Warming Up And Sweep Picking

These are a few exercises I like to use to warm up before gigs. They cover every thing from finger warmup, to picking warmup, to sweep picking. Just for reference, d=downstroke and u=upstroke.

22
1. This first exercise is one I use for finger warmup and for getting my pick hand started.
*e|-------------------------------------------------------------|
 b|-----------------------------------------------------3-4-1-2-|
 g|-------------------------------------3-4-1-2-----1-2---------|
 D|---------------------3-4-1-2-----1-2---------3-4-------------|
 A|-----3-4-1-2-----1-2---------3-4-----------------------------|
 E|-1-2---------3-4---------------------------------------------|
    d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u

*e|-3-4-1-2-----1-2-3-4-1-2---------3-4-------------------------|
 b|---------3-4-------------3-4-1-2-----1-2---------3-4---------|
 g|-----------------------------------------3-4-1-2-----1-2-----|
 D|---------------------------------------------------------3-4-|
 A|-------------------------------------------------------------|
 E|-------------------------------------------------------------|
    d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u

*e|-------------------------------------------------------------|
 b|-------------------------------------------------------------|
 g|-------------------------------------------------------------|
 D|-----3-4-----------------------------------------------------|
 A|-1-2-----1-2---------3-4-------------------------------------|
 E|-------------3-4-1-2-----1-2-3-4-----------------------------|
    d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u

    (Then turn it around and go the other direction)
*e|-4-3---------2-1---------------------------------------------|
 b|-----2-1-4-3-----4-3---------2-1-----------------------------|
 g|---------------------2-1-4-3-----4-3---------2-1-------------|
 D|-------------------------------------2-1-4-3-----4-3---------|
 A|-----------------------------------------------------2-1-4-3-|
 E|-------------------------------------------------------------|
    d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u

*e|-------------------------------------------------------------|
 b|-------------------------------------------------------------|
 g|-------------------------------------------------------------|
 D|-2-1---------------------------------------------2-1-4-3-----|
 A|-----4-3---------2-1-------------2-1-4-3-----4-3---------2-1-|
 E|---------2-1-4-3-----4-3-2-1-4-3---------2-1-----------------|
    d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u

*e|-------------------------------------2-1-4-3-----4-3-2-1-----|
 b|---------------------2-1-4-3-----4-3---------2-1-------------|
 g|-----2-1-4-3-----4-3---------2-1-----------------------------|
 D|-4-3---------2-1---------------------------------------------|
 A|-------------------------------------------------------------|
 E|-------------------------------------------------------------|
    d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u
2. Next I do a linear pattern exercise that I double as my sweeping warm up. There are four patterns here, and they can look confusing, just remember to keep the mindset that you're working in a diagonal line up or down the neck. If you choose not to sweep pick this you can use alternating picking or whatever you are comfortable with, it's actually a great picking exercise due to the fact that you're skipping up and down strings so much.
(ptrn. 1)
*e|-----------------------------------1-----2---3-4-------------|
 b|---------------------------1-----2-----3---4-----------------|
 g|-------------------1-----2-----3-----4-----------------------|
 D|-----------1-----2-----3-----4-------------------------------|
 A|-----1---2-----3-----4---------------------------------------|
 E|-1-2---3-----4-----------------------------------------------|

(ptrn. 2, same as 1 but descending)
*e|-1-2---3-----4-----------------------------------------------|
 b|-----1---2-----3-----4---------------------------------------|
 g|-----------1-----2-----3-----4-------------------------------|
 D|-------------------1-----2-----3-----4-----------------------|
 A|---------------------------1-----2-----3---4-----------------|
 E|-----------------------------------1-----2---3-4-------------|

(ptrn. 3, reversed fingering ascending)
*e|-----------------------------------4-----3---2-1-------------|
 b|---------------------------4-----3-----2---1-----------------|
 g|-------------------4-----3-----2-----1-----------------------|
 D|-----------4-----3-----2-----1-------------------------------|
 A|-----4---3-----2-----1---------------------------------------|
 E|-4-3---2-----1-----------------------------------------------|

(ptrn. 4, reversed fingering descending)
*e|-4-3---2-----1-----------------------------------------------|
 b|-----4---3-----2-----1---------------------------------------|
 g|-----------4-----3-----2-----1-------------------------------|
 D|-------------------4-----3-----2-----1-----------------------|
 A|---------------------------4-----3-----2---1-----------------|
 E|-----------------------------------4-----3---2-1-------------|
If I'm warming up to play that's all I do. I try not to warm up until my hands are almost tired before I play. However if I'm practicing I'll throw in the standard finger pattern exercise where you go through every possible 4 finger combination. There are 24 total, you can do those however much or little as you please. The combinations are:
*e|-----------------------------------------1-4-3-2-------------|
 b|---------------------------------1-4-2-3---------------------|
 g|-------------------------1-3-4-2-----------------------------|
 D|-----------------1-3-2-4-------------------------------------|
 A|---------1-2-4-3---------------------------------------------|
 E|-1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------------------|

*e|------------------------------------------2-1-4-3------------|
 b|----------------------------------2-1-3-4--------------------|
 g|--------------------------2-4-3-1----------------------------|
 D|------------------2-4-1-3------------------------------------|
 A|----------2-3-1-4--------------------------------------------|
 E|-2-3-4-1-----------------------------------------------------|

*e|------------------------------------------3-2-4-1------------|
 b|----------------------------------3-2-1-4--------------------|
 g|-------------------------3-1-4-2-----------------------------|
 D|-----------------3-1-2-4-------------------------------------|
 A|---------3-4-2-1---------------------------------------------|
 E|-3-4-1-2-----------------------------------------------------|

*e|------------------------------------------4-1-3-2------------|
 b|----------------------------------4-1-2-3--------------------|
 g|--------------------------4-2-1-3----------------------------|
 D|------------------4-2-3-1------------------------------------|
 A|---------4-3-1-2---------------------------------------------|
 E|-4-3-2-1-----------------------------------------------------|
Do all of these exercises slowly in the beginning to get familiar with them. As you progress you'll build speed and you can experiment with different ways of picking. When done on a regular basis this will work wonders for your speed and dexterity, especially the final fingering exercise. Enjoy and Happy Playing!

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    NakkiTarzan
    Didnt really like those.. They sounded stupid (i know they are just warm up but still)
    Xadeas
    Nitrate wrote: These were all stolen from Vai's 10 hour workout
    so what he never said that he made those exercises..
    dragonofdis
    I like the diagonal one a lot. Ive used it myself for sometime and it always getts my fingers loose and acurate