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Guitar Technique & Warm Up



Jazz Guitar Monster Chops


Here are some technique and warm up exercises that can help you to gain fluency, speed and accuracy on the guitar neck. It's a good idea to do some of these exercises every day. Don't do them too long at a time, it's better to exercise regularly (daily) for a short time.

You gain the most out of these exercises if you use a metronome. Start slow and built up the speed. Don't force yourself into a tempo that you're not ready for. Make sure your arms and wrists are relaxed. Failing to do so may result in a RSI like tendinitis (wrist inflammation).

Just to make sure we understand eachother in terms of finger naming (warning: the numbers on the tabs below are not finger numbers, but fret numbers):

Guitar Fingering

Warm Up Exercises

This first exercise helps to develop your fluency, speed and left hand-right hand coordination. Start slow and build up the speed. Use fingers 1, 2, 3 and 4 of your left hand, don't skip the little finger. Use a pick and do alternate picking. The exercise doesn't stop at the end of the tabs, continue for the rest of the neck. Be RELAXED!


Guitar technique exercise 1


The next exercise trains your individual fingers. First do the exercise with fingers 1 and 2. Next round use fingers 2 and 3. Then use fingers 3 and 4. Do the exercise up to the 12th fret and for those of you who can't get enough of it, back from the 12th to the first. And remember: RELAX!


Guitar warm up exercise


String Skipping Exercises

The following set of exercises train your picking abilities.


Guitar technique exercise 3


This is one of bass player John Patitucci (if I remember it well). Happy skipping!


Guitar technique exercise 4


The next exercise uses the G major scale. It speaks for itself that you can use all guitar scales. Oh, when you reached the last note on the tab, don't stop, but go back (I admit I was a bit lazy).


Guitar tabs: string skipping


Intervalic Guitar Scales

The next set of exercises run through the G Ionian scale in different intervals. Try this exercise with all guitar scales you can think of.

In thirds:

Guitar scale exercise


In fourths:

Guitar scale exercise 2


In fifths:

Guitar technique: major scale in fifths


In sixths:

Guitar scales technique


In sevenths:

Guitar technique tablature


Finger Stretching Exercises

Here are some finger stretching exercises that will improve the reach and fluidity of your fingers.

Every guitarist, especially jazz guitarists, runs into chords or scales every now and then that take his fingers stretching ability to the limit. The exercises below will help you develop your stretching ability. If you practice them regularly, you will be able to stretch your fingers much further than you do now.

A word of warning and some advice before we get started:

  • Before attempting these exercises please warm up with some simple chromatic exercises first
  • Start at an easy tempo and gradually increase speed.
  • If at any time during the exercise you start to feel pain in your hand (fingers, wrist, …), stop doing the exercise and try a more simple one. The purpose of exercises like these is to stretch your fingers, not to damage them.
  • Don't practice these stretches too long at one time.
  • Practice with a metronome.

I will start all the exercises on the high E string but it's free to choose on which string you start.

I also start from the 12th fret going up, but if this is too easy for you and you want the exercises to be harder, just move down on the neck (start on the 5th fret for example). The space between the frets increases as you move down the neck, so the closer you are to the nut, the harder it will be.

Make sure you keep your first finger fretted at all time, else there won't be a lot of stretching.


Exercise One: stretching space between fingers 1 & 2


Guitar technique exercise 1


Exercise Two: stretching space between fingers 2 & 3


Guitar finger exercise 2


Exercise Three: stretching space between fingers 3 & 4


Guitar technique exercise 3


Exercise Four: stretching space between all fingers


Guitar finger exercise 4


Exercise Five: diagonal stretching


I'll give you the exercise for stretching diagonally between fingers 1 & 2. By now you get the idea and it is up to you to work this exercise out for stretching the other fingers.

Guitar finger exercise 5


Again, if these exercises are to easy for you try playing them closer to the nut (for example starting on the 5th or 1st fret). There are many variations to these exercises, try finding some of your own.

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