[Lesson] Basic warm-up and Speed Building Techniques

Discussion in 'The Sevenstring.org Workbench' started by nitelightboy, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. nitelightboy

    nitelightboy I poop in shoes. Contributor

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    Oct 7, 2005
    Ft Liquordale, FL
    <div align="center">
    <span style="color:red;font-weight:bold;">NLB's Warm Up Lesson</span>

    Having been an athlete, I learned that a good warp up was absolutely vital to a good performance. The same is true with guitar players. A good warm up allows more blood to circulate through the wrists, hands, and fingers. This increases both flexibility and muscle response, i.e. SPEED.

    I usually set aside about 15 minutes to run through my warm up, which normally consists of these exercises in some form. Remember to use a metronome and set it just above your "comfort level". Try these using different picking techniques (alternate pick starting with a down stroke, then an up stroke), play in different position, up and down the neck, and different speeds. Also, I included a fun variation that I like to use. It begins with a measure of 1/4 notes, then a measure of 1/8 notes, then a measure of 1/16 notes….and you can go as far as you're comfortable with.

    <span style="color:eek:range;font-weight:bold;">Example 1:</span> Simple 4 note per string chromatic, up and down the strings.

    <img src="http://www.sevenstring.org/lessons/nlb_warmup/1.png" alt="">

    <span style="color:eek:range;font-weight:bold;">Example 2:</span> Similar to above, but you shift up 1 fret after the first 4 notes on the high E string. Repeat descending, going up 1 fret after playing the first 4 notes on the low B.

    <img src="http://www.sevenstring.org/lessons/nlb_warmup/2.png" alt="">

    <span style="color:eek:range;font-weight:bold;">Example 3:</span> This is for you speed freaks. Two variations - first, play it continuing in this pattern until it's too fast for you. Or, play it to the 1/16 notes and then slow it down the same way you speed it up, this one's REALLY hard to do.

    <img src="http://www.sevenstring.org/lessons/nlb_warmup/3.png" alt="">

    <span style="color:eek:range;font-weight:bold;">Example 4:</span> This is just another variation of Example 1. Try as many different variations as you can, it helps keep it interesting and makes you look at how you play a little differently.

    <img src="http://www.sevenstring.org/lessons/nlb_warmup/4.png" alt="">

    Have fun with these.

    - Joe
  2. Chris

    Chris metalguitarist.org Forum MVP

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    Apr 19, 2004
    Boston, Mass
  3. Randy John

    Randy John Member

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    Aug 4, 2006
    Randy Land
    Good stuff but it would be more fun and musical if you did this kinda exercises with actual scales.Chromatics are so boring and mathematical.
  4. D-EJ915

    D-EJ915 Forum MVP

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    Oct 1, 2005
    Here's something I like to do on drop-tuned guitars (otherwise you have to skip, it just makes it more challenging)...and it sounds pretty cool :p

  5. Ryan

    Ryan SS.org Regular

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    Jul 31, 2006
    North Carolina, USA
    I know what you mean. It's so boring to sit and do this stuff without a musical feel. So here's what I do. I take a nice exercise (something that really stretches out the ol pinky) that helps me build my speed. Come up with a couple of basic patterns, open ye olde DKFH and sequence some straight forward double bass drums (which are way cooler than a metronome imo) and jam along to that!

    I made a recording of the exercise I've been doing lately for you guys. I used DKFH for the drums, Cubase SX to sequence the drums, Sonar 5 PE to lay the guitar over them. The guitar being a '97 RG7620BK with a Blaze Custom in the bridge (for those who wanted to hear what a blaze custom sounded like). I left the bass out because after all it is a guitar exercise. ;D

    Here's the tab:

    Have fun! \m/
    edit: whoops, i forgot the staff! sorry :/
  6. leatherface2

    leatherface2 SS.org Regular

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    Nov 7, 2006
    practice all of this 24/7:shred:
  7. Ancestor

    Ancestor Contributor

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    Apr 3, 2005
    I did this type of thing for about a year for several hours a day and it really helped me. Also great for warming up like you say here. Personally, I suck if I don't warm up.
  8. olsonuf

    olsonuf Fretaholic

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    Aug 27, 2005
    Maryland, USA
    I like the chromatic exercises, personally. I know they're not musical, but they work out all 4 left hand fingers evenly and also help develop better coordination. Of course, any 4-note-per-string patterns would work just as well, but chromatics are a good place to start since there are no difficult stretches.

    It's also easy to come up with your own chromatic exercises...all you need to do is determine how your going to subdivide the beat, and set your starting tempo, and play! :)

    Here's a nice triplet-based one that I came up with:


    I usually play this exercise counting it in two different ways: (click for audio)
    [a] Triplets: 1-and-a-2-and-a ...
    Sextuplets: 1-and-2-and-3-and ...

