Total Guitar Workout

Give yourself a guitar workout or just use these to warm up before playing. Some useful samples to help your bring your playing out of the shadows.

62
We all at one time in our guitar playing 'careers' come to the point where we feel we are not improving, you suddenly come to a stand still. This is where I'm at right now. I've been playing a mere 2 years now and I am struggling to see where I can go with my playing. I was talking to my dad who used to play guitar, infact, he still occasionaly does and he told me, 'Just keep playing and playing, practise'. Lets face it, practise is boring unless it is something you enjoy. I have come up with some workouts for lead playing and rhythm alike. Sweep picking, alternate picking, stamina, speed - it's all here. Recently I've found these to be very useful so I thought I'd post them is this lesson. My aim is to take you away from playing scales over and over again to improve your playing and to try and make your practise time a little more fun by experimenting.

Rhythm Playing

When I practise rhythm I usually play chords. I'll start of with major to miner to chords with 7th's and 9th's. I'll then add extra notes to them, to make them into like funky riffs and licks. This can really improve your chord playing and help you make what would normal boring chord patterns into exciting riffs.
Ex. 1
Under The Bridge (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
|----------------------------|
|-9--9---7-(7)-7---7---------|
|-9--9---8-(8)-8---8h9p8---8-|
|-9--9---9-(9)-----------9---|
|-7--7---9-(9)---9-----------|
|----------------------------|

|-------------------5h7p5---|----------------------------|
|------9----9-4---5-------5-|-9--9---7-(7)-7---7---------|
|------9----9-4---6-------6-|-9--9---8-(8)-8---8h9p8---8-|
|-9s11-9-11-9-6---7---------|-9--9---9-(9)-----------9---|
|-9s11---11---6---7---------|-7--7---9-(9)---9-----------|
|---------------------------|----------------------------|

|---------------------5-----|
|------9----9---5-(5)---5---|
|------9----9---6-(6)-----6-|
|-9s11-9-11-9---7-(7)-------|
|-9s11---11-----7-(7)-------|
|---------------------------|
Hammer ons and pull offs are used here aswell as broken chords. This makes them sound more technical and it really livens up the riff.
Ex. 2
|----------------|-------------------|--------------|-------------------|
|----------------|-------------------|--------------|-------------------|
|-9-(9)---9---9--|--(9)-9------------|--------7--6--|-(6)----(6)--------|
|-9-(9)---9--11--|-(11)-9--9---9S=7--|-7-7--7-7--7--|-(7)----(7)--------|
|-9h11-----------|--------11--11S=9--|-9-7--7h9--7--|-(7)----(7)-----7--|
|-0-(0)----------|-------------------|--------------|------------7-9----|

|----------------|-------------------|--------------|--------|
|----------------|-------------------|--------------|--------|
|-9-(9)---9---9--|--(9)-9-11------7--|--------7--6--|-(6)----|
|-9-(9)---9--11--|-(11)-9--9---9S=7--|-7-7--7-7--7--|-(7)----|
|-9h11-----------|--------11--11S=9--|-9-7--7h9--7--|-(7)----|
|-0-(0)----------|-------------------|--------------|--------|
This is an intro to a song a made up. I took the same kind of ideas that Frusciante used in 'Under The Bridge' and mixed them with some bluesy chords. You can use different techniques like Stacatto or different rhythmic ideas. An example of a stacatto based riff would be Franz Ferdinand's 'Take Me Out'. For rock and metal players, rhyhtm playing is a lot more about speed than it is about making chords sound 'good'. A lot of metal players nowadays uses pedal notes and make use of drop D. If you at bands like Trivium or older bands such as Metallica and Alice In Chains, you can see you use of detuning in most of their songs. Tuning down to drop D is a great way to speed up the playing of power chords.
Ex. 1
Them Bones (Alice In Chains)
||----------------------------|----------------------------|
||o-6-------------------------|-6--------------------------|
||--5-------------------------|-5--------------------------|
||--0-0-0-1-1-1-1-2-2-2-3-0-0-|-0-0-0-1-1-1-1-2-2-2-3-0-0--|
||o-0-0-0-1-1-1-1-2-2-2-3-0-0-|-0-0-0-1-1-1-1-2-2-2-3-0-0--|
||--0-0-0-1-1-1-1-2-2-2-3-0-0-|-0-0-0-1-1-1-1-2-2-2-3-0-0--|
This a typical drop D riff.
Ex. 2 
Slither (Velvet Revolver)
||-------------------|------------------||
||o------------------|-----------------o||
||-------------------|------------------||
||-------------------|------------------||
||o-0-3-4-0-6-7-0-10-|-0-6-7-0-5-0-3-4-o||
||--0-3-4-0-6-7-0-10-|-0-6-7-0-5-0-3-4--||
This is an example of using Drop D to speed up your power chord playing. It is a lot easier to play this riff like this than it would be to playing it in regular standard tuning power chords. Pedal notes have been ued since the birth of metal and before in various blues pieces and organ music. A pedal note is a drone which is a note sustained for a length of time or played in a unwavering rhythm to provide an anchor point for the chords played over them. Pedal notes are almost tremelo picked depending on what the tempo of the song is. More often than not, very fast in terms of metal music. Practise pedal notes can help increase your stamina if played regularly. It will also slowly improve your accuracy which in the long term could help your lead playing.
Ex. 1
Can I Play With Madness (Iron Maiden)
|------------------------------------|-^3--------------------------------|
||o-^3-------------------------------|-^3--------------------------------|
||--^2-------------------------------|-^x--------------------------------|
||--^0-------0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-^2-------0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0--|
||o----------------------------------|-^3--------------------------------|
||-----------------------------------|-----------------------------------|
 
