Once you've been over the 5 minute finger
stretching exercises, we can warm up using the guitar
fretboard. This lesson will give you some effective finger
warm-up exercises to further loosen those fingers up and get your
co-ordination calibrated, ready for playing.
You can also use the below exercises for general
strength building, beyond
the 10 minute warm up period. However, these exercises don't exactly
offer much in the way of melodic
these exercises ideally require the use of alternate
Let's get started!
finger warm up exercises
This is a classic way to warm up - many guitarists swear by it.
basically involve playing a sequence of semitone (one fret) intervals
one after the other.
With the chromatic exercises
below, use strict alternate picking to help get
your hand-pick co-ordination up to scratch. Make sure each
note/fret is cleanly separated from the last/next.
using a metronome, and speed up gradually,
making sure you are playing each note cleanly. You
should only increase the tempo of the metronome once you are 100%
confident with the current tempo.
The first chromatic exercise
involves a vertical
pattern across the 6 guitar strings. Look at the animation below, and
follow the sequence all up the guitar neck...
It can get tricky as you get
passed the 12th fret,
because the fret spacings are smaller and those of us with long fingers
can get a bit tangled up! Remember, don't touch that metronome's tempo
until you can do this exercise cleanly - have
discipline and patience!
You can also try the "stepped"
chromatic sequence - same sequence as
above, but this time you step up each fret for each string...
Step that pattern over all 6 strings, then
just descend back down again
in the same, or a different pattern (mix it up a little)
Now try reversing
the arrows in the diagrams above.
Another variation (seems like
we could go on
forever here!) is to use the sequences above, but climb/ascend on one
string and then fall/descend on the next string up.
You can probably guess what
I'm gonna tell you
now... try and come up with your own sequences (there's countless
combinations you can try). If you feel your fingers aching
that's actually a good sign you're giving them a workout. Shake off the
stiffness, wait a few seconds, and go again. Start slow and only when
you're physically comfortable with the pattern, then
you turn that metronome up a notch.
finger warm up patterns
As well as chromatics, you can try other patterns using just 3 of your
fingers (in various combinations) to give that particular muscle memory
For example, in exactly the
same movements as
above in the chromatic exercises (e.g. first use the vertical movement,
then the stepped etc.), try the patterns below using 3 fingers per
string instead of 4...
So we skip one fret in that
finger sequence above -
this actually makes use of your finger muscles and joints in a
different way to chromatics, because you're moving from the index
finger to the ring finger, rather than index to middle finger.
Also, there's skipping from
middle finger to pinky finger...
You can really have a good stretch by
spanning the below three-finger
pattern across 6 frets, still using the vertical
and staggered sequences from earlier...
I use my index, middle and pinky for these
useful finger exercises
Remember, these all still
apply to those vertical and
stepped sequences from the chromatic exercises on this page, but also
try to mix them up a little (e.g. ascend up using the stepped sequence,
then descend using the vertical sequence... or vice versa).
Using your index and ring
Using your index and pinky fingers only...
Using your middle and pinky fingers
A pattern using all 4 fingers across 6
Remember, these are only basic
warm-up exercises -
they do not cover techniques like string skipping and runs, which
require yet another form of muscle memory. You'll learn these naturally
as you progress with your lead playing (see the guitar
scale exercises series for some ideas). Guitarists
at first don't realise just how many different movements their fingers
are required to make when playing guitar!