Become A Guitar God - Heat Those Fingers

This is the second lesson in the "Become A Guitar God" series and will focus on exercises that should be completed in order for the guitarist to be ready to blitz the fretboard.

Ultimate Guitar
Hello students and welcome to the second lesson in the "Become A Guitar God" Series! I would also like to apologise for this lesson coming late. A lot of problems in my personal life have made it impossible for me to sit down and create this lesson for you, but it is finally here. This is the second instalment in a series of lessons that will be aims at guiding you from whatever current skill level you are at to legendary status amongst the people around you. This second lesson will focus on the stage that I like to call the "Informational Warm Up" stage. This involves feeding your muscles lower difficulty information in order for them to alert themselves to the task that will be at hand, no pun intended.

Section 1: Informational Priorities

In the last lesson we touched on the idea of muscular memory and how it can both improve how you play but at the same time hinder you. To combat this we want to make sure that we create a list of what I call informational priorities. Informational priorities are the things you will constantly be aware of whilst you are warming up and playing. These priorities are important as they will allow you to slow down and analyse your playing and make sure that bad habits are not formed within your practice sessions. The following rules are made easier to remember by forming the word "Priority."
  • Purposeful Playing.
  • Repetition Reels Results.
  • Information Inclusion.
  • Optimize Organisation.
  • Record Results.
  • Involve Influences.
  • Trash That Tension.
  • You Need a Metronome. Okay so that is the list, though most are self explanatory I will now go through them and explain in better detail for you.
  • Purposeful Playing - This is a priority as many guitarists will pick up there guitars and just play anything, whether it be an exercise or a song. This can have its benefits but most of the time just acts as a distraction and slows your learning process down. I propose that you really think about the aspects of your playing that you want to improve, for example are you struggling with that Metallica riff. Okay, sit down and analyse what you are struggling with (maybe its the alternate picking whilst crossing strings) and practice it.
  • Repetition Reels Results - Now this, I am sure, you have heard many times before, "Practice makes perfect". There is a reason you have heard it many times, BECAUSE ITS TRUE. Did you know that on average it takes around 10 thousand hours to master a skill. But that means 10 thousand hours of dedicated practice time. NOT 10 thousand hours of playing random music. Make sure you practice your weaknesses and practice them until they are your strengths.
  • Information Inclusion - This one involves us going out and gathering information about the guitar, like. What scales work well over certain chords? What notes do my favourite guitarists use in that solo I really like, and why? What exercises will improve this part of my playing? Yes i am going to provide you with the answers for these questions and many more in my lessons but at some point you will want to know something that maybe i haven't touched on yet. It is then down to you to research it for yourself. I promise you that all the greats have done this.
  • Optimize Organisation - Do you know exactly what you are going to practice and when you are going to practice it? Do you know how long your going to practice it for? This is an aspect of guitaring that many players don't recognise. You NEED to organise your playing. I will help with this aspect in my lessons. But before I do that try combining the previous priorities and creating a small schedule for yourself where you aim to tackle your weaknesses.
  • Record Results - This one is another aspect that many guitarist do not adhere to. Try and record all of your practice sessions, it will help you hear how you are coming along in your playing. Was there a certain exercise you felt you struggled with? Go back and listen to it and hear how and where you were going on, this way you know what to focus your attention on. On the other hand maybe you had an amazing session and want to listen back to how well you played some of those licks.
  • Involve Influences - Why did you start the guitar? Think about all the guitarists that inspire you when you listen to them, we all have them. Listen to them and get motivated. Once you have listened to them study how they play. What chord progressions did they use and what notes did they play over them? Once you begin to see how the greats do it, you will begin adding it into your own playing.
  • Trash That Tension - Tension is the biggest killer within the guitar playing universe. Make a note to focus on the amount of pressure you are applying to the fretboard and make sure that you practice with as little tension as possible. You can do this by adjusting your posture and keeping to tempos that your hands can cope with. Another way to cope with this is to make sure you begin your informational warm up with another hand stretching exercise.
  • You Need a Metronome - This simple piece of equipment (Or even software) plays a massive part in your journey. Treasure it and it will guide you click by click. It is essential as it helps you with your timing and makes sure that you are playing at a tempo that your hands are comfortable with. Okay so these are your informational priorities which will guide your playing and speed up your overall learning process. Now we will begin to add these to a small warm up schedule.