    And then just carry on the pattern from there. When you run out of strings, reverse the pattern and do it ascending.

    (I prefer not to skip notes when I play chromatics, so I change positions across the neck, but you don't have to)...

    Another variation is to play the chromatic scale in groups of 12 notes, 4 notes per string across groups of 3 strings, in descending and then ascending order, like this:



    And again, when you run out of strings, reverse the pattern and then just do it ascending. Audio: Triplets and Sextuplets

    I find that by forcing these 4-note groups into 3-beat rhythms it forces you to think about which notes you accent in order to play it well.

    Then there's a straight 16th note version I came up with just last night:



    And so on.... Here's the audio for that one.

    PS, I know I wrote these for 6-string....for 7-string, you can just extend the patterns one string further.
  9. deathmask666

    deathmask666 Filthy Fat ....er

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    Oct 17, 2007
    Fredericksburg, Va
    Ahh The chromatic excersises...Although I am but a Rhythm guitarist i have been doing these excercises for a few years...





    I just make them up as i go sometimes when warming up and i usually repeat the patterns all the way down to the 12th...And I do it until i can't do it anymore...And then i'll just run through a scale...Like something outside of the usual scales...Like the Enigmatic, or any other exotic-type scale i come across. I practice sweeps. Make sure i'm doing whatever style of picking right...

    Can't shred worth crap

    And i play like james hetfield...lol

    It makes no sense whatsoever.

    I guess ultimatley you play what you like to play...And i suppose for me its just rhythm guitar that fits me.
  10. CatPancakes

    CatPancakes Im Insane

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    Sep 17, 2007
    Bel Air, Md
    heres my favorite


    then move down one fret. when moved down all the way, start at the 12th fret of the next string
  11. -K4G-

    -K4G- Go Auckland Blues!

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    Feb 15, 2007
    ryan, can you re-upload the audio file?

  12. rto666

    rto666 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 23, 2008
    G. Baigorria, Santa Fe. Argentina
    Nice Ex's! Thanks! :hbang:
  13. 7StringedBeast

    7StringedBeast Random Fingers

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    Dec 27, 2008
    São Paulo - Brazil
    I like to do this, btw it's great for 6 string players that are still getting used to the extra string on a 7 like myself.

    Picking direction: d = down, u = up

    B|-1-2-3-4-----------------------------1-2-3-4-and so on-|
    ---u d u d d d d d d d u d u u u u u u u d u d

    This one too:

    b|--------------------------------------V-go up the neck--------------13-------------
    ---d d d d u d u u u u d u d d u d d d------d--d--d--d--u--d--u--d--d--d

    --u--u--u--d--u--d--d--u--d--d--d--u--d--u-----d d d d u d u u u u u u u
    --------------------------------------------^ go down the neck using the same pattern

    Change picking directions, finger order, reverse it, use legato, apply to scales, w/e.
    Dani2901 likes this.
  14. Prostheta

    Prostheta Central Scrutiniser

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    May 1, 2009
    Pori, Finland
    Great exercises and variations guys - I think that whatever the exercise, the analogy of an athlete warming up is a very relevant one. I'd like to extend that analogy by adding stretching to the mix.

    At our Muay Thai camp, we start our sessions off with five three-minute rounds of exercise to get blood flowing, as you say nitelightboy. After that we stretch our muscles and tendons (you wouldn't try to bend cold toffee is an analogy here) so we can prevent injury, cramping and anything that would otherwise affect performance. Equally, we do a cool-down stretch after exercise, although this would be overkill for guitarists! Kind of like doing chromatics for your set's encore :-\

    Chromatics are nice for warming up as they're simple short and predictable movements. I like to warm up with chromatics higher up the board downwardsto remind my fingers to use light touch. Over-stretching cold fingers over four-five frets makes for heavy fingering *cough*. Excuse me.

    Working my way down to the lower end opens up the left hand with a little comfy stretch in there, ready to start scales and more meaningful fingerings. Playing my longer scale instruments like the 30" 8-string or the 27" 6-string baritone for warmups changed the way I look at warming up by playing from the lower end, since the tension in stretches is so much more apparent from cold playing at the low end.

    All warmup exercises are useful, as long as important aspects of warmup aren't being ignored. They don't necessarily have to be musical....running is a great way to warm up before Muay Thai, and running isn't exactly a sport now is it?
  15. Imdeathcore

    Imdeathcore noob bear

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    Jan 3, 2009
    Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico
    can you re-up the mp3 file?? it's broken!:ugh:
  16. willy petro

    willy petro willy petro

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    Aug 7, 2010
    cool lesson!!
  17. Mn3mic

    Mn3mic SS.org Regular

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    Sep 13, 2010
    Great stuff :D
    I used the first exercise for a few years now, great way to warm up before playing...

