How To Effectively Warm Up On Guitar Using 5 Powerful Concepts
Wish you knew the most effective warm ups for guitar that helped you quickly get started with practice and get amazing results?
What not to do:
Practice random chromatic licks only for the purpose of warming up your hands.
This common tactic is not very effective, despite so many people using it.
Want to know what is effective?
Find out now by using the 5 powerful guitar warmup exercise concepts in this video:
Click on the video to begin watching it.
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Now you’ve watched the video and learned cool new ways to warmup and practice to get better results.
Bonus Warmup Tip #1: Warm Up Lead Guitar With Phrasing (Not Just Technique)
Playing lead guitar expressively takes more than just warming up technique and increasing speed (as many people do). To play expressive, musical lead guitar solos and licks, you need to practice guitar phrasing.
This refers to the art of understanding how to play notes on guitar in order to make them sound more melodic, expressive and emotional.
Developing this skill helps you create guitar solos based on feeling rather than whatever notes you are given to play with.
You know what's a shame, though?
Most guitar players either overlook this skill or never even knew it existed. This means their lead guitar playing kinda sucks for a long time (even though they may have great technical skills).
You don't want to end up in the same boat as them.
Choose any guitar practice item you are going to work on for the day.
Next, choose only 3-4 notes from the item.
Warm up by improvising with these notes for a few minutes while trying to create as many unique phrases as possible by using techniques like vibrato, bends, tremolo picking, sweep picking, legato or harmonics.
This improves your phrasing while also warming you up to kick ass with whatever practice item you chose.
Question: “Wait, don't I need to get better at playing entire solos, not just a handful of notes?”
Answer: It all begins with a handful of notes. Improving your phrasing on a micro level is the foundation to great phrasing.
Get better at playing a small amount of notes more expressively by targeting a single technique.
A great place to start is warming your practice sessions by working on a frequently overlooked skill:
Spending just a few minutes practicing vibrato technique before you get into your other practice items is an excellent idea.
Avoid things like playing vibrato too fast/without much control. This is when it feels like you are shaking the string but not targeting both the original and new pitch perfectly. It may also sound out of tune if the pitch is not controlled well.
Do this by grabbing a metronome and setting it to a slow tempo.
Then start the vibrato on beat 1 by bending to the target pitch. Return the string to the original pitch on beat 2. Repeat this until it becomes easy to make your vibrato controlled and in tune.
Bonus Warmup Tip #2: Use Short Speed Bursts Of A Few Notes At A Time
Want to get better results from any particular practice item?
No problem, just warm up by breaking that item into small sections of 3-5 notes at once.
Then play through these notes at max speed (it will be easier with less notes) + heavy picking power.
Practicing small groups of notes at fast speeds like this makes putting the entire item together much easier to process mentally and your hands are warmed up so they sync with your mind perfectly. This massive reduces how long it takes to master any given item.
Bonus Warmup Tip #3: Quickly Finger Through Patterns
Think warming up is just picking through whatever your practice items are for a bit?
Consider this - You don't need to warm up chords, scales, arpeggios or rhythm parts by picking directly through their entire patterns all the time.
Focusing on the fretting hand only can be a great warmup.
You also can simply lightly finger the fretboard patterns of chords to warm up switching quickly between them.
This better prepares you mentally for when the time comes to practice with both hands (during your actual practice time).
That said, try to think of other creative ways to warm up. The more variety of approaches you use, the better your chances of finding new and more effective ways to enhance your practice. Track your progress with each approach to gauge if it is helping or not.
Bonus Warmup Tip #4: Don't Re-Invent The Wheel On Your Own
Ever struggle with any of these issues while warming up before practice?:
- Not knowing the best warmup to choose for the best results
- Not understanding how long to warm up or which warmups to prioritize
- Wishing you could get better results in your practice by warming up more effectively
You make substantial improvement in your guitar playing by taking lessons with an excellent guitar instructor who has already helped loads of other players achieve your exact same guitar playing goals.
Working with a guitar teacher helps you learn how to refine your warmup habits, practice habits and any other habits to help you get better faster.
That's not all:
Your guitar teacher also helps you improve your playing in subtle ways you just never would've imagined by yourself (or found online) because of their knowledge.
Don't wait to begin taking guitar lessons.
The longer you wait, the longer it takes to accomplish your musical goals and become the guitarist you wish to be.
Begin today and make a breakthrough in your guitar playing like never before.
Here is what my guitar students have to say about improving their skills with me:
“I found Tom Hess on the net through articles, and I read quite a few of those before I went to Tom’s website. Even though I’m not a metal player at all, and Tom is obviously a metal player, I could still see that his ideas and way of teaching could really benefit me. So I pretty much signed up for online guitar lessons with Tom straight away once I’d gone through the website, and it’s just been a real eye opener with the way he teaches…”
... the integration of concepts that he’ll give you and having a really structured strategy… not just week to week lessons, but things that - you can see from one lesson to the next - really develop and continue to work on your technique and your theory and aural skills and those types of things. So I’d played a long time… 20 years before I really caught onto Tom, and I’d had a lot of lessons, and I’d taught and played but I can really see improvements in my technique, sweeping, and picking which weren’t strong parts of my playing.
