In this lesson we’ll be looking at a couple of quick warmup exercises that uses all 4 fingers. We’ll start with a chromatic pattern and then look at a couple of variations. 4 finger patterns are a perfect way to get warmed up as well as become more accustom to using all 4 fingers more efficiently.
The aim with this guitar warmup exercise is to warmup your picking hand and fretboard hand & fingers. Once warmed up you can start to practice more complex ideas with less risk of strain or injury. When using alternate picking make sure that both hands are really in sync with each other. If you’re used to picking in a 3nps fashion then this will really be a test of your dexterity.
Guitar Warmup Exercise: Ascending Chromatic’s
To start with we’ll play a chromatic run, this means that each note is a semitone above or below the previous note. You can start this anywhere on the fretboard. For the sake of our example we’ll start at the 7th fret on the lowest string.
Now we’re going to use alternate picking to play the following frets:
7 – 8 – 9 – 10
Once you reach the 10th fret with your pinky finger move up to the next string. On a 6 string guitar in standard tuning this will mean going from the E string to the A string.
On the next string we will play frets:
7 – 8 – 9 – 10
Then we descend, twice:
9 – 8 – 7 – 10 – 9 – 8 – 7
This gives us 15 notes. if we play these as 16th notes and add a 16th note rest we have one full bar in 4/4. After the rest we repeat the same sequence only this time starting from the string we ended on. Again if you are on a 6 string guitar this will be the A string.
This means that you will be ascending the strings in pairs. On a 6 string guitar this means E-A, then A-D, then D-G, G-B and finally B-E.
For 7 or 8 string guitar just do exactly the same thing but start from your lowest string.
Chromatic Warmup Descending:
Once you reach the highest string we will move up one fret and then play the reverse to descend back down to our lowest string, for example:
Then continue this going from the B string to the G string and so on until you reach your lowest string.
Variations to fingering:
We can repeat this exercise with a few variations to our fingerings. Below are a few examples. Play the fret positions in the same sequence as before:
Warmup Variation 1:
Warmup Variation 2:
Warmup Variation 3:
These variations will help you to get used to the fingerings which are common with 4 notes per string scales and modes. Practicing these will help develop your finger strength and dexterity.
Guitar Warmup Exercise: String Skipping Variation
To make this a bit more challenging and to help practice your String Skipping technique we can play all these variations with a string skip. The example below shows how this would look on the E and D strings but remember to ascend up all the strings and back down:
Then you would start the Next sequence from the A string.
Remember these are intended as a warmup, so start slow and don’t overdo it. Once you have warmed up sufficiently you can also use these exercises to practice building up your picking speed. Just make sure you are properly warmed up first by going through them at a slow to medium speed.
Practicing these all the way up the neck will also help you to develop your stamina. You can also try doing them using Legato rather than picking!
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