    I also thought it sucked that it's a 1-2-3-4 pattern with no melody, but after a few days you forget about that and simply concentrate on the speed and precision.
  18. metalmonster

    metalmonster SS.org Regular

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    Nov 23, 2007
    -1----- -------- ------ ----4--
    --2---- -------- ------ ---3---
    ---3--- -1------ ----4- --2----
    ----4-- --2----- ---3-- -1-----
    ------- ---3---- --2--- -------
    ------- ----4--- -1---- -------

    you can make permutations with 2 and 3 . On this example , you put 1 fret between each note , but you can easily put 2 frets , or 3 if you're like , god .

    'cause you'll have to play this at 80bpm .

    First , you play the 1/4 notes , and you think "man it's damn easy" . try it , on such a slow tempo , at first , it makes you work . Then , play it on 1/8 notes , triplets , 1/7 notes , 1/16 and 1/32 notes . Try to find on which note you'll have to be when the metronome ticks (far easier than counting each time "1-2-3-4-5 ... oh shit , i'm not in time" , try to "think" by instinct the tempo like "okay , i should be on this note when the metronome ticks" so you will be playing as fast as needed to be on time instead of counting the time between each notes . So you "build" the exercise at a very slow tempo , counting the beats and when you know for sure where the note "interacts" with the beat , you can start playing it at the desired tempo and time division .

    Great idea to mix time divisions on those chromatics , or my example btw .

    Like the first and last notes are 1/4 and the two middle notes are 1/8 (or four , if you're so messed up you wanna try 5/4 . be sure to put accents on the 3rd and 5th beat , or 2nd and 3rd accordingly to the swing you want on it, i won't get in detail 'cause if i wanna do some odd time signature talk , it needs more than a few lines on it)

    You also can duplicate notes on the exercise to work on your alternate picking , put some chromatic runs as well .

    Try also to play ONE -two three four ONE two three four on those 1/8 notes .

    Or ONE-two-three-ONE-two-three on those triplets , and ONE-two-three-Four-five-six-seven on the 1/16 ones .

    Btw , i'm not sure about the US names for time divisions (since i'm french) so when i write 1/4 it means you play 1 note per beat , 1/8 means you play two notes per beat , 1/16 means you play 4 notes a beat . Just to be sure my exercise will be understandable even if i mixed up things .

    So from a simple exercise you can actually develop exercises , the hardest possible if you like (it's like sports training : you have to lift weights that are heavier and heavier to build-up your muscles . But you don't have to start with extra-heavy stuff to start building up , try going a little at a time and build up really solid muscles that last . Means in music you're gonna be extra-clean and extra-accurate , and faster and faster , but clean and accurate fast , not "big mess"-fast .

    Another tip , is to have a good , consistent training schedule . Be self-taught if you like , but even if you're your own teacher , be consistent . Always try to discover new things and learn new stuff , while still working on the fundamentals .

    [article was shortened , 'cause from that exact line i tried to explain what is the goal of guitar exercises and chop-building but i got all meshuggah and started to speak about reigning in blood , getting a snack in the Freak Kitchen and Surf with the aliens and learn about their Love secrets to illustrate that music is mostly about transmitting feelings of fun , craziness , power and so . But i realized it's kinda off-topic . so whatever fast you're playing , do like the gods and be yourself , that's the exact goal of a good consistent yet balanced training schedule ! Enjoy :) )
  19. ShreddingDragon

    ShreddingDragon Silence the discord

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    Mar 21, 2009
    Great stuff, thanks! I like it when someone also explains about what your mind should be doing while your muscles train the motorics. :)
  20. metalmonster

    metalmonster SS.org Regular

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    Nov 23, 2007
    thank you for the kind words , means a lot to me !

    Little addition , not an exercise but it will make this post useful :
    drink mineral water
    have a 5 minute break after practice
    focus on guitar and guitar only while practising
    have a consistent and structured/balanced schedule
    get a music stand , chair , real-life metronome and tuner
    don't stress yourself out : you aren't so bad , and you'll get better soon
    Don't stress yourself out : if you're tired , if it hurts , stop playing and do anything else for a while , it's normal from time to time to need a break . As long as you get back to playing ASAP :)
    Always try to play perfectly ...
    ... and sometimes , get crazy and play as fast as you can , no speed limits .

    It will help to break the "speed barrier" . Sometimes , you have to play fast as hell .

    visualize the level you dream to attain . visualize yourself playing this way . In some kind of way , this helps . Don't limit yourself thinking you're worthless at guitar : it's not true at all .

    This advice is not so warm-up related , but really , it helps big time .
    Helped me , hope it will help some too ! (even if i'm still bad , in my own opinion . I can do better , and i put lots of work on it ... )

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