I feel like Tom has a good gauge of where you’re at as a guitar player and what you need, and there just seemed to be so much more stuff in the lessons week to week than what you’d ever get in an hour or so in a one on one lesson… way more. So yeah I think that and the forum. I think, I’d pay the money just for the forum. That alone would be fine… I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all. So that alone is massive!
The price for the lessons, that’s nothing... nothing. You know, I think it’s, pretty cheap to be honest. I don’t mean that in a bad way, cheap. Cheap is not a good word, but I just think it’s great value… awesome value. I mean, you know, you could pay that for one-to-one lessons and you just don’t get the same results and support of the forum and the content and the strategies.
Other teachers I’ve had have been good players, and some have become good friends too. But when I’ve started lessons with Tom I’ve got something to compare that to and a lot of it is just sort of teaching songs from week to week… a lot of the lesson will be left up to you… you’ll go to your lesson and they’ll be like what do you want to do today? At the time I said, oh do this song or that song, but with Tom you start to realize that you know, there’s more to it… the goals and you know he’s sort of more in contact with what you want to be able to do as a player, because he’s asking you the questions and then setting up the strategies, so I find that really good.
Yeah I can see more results in 18 months in a lot of areas in my playing than you know 20 years. So it’s sort of, you know, would’ve been great 20 years ago to have met Tom.
Simon Candy, Melbourne, Australia
"When I came to Tom for online guitar lessons, I already had a decent overall level of technique and understood the basics of music theory pretty well. I had taken lessons with other teachers before, and went through several guitar method books that promised to teach me how to become a great lead guitar player. I learned all the materials in these books and courses and picked up some useful tips and knowledge along the way. Yet for some reason I still wasn't feeling like a musician. I struggled very much with writing my own songs, creating my own solos and pushing my guitar technique and speed to a higher level (especially sweep picking, alternate picking, and playing clean at high speeds).
When I started learning from Tom, the main thing that made him different from other teachers was that he was showing me how to excel in all aspects of my guitar playing by applying the skills that I already knew together with the new material that I was learning from him.
He made me aware of both strengths and weaknesses in my playing that I did not even know I had. From there he gave me the knowledge, tools and guidance to literally transform my guitar playing by enabling me to overcome things that were preventing me from becoming a truly creative and self-expressive guitar player. These were the kinds of things that none of my previous guitar teachers and books I studied were able to do for me.
After Tom made me aware of all the things I was missing in my guitar playing and provided me with the strategy and tools for solving them, I began to make very fast progress in all areas of my guitar playing.
I can now write my own music and can create lead guitar solos that I am happy and fulfilled with. I also have the technical skills to confidently and easily play anything that I want to express. I have overcome all of the lead guitar challenges that I struggled with before, and increased my guitar speed to virtuoso levels. More importantly, I have the knowledge and understanding of how to continually improve my guitar playing and musical skills to higher and higher levels to continue expressing myself with my music. Overall, I have definitely transformed in a huge way as a musician and as a person through my lessons with Tom Hess. I am grateful to him for guiding me towards becoming the guitarist I always wanted to be!"
Mike Philippov, Indiana, USA
“When I first heard about Tom Hess, I saw that he was a teacher that was very dedicated and serious about it, and that drew me in immediately. That this is a guy that has a plan, has a goal and really if you’re serious about learning guitar, this guy is equally as serious in a way. So it resonated with me straight away.”
I started out just learning by myself and as many others I got stuck. I had a few issues I wanted to get by, but when I met Tom and talked with him and started lessons with him, he opened up a whole new world of possibilities of what guitar playing can be.
I feel very grateful that I found lessons from Tom since I then did what worked from the very beginning. Many guitarists I see that played way longer than I did, they have build up many bad habits. That from the very start, there was clear instruction of how to practice correctly. You build the ability for high speed and whatever you want from the very beginning and you don’t waste time doing inefficient things. So I’m very grateful that I did that, and now I really feel I am able to reach whatever level I want.
The reasons why I think I feel so motivated all the time is because I know that the thing I’m working on is relevant for me and it’s exactly the direct thing I need to get.
The forum just kicks ass. The people in the forum - it’s just like unconditional help all the time. They love to help out, and you also get very inspired by seeing someone just really getting speed really quick and then you say if he can do it, I can do it. It works on the mental side of being a guitarist and that of course that’s the most important thing. Just being around other musicians like that, is just you learn so much faster, is so much less frustration when you can see that all the people are having the same issues that you do, not anything special or anything. It’s just part of learning process, so it kicks ass.
Magnus Gautestad, Norway
Now you know some great ways to warm up effectively on guitar, plus some ways to get more mileage out of your practice items.
There is much more to learn in order to become the badass guitarist you want to be.
It's time to learn how to reach your guitar playing goals faster than ever - get started today by taking interactive guitar lessons.