Skip to content

Forum

Notifications
Clear all

Do guitarists need a "warm-up"?

Page 1 / 3

(@fleaaaaaa)
Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 680
Topic starter  

I was just thinking about this because I have played for years, yet I can rarely ever remember doing a "warm-up" before practicing or even before getting on stage with a band. I have ocassionally at the beginning of practice noodled around with scales while waiting for others to be ready though I don't know if that would be considered a warm-up routine because I'm not doing specific things everytime, so I want to ask you;

1.) Is it essential that a guitarist has a (specific) warm up routine?

2.) If it is and you have one, please share it with us!

together we stand, divided we fall..........


Quote
(@alangreen)
Member Moderator
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5366
 

There was a similar conversation to this came up a few years back on Wholenote dot com; the guy involved was telling how he was having to have surgery to have a nerve in his arm realigned because of playing from cold - not so he could play better but just to live a life free of pain.

My warmup routine takes less than five minutes a day:

Touch your fingertips with your thumb - about half a dozen times for each finger - both hands (you'll be gobsmacked how good this is for accurate positioning)

Clench your fists - not tightly - then spray your fingers out straight. Do this five or six times

Roll your hands from the wrist, five times in each direction.

Keep your elbow, wrist and fingers in a line and:

1 - Lay your hands flat on the back of your guitar/ on the desk/ on the kitchen worktop, and spread your fingers as wide as you can manage without feeling any discomfort - five or six times each hand. The angle between my thumb and my pinky at this point is about 135 degrees.

2 - Lay your hands flat on the back of your guitar/ on the desk/ on the kitchen worktop, and raise your thumbs as far as they will go. Then do the same for each finger - only one digit should be in the air at a time. Five times each hand

Link you hands behind your back - palms facing your butt - and raise your arms behind you as far as you can get them a few times. Hold for ten seconds. Breathe deeply whilst you hold this one. You'd be amazed how much of your guitar times is spent with your shoulders hunched reaching down to get to the strings.

You'll notice nobody's played a note yet

Then - play a few slow scales, a few chords, some arpeggios and finally get onto playing some music.

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


ReplyQuote
(@fenderstrat928)
New Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 1
 

i think it's always good to warm up for 10-15 minutes before you have a solid practice or perform. It's always good to stretch out your muscles and tendons in your fingers to help you play as fast as you can. it'll also prevent you from hurting yourself from playing.

http://www.squidoo.com/fender-starcaster-acoustic-beginners-guitar-review
http://guitartopia.net/fender-starcaster-the-best-beginner-acoustic-guitar-around/


ReplyQuote
(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 8306
 

i try to keep my hands loose in general. when i pick up the guitar, unless i pick it up for a specific reason, i just let my fingers roam for a while before playing anything from memory, if i ever do.


ReplyQuote
(@tactful)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 99
 

My hands seem to stay or always be on the loose side,strange but true.
interesting workout with the hand Alan. have to try it along with my daily routine.

I fool around on the fretboard for about 10 -15 minutes finding something preferably new to do
along with what I find while fooling around off the beaten path as it were.
this way one is less likely to Not find anything to play or practice.
same deal back in the day with my band. Always looking up or forward.

Heroes Don't wear capes.They wear Dog tags


ReplyQuote
(@randyellefson)
Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 25
 

It depends on the player and what you typically play. If you're intending to do DragonForce type material then it's probably wiser to play easier stuff first for a song or two, or some slow scales. My "warm-up" is nothing more than playing easier songs first.

Full streaming audio of my instrumental guitar albums is available at http://www.randyellefson.com, or download me playing "Dee" by Randy Rhoads at http://www.randyellefson.com/music/serenade/Dee_Randy_Ellefson.mp3


ReplyQuote
(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 8306
 

even if i'm just thinking about warming up with a scale, i'll improvise a song in the scale. it's just too boring to drill stuff, and it can lead to repetitive stress injuries.


ReplyQuote
(@tactful)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 99
 

When I do what I do a few posts up drills,getting bored,stress or doing anything is just not in the cards,been doing it so long.know better than to risk any kind of injury when playing.other activities are another story entirely.being careful is always in the fore front in what ever I do.

Heroes Don't wear capes.They wear Dog tags


ReplyQuote
(@rocket-dog)
Reputable Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 296
 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_6mxQixqRs

Well Joe has a thought on this.


ReplyQuote
(@randyellefson)
Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 25
 

i have 2 cases of tendonitis in each arm and a degree in classical guitar that caused it, and I can tell you that warming up or not is not what causes the injury so much as playing for too long too many days in a row because you're arms don't get the rest.