|-3-------------------------------|-----3---2-------3---2-------3---|
|-3-------------------------------|-----3---3-------3---3-------3---|
|-0-------------------------------|-----2---2-------2---2-------2---|
|-0-------0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-----0---0-------0---0-------0---|
|-x-------------------------------|---------------------------------|
|-3-------------------------------|---------------------------------|

Ex. 2 
Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne)
||----------------7---------|-5------------------------||
||o-------5-------5---------|-3---------2-(2)---------o||
||--------6-------4---------|-2---------2-(2)------2---||
||--------7-------6---------|-4---------2-(2)------2---||
||o-0-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0-0-|---0-0-0-0-0-(0)------0--o||
||--------------------------|------------------3s4-----||

Ex. 3 Pull Harder... (Trivium)
drop D
||------------------------------|-----------------------------|
||o-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
||------------------------------|-----------------------------|
||--7-------------------------7-|-8-------------------------8-|
||o-5-------------------------5-|-5-------------------------5-|
||----0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0---|---0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0---|

|-----------------------------|---------------------------------||
|-----------------------------|--------------------------------o||
|-----------------------------|---------------------------------||
|-8-------------------------8-|-7-------------------------------||
|-6-------------------------6-|-7------------------------------o||
|---5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5---|---7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7---||

Lead Playing

Lead guitarists are always looking to find new ways to help build their speed and improve technique. In this section I am going to look at rock and metal and guitarists like Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen and newer guitarists such as Matt Heafy. Warm Up - Prepare For A Gig Or General Practise. It is extremely important to warm up before a gig, to reduce the risk of injury and to increase the risk of pulling off a good solo. There more ready your fingers are, the more willing they will be. This is an exercise I found off a video interview with Matt Heafy (Trivium). It is all alternate picked (down, up, down, up). Start off slowly and eventually you'll be playing this at decent speeds. This is a pretty simple one, my fingers seem to fit nicely with this riff.
Ex.
|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-12-14-15-14-12-14-15--|
|-12-14-15-14-12-14-15--|-----------------------|

|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-12-14-16-14-12-14-16--|
|-12-14-16-14-12-14-16--|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|

|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-14-16-17-16-14-16-17--|
|-14-16-17-16-14-16-17--|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|

|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-12-14-16-14-12-14-16--|
|-12-14-16-14-12-14-16--|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|

|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-11-12-14-12-11-12-14--|
|-10-12-14-12-10-12-14--|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|-----------------------|

|-------------------------|-------------------------|
|-------------------------|-------------------------|
|-12-11-------11----------|-------------------------|
|-------14-12----14-12----|-14-12-------12----------|
|----------------------15-|-------15-14----15-14----|
|-------------------------|----------------------15-|
Remember! Alternate Picking! Tremelo Picking. Tremelo picking is a popular technique used is a lot of style of music. Basically Tremelo picking is playing notes at superhigh speeds by picking as fast as you possibly can. Just like pedal notes, tremelo picking can improve spee and stamina greatly. Tremelo picking is one of the most easiest techniques to master because it is usually just on one string. But players such as Yngwie Malmsteen have incorporated string skipping.
Ex. 1 
Eruption (Van Halen)
|--12----16-19-17--16--17---14--16---12-------------|
|--\\----\\-\\-\\--\\--\\---\\--\\---\\-------------|
|---------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------|
This is a very melodic piece of tremelo picking.
Ex. 2
String skippig with tremelo picking
|---------------------------------------15----------|
|----------------------------13-12------\\-----15b--|
|-------14----12-------------\\-\\----------14--\\--|
|-------\\----\\--------15----------14------\\------|
|--12--------------15---\\----------\\--------------|
|--\\--------------\\-------------------------------|
This is a lot harder to play than example one because you are changing strings regularly. This is a great warm-up however because it tests your picking hand and your fretting hand. Tapping. Tapping was revived in the late '70s by Edward Van Halen and his brainchild that is 'Eruption'. It is the tapping masterpiece at the end that is played so cleanly and smooth that has made tapping an essential part of a lead guitarists. Not only does it sound awesome it is also relatively easy. The best workout would be eruption but I am going to take the idea of it to make some simpler tapping runs for you.
Ex. 
|-------------------------------------------------------------|
|-7h10-12-7h10-12-7h10-12-7h10-12-6h9-12-6h9-12-6h9-12-6h9-12-|
|-------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------|

