Warm Up Exercises

Here are some warm up exercises I've picked up over my time playing guitar. These are pretty basic, nothing really complex.

Ultimate Guitar
When you've been playing for some time, you pick up a lot of different things from people, publications, teachers, and these days the internet. I've had the fortune to be able to find and read many books on the subject. What I know is an amalgam of everything that's been presented to me. Here is a basic 1 2 3 4 type pattern. These numbers refer to your fingers, 1 is the index, 2 is the middle, 3 is the ring, and 4 is the pinky. Example 1 consists of the most basic pattern. It can be done from high E to low E or low E to high E. Or just done over again. I typically do them in ascending/descending patterns. Simply just going up, then coming back down.
Example 1
This can be done anywhere you'd like on the neck. Though a warm up can be best done near the 12th fret. This is because there is less distance between the frets here and this will help your tendons and muscles get moving easier. Example 2 is an example of how you can change this simple pattern up. There will be multiple sections for this one. There are a lot of ways you can rework this simple exercise.
Example 2a ( 1 3 2 4 )
2b ( 1 4 2 3 )
2c ( 1 2 4 3 )
And again, you can simply do the ascending exercise, the descending, or do both. Those were just a few of the different ways to do that. Here are some more:
1 3 4 2 
2 1 4 3
4 3 1 2
3 2 4 1
Those are just some of the different ways you can do it. There are many more you can do, simply change the order of the fingers. You can also reverse it as well. Say you're doing the 1 2 3 4 pattern going up, you could reverse it and do 4 3 2 1 on the way down. Here's what that would look like:
Example 3
Now you can tweak that type of pattern many different ways. It's a good warm up for your mind too because you're focusing on what your hands are doing. Try coming up with your own combinations. Another warm up I do involves a maj7#5 chord. The other group of notes would technically not be considered a chord, as in any position it has no third.
Example 4
|-----------                     |-----
|-7--------- then change to this |-10--
|-8---------                     |--9--
|-9---------                     |--8--
|-10--------                     |--7--
|-----------                     |-----
  Gmaj7#5                        this technically is not a chord
Put together, it looks like this:
You can start that anywhere on the neck. These are only a few examples of what you can do. You could also work on chord inversions up around this area, go over some scales, or just come up with a random fretting exercise. These are just some basic examples I often teach to my students. If you'd like any more information or would like some more or different examples let me know. I'd be happy to show you more.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I am a total newbie, so this is probably a stupid question, but if 1 is the index through 4 as the pinky, why does this diagram refer to a 5?
    Those are the fret numbers. 12, 13, 14, 15. So it tells you where to put your fingers on the string. To make life easier, if your guitar has it, the double dots are 12.
    Great post, Fender - thanks! Can you point to any additional posts that address overall strategy in structuring a practice session?