Spider Walk: Warming Up, Finger and Timing Exercise for Bass

This is a nice exercise sequence for beginners and intermediate bass players to warm up your fingers and sharpen your time feel.

Spider Walk: Warming Up, Finger and Timing Exercise for Bass
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This is a nice sequence to warm up your fingers and sharpen your time feel before doing other practice routines, listen to your metronome and make sure that every note lands on the beat.

Also make sure that you play your notes consistently, play nice and even (work on that too!) let the notes flow into each other, with no daylight in between. Or try playing various techniques such as staccato or swing.

Mind your plucking - or picking hand too, alternate your fingers systematically and if u use a pick alternate your up - and down strokes consistently.

Tuning: EADG
Use the one fret per finger technique
Timing: 4/4

Finger numbers: 1 = index // 2 = middle // 3 = ring // 4 = pinky

Start with the metronome at 60 bpm and play each tone at every beat (quarter note):

   1  2  3  4    4  3  2  1   4   3  2  1    1  2  3  4 
G|----------6--/-7-----------|----------2--/-3-----------|
D|-------5-----|----6--------|-------3-----|----4--------|
A|----4--------|-------5-----|----4--------|-------5-----| play 2x
E|-3-----------|----------4--|-5-----------|----------6--|
Then double it up and switch to two tones per beat (eighth note):
G|----------66-/-77----------|----------22-/-33----------|
D|-------55----|----66-------|-------33----|----44-------|
A|----44-------|-------55----|----44-------|-------55----| play 2x
E|-33----------|----------44-|-55----------|----------66-|
Next the triplet, three tones per beat:
G|----------666/-777---------|----------222/-333---------|
D|-------555---|----666------|-------333---|----444------|
A|----444------|-------555---|----444------|-------555---| play 2x
E|-333---------|----------444|-555---------|----------666|
Back to the eight note but now speed up your fretting hand and play two different notes per beat:
G|-----6/7-----|-----2/3-----|-----6/7-----|-----2/3-----|
D|----5---6----|----3---4----|----5---6----|----3---4----|
A|--4-------5--|--4-------5--|--4-------5--|--4-------5--| play 1x ;-)
E|-3---------4-|-5---------6-|-3---------4-|-5---------6-|
Now double the notes and speed it up to four tones per beat (sixteenth note):
G|--------66/77--------|--------22/33--------|
D|------55-----66------|------33-----44------|
A|---44-----------55---|---44-----------55---| play 2x
E|-33---------------44-|-55---------------66-|
If you can't manage the sixteenth notes at this speed start a little slower, step up in tempo if you can do them faster.

Go back to the top and start all over with the quarter note... Etc etc

A bad example (by me) of how this sequence progresses, need some work!


To make this exercise more interesting for your time feel you can slow down your metronome to 30 bpm and play your bass notes at the same speed as above (60 bpm) with the clicks at the first and third beat of the four beat bar, or even at the second and fourth beat. Keep counting in your head or tap your foot to keep your timing spot on.

If your time feel is really good you can slow down your metronome to 15 bpm and only have one click per four beat bar, start playing at the first click of the first bar and see if you can land your fifth note right on the first beat of the next bar... Even more difficult, try this at the second, third or fourth beat.

And by adding some string-crossing you can make this exercise even more challenging, like so:
   1  3  2  4    4  2  3  1    4  2  3  1    1  3  2  4 
G|----------6--/-7-----------|----------2--/-3-----------|
D|----5--------|-------6-----|----3--------|-------4-----|
A|-------4-----|----5--------|-------4-----|----5--------| etc etc
E|-3-----------|----------4--|-5-----------|----------6--|
Try it and you'll see that this exercise, when done daily for about ten minutes or so, can make a real difference in your bass playing. Have fun with it!

Note: a few years ago I've seen this exercise somewhere on the interweb, but i can't remember where or who... I only added the triplet and string crossing bits to spice things up. So, if you are the maker of this particular "Spider Walk" exercise please let me know and the credits will all be yours.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Genadeloos_666
    Yeah... yeah... i know... it should be "plucking hand" instead of "plugging hand".... English is not my native language so forgive me my language errors...
    sol_afro_within
    i believe ive seen the final exercise in john petrucci's rock discipline, its a hybrid between his left and his right hand warm-up exercises
    Harca40
    Great exercise building up my endurance and timing in both hands, I have to be careful with it, It could almost be considered enhanced interrogation techniques.