|---------------------------------------------------------|
|-5h8-12-5h8-12-5h8-12-5h8-12-4h7-12-4h7-12-4h7-12-4h7-12-|
|---------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------|

|-6-9-13-6-9-13-------------------------------|
|---------------6-9-13-6-9-13-----------------|
|-----------------------------6-10-13-6-10-13-|
|---------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------|

|-------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------|
|-6-10-13-6-10-13---------------------------------|
|-----------------6-10-13-6-10-13-----------------|
|---------------------------------6-10-13-6-10-13-|
The Adrian Smith Techniques. Guitarist Maiden fans may of downloaded or watched the guitar lesson with Adrian Smith. He went through some random stuff and talked about his career. There were two things that stood out from it for me. One was a warm up and one was a legato type technique which I have no name for so I just call it the Adrian Smith technique. The first was a warm-up as I said. He uses it to build stamina in his fretting hand fingers. It is a basic hammer on and pull off lick which could be used for a warm up.
|-5h6p5h6p5h7p5h7p|=5h8p5h8p5h7p5h7p|=5h6p5h6p5h7p5h7p|=5h8p5h8p5h7p5h7-|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
This does work but I reccomend when it starts hurting you should stop for 5 or 10 minutes. The other technique was a classical style kinda lick that goes up and down the neck. It is on 2 strings. He has incorporated into hsi solo for the Wickerman, He does it on the Rock In Rio DVD.
Ex.
|-2-------2-------2-------|-3-------3-------3-------|
|---4p0h4---4p0h4---4p0h4-|---5p0h5---5p0h5---5p0h5-|
|-------------------------|-------------------------|
|-------------------------|-------------------------|
|-------------------------|-------------------------|
|-------------------------|-------------------------|

|-5-------5-------5----------|-3-------3-------3-------|
|---7p0h7---7p0h7---7p0h7----|---5p0h5---5p0h5---5p0h5-|
|----------------------------|-------------------------|
|----------------------------|-------------------------|
|----------------------------|-------------------------|
|----------------------------|-------------------------|

|-2-------2-------2-------|-3-------3-------3-------|
|---4p0h4---4p0h4---4p0h4-|---5p0h5---5p0h5---5p0h5-|
|-------------------------|-------------------------|
|-------------------------|-------------------------|
|-------------------------|-------------------------|
|-------------------------|-------------------------|

|-5-------5-------5----------|-3-------3-------3-------|
|---7p0h7---7p0h7---7p0h7----|---5p0h5---5p0h5---5p0h5-|
|----------------------------|-------------------------|
|----------------------------|-------------------------|
|----------------------------|-------------------------|
|----------------------------|-------------------------|
This really does help building stamina and fretboard accuracy and sounds really cool. Sweep Picking. This is going to be the final part of the lead playing section. It is sweep picking. A technique that takes years to master but is really worth the time. I have not yet got much good at this but have got some routines which may help you pick up speed and develop ideas. Sweep picking is used in most metal nowadays. Guitarists like Randy Rhoads, Yngwie Malmsteen and Herman Li being the most extreme I've ever heard have all used sweep picking in there solos. Sweep picking is basically using a sweeping motion with your picking hand to pick the notes but at the same time not letting the notes bleed into each other. It requires amazing coordination and accuracy. An example of some sweep picking would be at the end of the 'Pull Harder...' (Trivium) solo or in any of the Dragonforce solos. I have got one exericise to show you which uses classical inspiration.
Ex.
Battle Axe (Quiet Riot)
|-------------5-9-|-7-5---5-------------|-----------------------|
|-----------------|-----9---7-9-5-------|---------------------5-|
|---------6-9-----|---------------------|-------------------6---|
|-------7---------|---------------9-6---|-----------------7-----|
|-----7-----------|-------------------7-|-5---5---------7-------|
|-5-9-------------|---------------------|---9---7-9-5-9---------|

|-----------------|----------------------|
|-6---------------|-------------6--6-5-3-|
|---7-------------|---------4-7----------|
|-----7-----------|-------5--------------|
|-------8-5-------|-----5----------------|
|-----------8-7-5-|-3-7------------------|

|-----------------|---------------------------|------||
|-5---------------|---------------------------|-2----||
|-5-5-------------|----3----------------------|-2----||
|-5---5-2---------|----3----------------------|-2----||
|---------3-------|----1----------------------|-0----||
|-----------5-3-1-|-0-------------------------|------||
That is all for this lesson. Everything here if used regularly and if it is experimented with, will help yur playing in some way. This is just a little something different for you to try. If there is a technique you don't understand, look it up.

