Why do we need Finger Warm ups?
Finger warm ups are important for a range of reasons. They increase our speed, our accuracy and finger strength. These combines are referred to as our finger dexterity. They also increase our finger-eye coordination. They also get the blood pumping to the hand and literally warm them up. Like a singer would warm up their voice or an athlete would warm up before the competition, we too should warm up before we try to get at speed.
Your First Finger Exercise
Your first exercise should be as simple as picking just one string and playing your first fret with your first finger(Index Finger), then playing the second fret with your second finger, your third fret with your third finger and your fourth fret with your Pinky (fourth finger).
This gets all four fingers used to having to move and builds up all the areas mentioned in the first section of this blog. However this is just an exercise and not yet a real warm up.
A Reminder on Reading TAB
For this I am going to assume most of you know how to read TAB. Every Ninja who has been to a single club has learnt the basics of TAB. However I will remind you of a little trick to help you remember what line represents what string.
Place the TAB down in front of you as though you are reading it off a flat table or the floor, Then slide the guitar down onto your lap so the strings are facing upwards. The line closest to you represents the string closest to you, so the closest line (the bottom line on the page) represents your Low E string (the string found physically at the top of your guitar when holding it correctly). Just remember to pick the guitar back up before you play otherwise it will be nearly impossible to play with the correct thumb position etc.
Finger Warm Up One – Hey Joe’s Bass Riff by Jimi Hendrix
This is a great exercise for getting both coordination and strength. It’s also great for stretching those little pinkies out.
To get the best out of this finger warm up, we want to ensure we use every finger as much as possible.
To be as efficient as possible with this I like to play the first note with my third finger. (not the first finger as most people would normally go to). This puts our hand in a great position to play the following four notes without having to move our hand along the neck. These tricks will help with speed in later exercises and warm ups.
From here we will play the open E string (6th Sting) and then play 1st fret with out first finger, 2nd fret with our second finger and 3rd fret with our third finger.
For the following line, we want to move our hand so we can now play the following four notes with our four fingers. So 2nd fret will be played with our first finger, 3rd fret with our 2nd finger, 4th fret with our their finger and 5th fret with out fourth finger.
We then want to continue with the pattern for the next two blocks for four notes.
When we reach the last 5 notes we may be jumping between strings but we have a nice easy stretch so I would advise using your first finger on 5th fret and your firth finger for the 7th fret notes. so again this section means starting with your third finger and not your first.
Next Steps – This makes a huge difference
Once you feel you understand what notes and fingers you are playing, you can continue to develop your dexterity by trying to keep your previous fingers down as much as possible. for instance notes 6-9 on here are perfect for this. play the 2nd fret with you first finger, 3rd fret with your second finger, 4th fret with your third finger and 5th fret with your little finger without removing any of the previous notes in this run.
TIP: if you struggle to get the little finger down when keeping the other fingers in place, make sure you thumb position is low on the back of the neck, pointing upwards and then bring your elbow into your side, this should help the hand rotate so your little finger can reach up.
Struggling, or want to know more?
For more information into the brand new starter tips I have a great blog listed below called “Top Tips for Quick Guitar Progression” which covered everything as though you haven’t held a guitar before.
We also have a blog all about holding a pick/plectrum the best way for maximum control and speed. Along with a video to help you out.