Pre-Playing Warm-ups

author: A3r0sm1th date: 03/23/2009 category: correct practice
rating: 9.5 / votes: 45 
So basically what I do before playing everyday is these quick little exercises to build finger strength and alternate picking skills. Most of the scales I put on here are nothing special, actually, you can pretty much start them wherever you like. Most don't usually sound so good since there is no rhyme or reason to the notes you hit, but these scales serve a purpose. They are patterns to build up skills for quick riffs and soloing. First what I am going to put down here are basic up and down scale motions. Note which fingers to use (this is critical in order to strengthen all fingers). Note: For every scale from now on, try doing it by using hammer ons and pull offs after you do it the way shown. Also, always use alternate picking. 1} Use Index and Middle Fingers here
e-|------------------------1-2-1------------------------|
B-|--------------------1-2-------2-1--------------------|
G-|----------------1-2---------------2-1----------------|
D-|------------1-2-----------------------2-1------------|
A-|--------1-2-------------------------------2-1--------|
E-|----1-2---------------------------------------2-1----|
2} Use Middle and Ring Fingers here
e-|------------------------2-3-2------------------------|
B-|--------------------2-3-------3-2--------------------|
G-|----------------2-3---------------3-2----------------|
D-|------------2-3-----------------------3-2------------|
A-|--------2-3-------------------------------3-2--------|
E-|----2-3---------------------------------------3-2----|
3} Use Ring and Pinky here
e-|------------------------3-4-3------------------------|
B-|--------------------3-4-------4-3--------------------|
G-|----------------3-4---------------4-3----------------|
D-|------------3-4-----------------------4-3------------|
A-|--------3-4-------------------------------4-3--------|
E-|----3-4---------------------------------------4-3----|
Alright, now let's start to switch around fingers, shall we? 4} Use Index and Ring Fingers here
e-|------------------------1-3-1------------------------|
B-|--------------------1-3-------3-1--------------------|
G-|----------------1-3---------------3-1----------------|
D-|------------1-3-----------------------3-1------------|
A-|--------1-3-------------------------------3-1--------|
E-|----1-3---------------------------------------3-1----|
5} Use Middle and Pinky here
e-|------------------------2-4-2------------------------|
B-|--------------------2-4-------4-2--------------------|
G-|----------------2-4---------------4-2----------------|
D-|------------2-4-----------------------4-2------------|
A-|--------2-4-------------------------------4-2--------|
E-|----2-4---------------------------------------4-2----|
6} Use Index and Pinky here
e-|------------------------1-4-1------------------------|
B-|--------------------1-4-------4-1--------------------|
G-|----------------1-4---------------4-1----------------|
D-|------------1-4-----------------------4-1------------|
A-|--------1-4-------------------------------4-1--------|
E-|----1-4---------------------------------------4-1----|
You can also try stretching those fingers to farther frets like so... 7} Use Index and Pinky again
e-|------------------------1-5-1------------------------|
B-|--------------------1-5-------5-1--------------------|
G-|----------------1-5---------------5-1----------------|
D-|------------1-5-----------------------5-1------------|
A-|--------1-5-------------------------------5-1--------|
E-|----1-5---------------------------------------5-1----|
Start mixing these combinations and playing them on higher frets to get better at soloing 8} Use Index and Ring on the 1&3's: Middle and pinky on 2&4's
e-|------------------------2-4-2------------------------|
B-|--------------------1-3-------3-1--------------------|
G-|----------------2-4---------------4-2----------------|
D-|------------1-3-----------------------3-1------------|
A-|--------2-4-------------------------------4-2--------|
E-|----1-3---------------------------------------3-1----|
9} Use Index and Pinky on 1&4's: Middle and Index on 2&3's
e-|------------------------2-3-2------------------------|
B-|--------------------1-4-------4-1--------------------|
G-|----------------2-3---------------3-2----------------|
D-|------------1-4-----------------------4-1------------|
A-|--------2-3-------------------------------3-2--------|
E-|----1-4---------------------------------------4-1----|
Start making your own too! There doesn't have to be a specific pattern to follow every time; however, make sure you use all four fingers for the best results. Now let's try skipping strings. Instead of just going to the next string, let's jump one! 10} Use Index and Ring Fingers
e-|-----------------------------------------------------|
