EVERY MONTH IN our Sixty Seconds With... Q&A we ask the question, ‘Do you have a pre-show warm-up routine?’ The responses vary from the relatively dismissive, ‘No, I just get on stage and play’, to pretty detailed descriptions covering how they relax, stretch, exercise, get the mind in the right place, have a beer, a chat with the band, the scales played and vocals practised.
So this month we asked Jacob ‘Quist’ Quistgaard, who’s extremely busy gigging all over the world with Roxy Music front man Bryan Ferry, to provide us with as complete a warm-up routine as possible. The kind of thing that would set the fingers up for even the toughest show.
Jacob runs through four musical styles - rock, blues, jazz and classical - and provides some great exercises to try, moving fret by fret through all the keys of the octave. We’ve never seen anything quite so targeted and all-encompassing, so hope you’ll find it of real value.
Obviously we know that in the real world you’re unlikely to have the time (or the space, or the quiet, or the privacy, given the dire nature of most backstage areas), to go through the entire process every night, but Jacob has made it easy to pick out and isolate whichever exercises would be most fruitful in your specific situation.
Given the breadth of styles covered and the depth in which Jacob has gone into these exercises, the feature could just as easily be seen as an ‘ultimate workout’, ‘chops builder’, ‘woodshed’ and so on. So by all means treat it as such if you prefer. Live, I’ve struggled on occasion with the horrors of screwing up that ‘big moment’. It can really get to you, especially on a run of gigs when the whole band looks at you each night, almost expecting the car crash that’s about to happen - and which is more likely to, now it’s what your whole brain in locked onto. So to get the digits fully flexed and comfortable on every fret on the guitar, is a great way to lessen the chances of that light at the end of the tunnel actually being the oncoming train!
I’d love to hear if, having tried any of the exercises, you felt better primed for a show, a recording or even just a jam. See you soon, hopefully honed to the hilt!