57 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    lp in dc
    Randy Rhoads didn't sweep! Oh, he did. In Riot, but not with Ozzy. sTx dont argue withyourself
    niffnoff
    killtrend wrote: seth21 wrote: eruption really isn't that good listen to the tribute album by ozzy where randy rhoads is playing that improvised solo ITS FREAKING AWESOME I believe its after the track "suicide solution" (well same track number but after the song) you can probably find it on Youtube or somewhere
    Dude please tell me you either was pretending to be dumb by not saying mr crowley or you didnt know yourself? lol, good lesson though bro Loved the sweeping part 8/10 (Y)
    Satchafunkilus
    Awesmoe, but I need more help with sweeps and tremolo picking. Please pm me with help if you dont mind. thankyou.
    The-Waz
    thnx 4 the warm ups I been playing 4 bout a year and a half and I was looking for some good finger stretches... 9/10
    killtrend
    seth21 wrote: eruption really isn't that good listen to the tribute album by ozzy where randy rhoads is playing that improvised solo ITS FREAKING AWESOME
    I believe its after the track "suicide solution" (well same track number but after the song) you can probably find it on Youtube or somewhere
    dontstopblevin
    i definately liked the lesson, plenty of speed exercises and warm ups. I was also wondering on the tapping sequence what fret to tap??? The lesson was great, but I think if you could spell some words and use proper grammer it could be a 10/10. But for now...9/10
    Unded_Metalhead
    this is all really complicated 4 me cos i strted playin only last week... thnx 4 da riffs rhough...
    BrokenAmbitions
    yeah, it is....kinda depressing.
    sanisydap wrote: ei .its hard 2 play without electric guitar hehe
    shreddymurphy
    You have a decent amount of knowledge for only playing for a mere 2 years... or do you just have the knowledge to copy and paste? Sweep picking after two years? Seriosly? However, it was put together pretty well, and I'm sure it'll help many young players.
    DmnBryV2
    it's really hard to do these... no not "how" you do this but the song... ouch.. I need to spend time downloadin it. By the way it really helps.
    Master_Dylmo
    for those who are asking about the tapping part: before you start tapping, make sure you have your left index finger on the 7th fret. You tap the 12th fret with your right index finger, then pull off to the 7th then hammer on with your left pinky to the 10th. Then your left hand moves down one fret at a time, keeping your right hand at 12. For the second part, same technique, except the right hand is always on the 13th and you change strings, even though it says (when moving up to the B string) to hit the 6th, i find it easier to tap the 13th with your right hand and the shift your left hand up before the pull off. Hope that cleared up any problems
    DmnBryV2
    it's really hard to do these... no not "how" you do this but the song... ouch.. I need to spend time downloadin it
    fagelamusgtr
    Good lesson. Gave me some nice warm-ups / exercises. It would probably be better placed in columns though... o well, im not one to care about that stuffs. 9/10
    DraftyRocker
    Thanks, but i dont even know how to play the guitar. Thats why i came here. What do all these numbers on the strings mean? I dont wanna sound like a noob, but i dont understand it. Not that you dont know how to teach. Obviously you have shown the other users something, but i suck.
    vengeancerising
    The sweep bit at the beginning of the quiet riot song is slightly askew. instead of the 9th fret on the "G" string, it should be a 5th fret hit on the "B" string. That is the idea of basic Sweeping..., the economy of just raking the pick straight through. Other than that, a good lesson for intermediate players. Good Job.
    learninclutch
    This is the coolest exercise. I try to use the least amount of movement with both hands by sweep picking and having my fingers in the most comfortable fret position using four fingers and using the thumb to mute the sixth string when needed. This is the coolest site.
    abkedeff
    nice mate this helps, im only new to guitar and im amazing now!! thanks. abkedeff
    davidroys
    Good job. Something here for everybody since you covered so much stuff. Thanks!
    Micsunderland3
    Pretty good. I'm practicing your tapping excercise now. I like how you covered alot of different playing styles. 9/10
    OzzysGrrrl
    cool lesson...there's this chick who's like 21 and she's REALLY good at guitar...I'm hoping that if I keep practicing all these lessons online, I'll be as good as she is by the time I'm 21 (I'm nineteen, so I only have two more years, not even lol)
    coolio9
    i really like the speed picking on string skipping. thanks a lot buddy. :headbang:
    ManiacLord
    This is really cool u guys, really helped my speed, nice song choices aswell!(bangshead to the sound of metal)
    l_hayley_l
    Good write up, for the Adrian Smith classical thing, it's 3rd fret on B string when you use 2nd on little E all up the neck in key of G.