B-|--------------1-3-1----------------------------------|
G-|-----------------------------------------------------|
D-|---------1-3---------3-1-----------------------------|
A-|-----------------------------------------------------|
E-|----1-3-------------------3-1------------------------|
This should improve your accuracy with alternate picking. Let's try some more. 11} Use Middle and Pinky
e-|-----------------------------------------------------|
B-|--------------2-4-2----------------------------------|
G-|-----------------------------------------------------|
D-|---------2-4---------4-2-----------------------------|
A-|-----------------------------------------------------|
E-|----2-4-------------------4-2------------------------|
12} Use Index and Pinky
e-|-----------------------------------------------------|
B-|--------------1-4-1----------------------------------|
G-|-----------------------------------------------------|
D-|---------1-4---------4-1-----------------------------|
A-|-----------------------------------------------------|
E-|----1-4-------------------4-1------------------------|
Try some different strings 13} Use Index and Ring Fingers
e-|--------------1-3-1----------------------------------|
B-|-----------------------------------------------------|
G-|---------1-3---------3-1-----------------------------|
D-|-----------------------------------------------------|
A-|----1-3-------------------3-1------------------------|
E-|-----------------------------------------------------|
Ok, ok you get the point. Try using all of the patterns so far and skip around with them. As you probably know, songs don't always have notes on the string directly next to the one you are already on. Also, think about trying to stretch up to higher notes and using more than two notes with these same patterns like so... 14} 1=Index 2=Middle 3=Ring 4=Pinky
e-|------------------------------2-4-2------------------------------|
B-|------------------------1-3-5-------5-3-1------------------------|
G-|--------------------2-4-------------------4-2--------------------|
D-|--------------1-3-5---------------------------5-3-1--------------|
A-|----------2-4---------------------------------------4-2----------|
E-|----1-3-5-----------------------------------------------5-3-1----|
You obviously get the point if you've continued reading my text up until now. Note that you can start these patterns on any fret. For example: If you would like to practice soloing on the higher frets, you could take one of the above patterns and start it around the 12th fret or higher. Try these... 15} 12=Index 13=Middle 14=Ring 15=Pinky
e-|-------------------------------13-15-13-------------------------------|
B-|-------------------------12-14----------14-12-------------------------|
G-|-------------------13-15----------------------15-13-------------------|
D-|-------------12-14----------------------------------14-12-------------|
A-|-------13-15----------------------------------------------15-13-------|
E-|-12-14----------------------------------------------------------14-12-|
16} 12=Index 13=Middle 14=Ring 15=Pinky
e-|-------------------------------12-14-12-------------------------------|
B-|-------------------------13-15----------15-13-------------------------|
G-|-------------------12-14----------------------14-12-------------------|
D-|-------------13-15----------------------------------15-13-------------|
A-|-------12-14----------------------------------------------14-12-------|
E-|-13-15----------------------------------------------------------15-13-|
If you are an extremely serious soloist, then try starting the two above patterns on the 15 or even the 17th frets! As you do them more and more, try and speed up the tempo. Another warm up I use, especially for soloing, is the Em Pentatonic scale. I'll jot it down here for ya: 17} Em Pentatonic: 12=Index 14=Ring 15=Pinky
e-|--------------------------------12-15-12--------------------------------|
B-|--------------------------12-15----------15-12--------------------------|
G-|--------------------12-14----------------------14-12--------------------|
D-|--------------12-14----------------------------------14-12--------------|
A-|--------12-14----------------------------------------------14-12--------|
E-|--12-15----------------------------------------------------------15-12--|
So basically, that's how I start playing guitar before I get into all the other stuff like songs and such. You don't have to do any of this exactly how I wrote it; I just want to give you and idea of how I warm up and show you ways to build dexterity, speed, and strength in your fingers. Another way to practice these techniques is by taking small sections of solos or riffs from your favorite songs and learning those, or even using them as warm ups. I hope you enjoyed, and hopefully learned something from this lesson!
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