Invigorate your chops!

Ja­cob Quist­gaard has four genre-based warm-up ex­er­cises, de­signed to boost your tech­nique, spark fresh ideas, and make your prac­tice ses­sions way more mu­si­cal - and much more fun!

Guitar Techniques - - PLAY | TECHNIQUE -

Over the fol­low­ing pages we will ex­plore four warm-up ex­er­cises, drawn from four dif­fer­ent mu­si­cal gen­res that are all pop­u­lar in GT: rock, blues, jazz and clas­si­cal. The idea here is that while the chro­matic ‘spi­der’ warm-up is and al­ways has been a solid warm-up ex­er­cise, there’s no say­ing we can’t use more mu­si­cal pat­terns to cre­ate much more in­ter­est­ing work-outs. Us­ing cool licks or mu­si­cal ideas and con­cepts as warm-ups will not only gain us new play­ing vo­cab­u­lary; but step­ping up the level of ef­fort you put into your warm-ups and work­outs will also bring sev­eral other ben­e­fits.

First of all, warm­ing up prop­erly is a re­ally, re­ally great way to pre­vent ail­ments, whether from sud­den odd move­ments or repet­i­tive strain when play­ing. Warm­ing up helps guard you against that kind of ex­tremely an­noy­ing and re­gret­table sit­u­a­tion, es­pe­cially if you also re­mem­ber to stretch. I’ve been an avid stretch­ing fa­natic for years and I very much owe my hav­ing had no play­ing ail­ments to that fact - de­spite the fact that play­ing guitar has been my job, my pas­sion and my hobby for two decades. Warm­ing up reg­u­larly with in­spir­ing and challenging ex­er­cises will work won­ders for your over­all tech­nique, as well as open­ing doors to things you may have thought you’d never at­tain.

Warm­ing up reg­u­larly wi th in­spir­ing and challenging ex­er­cises is go­ing to work won­ders for your tech­nique

Over the past years of tour­ing the main, proper, fo­cused prac­tice time I get is my pre-sound­check and pre-show warm-ups. But if you get a great warm-up ex­er­cise or two in, that time may be worth as much as, or even more than any­thing else tech­nique re­lated you might spend time work­ing on in a full-length prac­tice ses­sion.

Even though it’s ‘just’ a warm-up, the key is to make it some­thing you look for­ward to rather than dread­ing. And this means tak­ing it se­ri­ously and pay­ing at­ten­tion to what you’re do­ing. And re­mem­ber, just as a blues in­tro can also be used as a turn­around or end­ing, as these warm-up ex­er­cises are mu­si­cal and not just scale bash­ing, they’ll dou­ble beau­ti­fully as your reg­u­lar tech­nique builder or ‘guitar gym’.

Here’s some im­por­tant stuff. Play­ing brand new ideas at a slow tempo at first is key, in or­der to al­low your brain to pro­gramme cor­rect fin­ger­ings, pick­ing pat­terns and so forth, rather than al­low­ing bad habits to form; it’s been said many times in these pages that sloppy tech­nique is usu­ally the bi-prod­uct of play­ing ev­ery­thing too fast at first.

And here’s an­other im­por­tant point: the metronome... it’s your friend... it will help you so much if you let it. Use it to build that all-im­por­tant sense of time (an­other thing we re­peat­edly talk about) and to help you work to­wards spe­cific play­ing goals, no mat­ter how small or large. It’s a cliché I know, but even the long­est jour­ney starts with a sin­gle step.

In the fol­low­ing ex­am­ples we’ll en­counter some fairly ad­vanced ideas, in­clud­ing speedy legato work fea­tur­ing fast com­bi­na­tions of ham­mer-ons and pull-offs, as well as pas­sages that will test your pick­ing ac­cu­racy. This is when it’s su­per im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that prac­tis­ing at slow tem­pos and work­ing your way up is al­ways the surest way to re­ally nail any lick or ex­er­cise. So make sure you have your metronome at hand, and don’t be afraid to start su­per-slow at first. It’s not a race!

Fi­nally, re­mem­ber the GT au­dio is there for you as a ref­er­ence and a guide, as well as to prac­tise along with when you feel ready. All the ex­am­ples go through all 12 keys (so you’re

Eb Bb well pre­pared for those and mo­ments), and are played at 100 BPM. Good luck!

Even though these ex­am­ples work with a fairly driven tone (Ex­er­cise 1 and 2 have more drive), I urge you to try them all with a fairly clean tone at first, adding just a bit of re­verb. There’s great value in prac­tic­ing with a clean tone, to pre­vent un­wanted er­rors and bad habits from hid­ing be­hind the dis­tor­tion or ef­fects! I used a Strat into an Axe FXII XL+ by Frac­tal Au­dio.

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