flexibility, strength and independence in your fingers are also benefits of these exercises.

I must stress that warm up exercises are very important and are overlooked by many players. All the great players have some type of warm up routine that they follow. This routine is a great contributing factor to their incredible technique and speed.

Keep in mind that you are training your fingers and these exercises should be played slow at first so you maintain a clean and fluid tone. A metronome is recommended. Start at a speed that you are comfortable with. Lets say for example you start at 60 bpm (beats per minute). Play at this speed until it is no longer a challenge. Then increase your metronome speed by 8 bpm. If this increase seems like it is too much, back it off by 2 bpm and it wont seem as challenging.

Our first exercise is an ascending and descending chromatic exercise in groups of four. Alternate pick this exercise starting with a downstroke. Continue this pattern to the twelfth position (12th fret). Then reverse the process and play the exercise backwards until you end up in your original starting position.
Learn to Burn I: Warm-Up Exercises