Many beginner guitarists often overlook the importance of doing finger warm ups prior to practicing. Beware, this is a very serious mistake that would really hamper the growth and long term development of your playing skills.
First of all, the lack warm ups for the hands and fingers would increase the chances of developing tendonitis and repetitive strain injuries (RSI). Like the other muscles of the body, we do need proper warm ups prior to strenuous activities to prevent injuries.
Secondly, warming up enables our fingers to hit better performance and would make subsequent practicing more effective and efficient. This would lead to better results and time saving practice sessions. One other immediate benefit is that techniques and hand movements will become more fluid after warm ups.
Thirdly, these guitar warm up exercises will help tremendously to build finger strength for people who have just started playing the instrument. If your main complaints are sore fingers from holding chords or fingers that do not move according to your commands, this lesson IS A MUST for you to get over them easily.
This first exercise will develop endurance and muscles in your fretting fingers. Place your 4 fingers on the 1st string in a line starting from the 5th fret. While the rest of you fingers are IN CONTACT with the string, life your index finger and place it on the 2nd string and play that note.
Now, with the rest of the fingers in contact with the strings, lift your middle finger and place it on the 6th fret of the 2nd string and strike the note. Continue this motion with the rest of the fingers.
Play this warm up exercise up and down the strings. This exercise will also force your fingers to play with minimum motions and is very useful for advanced techniques which require you to play fast. Do this exercise at a slow tempo.
I call this the bumble-bee training. This exercise is modeled after the song “flight of the bumble bee” and makes your hand moves up and down the fretboard. The more difficult part about this exercise occurs when you move back down the fretboard and this really emphasizes the synchronization of your fingers.
How many of you guys know the notes of the fretboard at the back of your hand? In order to clear up these foggy areas of the guitar, this next exercise will help you remember the notes of the guitar as well as train your reflexes.
Set the metronome at a really slow tempo (60 bpm). Decide randomly any note that you want to locate and find it on the 6th string. At the next click of the metronome, locate the same note on the 5th string so on and so forth. You can refer to this chart of the guitar fretboard for help if you need.
1) At any point of time, if you feel severe discomfort or sharp pain, STOP immediately and give your fingers a rest. Do not force your fingers too much as you’ll do more harm than good. Instead, try doing something to take your mind of playing the guitar and get back to it at a later time.
2) Using a metronome is a MUST.
3) Concentrate on your finger movements and NOT SPEED.
As you build up your fingers’ strength and agility through these warm-up exercises, you will find significant improvement in your playing. Remember, spending at least 5 – 10 minutes to warm up your fingers prior to any practice is a small investment of your time that will reap you great rewards.