    Section 2: The Informational Warm Up

    Okay this warm up schedule will be different for every guitarist and needs to be tailored to the specific needs of that individual so the warm-up I am writing here is just a template (If it relates to you then please use it). However if you feel it does not apply to you then message me and I will create you a schedule within two days of receiving your message guaranteed. Okay first we will start with P and I and make sure that everything in my warm Up is tailored to what I want to progress. In this case I feel that my sweeps are falling behind a bit so I would then research different styles of sweeping and find that the two distinct patterns that and they are major and minor. I then choose a major/minor sweep I would like to practice and add it to a list. Warm Up List:
  • 3 String Major/Minor Pattern Sweeps I would then remember that to decrease tension I need a hand stretching exercise, this adds T into the equation. Warm Up List:
  • Hand Stretching Exercise (Figure 1)
  • 3 String Major Pattern Sweeps (Figure 2) Then you can add an I into it by motivating yourself with guitarists that are masters of sweep picking. A perfect example would be Yngwie Malmsteen or Frank Gambale. Now this isn't added to the list because I would recommend having a 10-15 minute motivation period before you even pick up the guitar. It is at this point I would turn on any recording device I am using along with my metronome which is set at a pretty slow pace, for this I would say 45bpm. Now that is REALLY slow but that is the point, this is just a warm up after all. This completes the R and Y criteria. Now we get to playing we decide that we want to stretch, using our hand exercise, for around 5 minutes and then follow this up by playing the 3 string major scale pattern for an additional 5 minutes. we would then repeat these exercises for their allotted time. This completes the second R criteria. To finish this warm up we will trick our hands into playing a different non-related exercise for a further 5 minutes, which is used by all guitarists and is a classic warm-up exercise shown below in Figure 3. These three exercises come together and create a well organised and personalised warm Up routine which will have your fingers on red alert, ready to blitz your fretboard. This completes the O and therefore our whole Priority method. Below are the three figures that correspond with the warm up schedule. Figure 1 (Recommended 50bpm)
    Continues this pattern until you reach the 6th string (which should be the 7th fret). Then return to the starting position. Figure 2 (Recommended 45bpm)
    This is a simple C Major arpeggio. Keep repeating this pattern until the allotted time is completed. Figure 3 (Recommended 60bpm)
    Continue this pattern until you reach the end of your fretboard and then return down the fretboard. Continue until the allotted time runs out. This would then conclude the warm up period of the session. As I stated this is tailored to someone with these issues, you may have more topics you want to touch in your warm up. If you would like to have a schedule created for you then please feel free to message me and it will be done and given to you within 2 days. The next lesson in the series will delve into the main part of your practice schedule, also known as the Construction phase. If you have any questions please feel free to comment or message me and I will reply as soon as possible, again I am sorry for the delay. Your GodlyGuitarGuru
  • 32 comments sorted by best / new / date

      This is a pretty relevant video I think, especially for warm ups. Great lesson too!
      VERY good! As a beginner, I found this very useful. Now I can practice more interesting skills.
      Joe Satriani, an amazing guitarist who uses many amazing techniques. I plan on beginning an influences column, aimed at focusing in on amazing musicians from around the world and Joe Satriani will be one. Let me know what you think and who should be in this column
      You definately need to include Jason Becker
      Ben Sherman - You should check out his Cliffs of Dover!
      That's not his song, it's Eric Johnson's and he doesn't do it very well.
      Great Lesson. I hope all this will improve my position playing. I need it to fingerpick better on my acoustic! Loved the Joe Satriani video too. Makes sense. Now off to practice!
      I didn't think I would use this lesson much but ther very next day after reading this I was able to write a sweet neo-classical riff using that second example! It's amazing what a simple shape combined with a basic knowledge of music theory can do for your writing skills. Thanks for the lesson!!!
      I don't know that someone far away from my country (argentina) thinks like that while practicing and making a sorta philosophy of the art of playing music on the guitar. I did exactly on my own as you explained six years ago. and hey did you know as far as it took me to?? I can master 8 finger tapping and all-hammer legato alla holdworth, plus all the others techniques. (except percussive finger-style, this blows my brains up)
      I can't imagine doing that simple 3 string arpeggio for 5 minutes straight. Probably isn't the best warmup either, being that it only uses 3 fingers. Maybe alternating C major and C minor would help, or extend it into a 4 or 5 string arpeggio rather than just 3.
      I thought for a second that this article would literally be about warming up your hands. Cold hands have less blood running to them, slowing them down.
      hey my biggest issue now is picking up speed, and i like the way the warm up is organized but im not sure on what to play for the exercise
      I religiously opened your exercise thinking you have some godly exercises. But alas all I can see are fairly basic beginner exercises which can at max make us average mortals. You should try lots of trilling (rapid hammer ons & pull offs), chromatic stretching etc. Also you should try that 1234 chromatic exercise using only hammer-on, then hammer-on + pull-off throughout the fretboard.