Warming Up


Proper warm up exercises and stretching are necessary to enjoy the playing of guitar in a safe and productive manner. The following exercises are designed to loosen up your fingers and allow you to learn proper technique. If you have problems with any of these exercises or notice any pain in your hands, stop immediately and consult with your instructor or a medical professional if the problem is severe.

Start Slow

It is important to play these exercises very slowly and fluidly to begin with. Speed will come with time. For now, it is your primary concern to fret and pluck each note clearly and to play the entire exercise without rests. On your first lesson, I will be showing you how to hold the guitar properly in order to play these exercises fluently. You may notice that these exercises are all within the chromatic scale which is convenient for warm up exercises.

Use a Metronome

These exercises are to be playing with a metronome starting at the slowest speed that you are comfortable with. Every day you should turn up the speed of the metronome a few bpm (beats per minute). It is commonly held knowledge that guitar is best learned by playing slowly and then getting faster. Start with your metronome at 72bpm. After two days, increase to 75. After one day, increase to 80. Continue increasing daily over the next month. Do not play these exercises as fast as you can or you may hurt yourself. The point is to start slow and slowly build up your skill until you can play them extremely fast.

How to Play Fast

This is how guitarists like Paul Gilbert and Steve Vai became so fast. It took them years but now they can play incredibly fast and also incredibly precise. The guitarists who jump into fast are usually the ones who end up playing very sloppy and run the great risk of injuring themselves from tendinitis which is a painful and debilitating medical condition brought on by repetitive motions. If you learn how to play the guitar properly, take frequent breaks, start by playing slowly and gaining speed, and practice proper warm up routines, you greatly diminish your chance of ever developing tendinitis or any other guitar-caused injury and you will become a much more fluid guitarist.

Warming Up Exercise 1

warming up

Warming Up Exercise 2

warming up exercise 2

Warming Up Exercise 3

warming up exercise 3

Warming Up

Thanks for reading this lesson on warming up here on How To Guitar. Warming up is extremely important for guitarists because it lessens the danger of physically hurting yourself when playing guitar. I would suggest that before you start to practice, you spend about 5 to 10 minutes slowly playing the exercises on this page.  Play them very slowly.  Use a metronome.

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