Full streaming audio of my instrumental guitar albums is available at http://www.randyellefson.com, or download me playing "Dee" by Randy Rhoads at http://www.randyellefson.com/music/serenade/Dee_Randy_Ellefson.mp3


ReplyQuote
(@tactful)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 99
 

i have 2 cases of tendonitis in each arm and a degree in classical guitar that caused it, and I can tell you that warming up or not is not what causes the injury so much as playing for too long too many days in a row because you're arms don't get the rest.
I Am not sure about too long however. this does Not mean Daily practices.we all should have routines of sorts.
safety net = knowing posture,techniques,etc

Sorry to hear about the tendonitis Randy.I have a buddy that has RA that plays Bass in a band and the band does gig. buddy still plays ,back on topic. too many days? been practicing a long time since back in the day when there was a band.

Point or moral is playing every day 25 min to an hour or more (usually more) is not gonna hurt you.I ain't no kid anymore by a long shot.I am having a race with Aurthur and I'm winning so I think it is safe to say playing/practicing will not hurt you.
seems to me playing every day is the reason I'm beating Aurthur. I think warming up is optional.there are days you can only get 5 or 10 in.I don't get to warm up. but when I get to set a spell(a good session) warming up is great,enter the idea factor.
knowing how Not to make yourself or get bored.
Rawk On

Heroes Don't wear capes.They wear Dog tags


ReplyQuote
(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3711
 

Warmup routine? No. Warmup? Yes. Noodeling, a few chords, some simple song parts and then I am ready.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


ReplyQuote
(@tactful)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 99
 

I'm with TR.just call it Warmup and call it a day.

Heroes Don't wear capes.They wear Dog tags


ReplyQuote
(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 8306
 

i have 2 cases of tendonitis in each arm and a degree in classical guitar that caused it, and I can tell you that warming up or not is not what causes the injury so much as playing for too long too many days in a row because you're arms don't get the rest.

a lot of it has to do with how you play, not just what you play. i have a music minor that i got in 3 years, so i know how much classical guitar is repetitive and drills. but there was a point where i played 10-24 hours a day for at least a few months in a row, but it was almost entirely improvised and i didn't force my hands to do too much they didn't want to do, and never had any problems, while i got a sore wrist that prevented me from playing at all for a few weeks from just drilling scales at high speed for a few minutes a day for a few days. i didn't push my endurance to get to the point of playing all day, it was really more just about exploring music. it was rather effortless, while sitting down and playing something note for note when your body isn't necessarily trying to move in that direction is generally pretty tiring, while what i did is more of a mental struggle with patience, since you have to keep yourself entertained perpetually, which is impossible. you get bored with yourself, then angry at your lack of ability... it can get really dark, but then you realize one day that you're so much better than you were and all the practice has actually made you pretty darn talented.


ReplyQuote
(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3460
 

even if i'm just thinking about warming up with a scale, i'll improvise a song in the scale. it's just too boring to drill stuff, and it can lead to repetitive stress injuries.

I'm the same. I always improvise around whatever I'm doing. I never do set routines or drills.

It's interesting to compare the warm up ideas for music with those for sport. It used to be thought that doing a lot of static muscles stretches before running (or whatever) was a good idea and would help prevent injury. However, recent research apparently shows that (contrary to past thinking) doing static stretches before vigorous exercise makes no difference to whether you are likely to get injured or not. It seems that the best way to warm up is to simply do some of what you're about to do. So bike riders warm up by going for a ride, or pedaling on an exercise bike, before the race starts.

My guess is that what musicians are doing by warming up is not so much a muscle thing but a mind thing. Muscles are ultimately controlled by the mind, so if you're (for instance) feeling too tense then noodling gently up and down the neck can relax you and get the balance right. However, if you're going out on stage to rip straight into something fiery then you may not want to feel 100% laid back. It might be a case of pumping yourself up with some full throttle stuff. That's not to say that going through set hand stretches or routines is necessarily a waste of time - if you are the sort of person who likes that kind of thing, or it helps you to release certain tensions that you tend to build up, or just generally to get your head in the right place, then it's clearly working.

I don't think that tension is in itself is bad. Just about anything physical probably involves some kind of applied tension. What seems to cause problems is having the 'wrong' tension. Too much, too little, fighting against other tensions, in the wrong places, etc. In other words it's really an issue of balance. If I relaxed 100% completely I'd not only drop the guitar, I'd fall on the floor myself.

What would get me nicely balanced and ready to play - not too tense, not too relaxed - would depend a lot on what state I was in before I began. I might need to relax and loosen up with some gentle noodling or wake up with something a whole lot crisper! No set answer, but usually it's just to pick up the guitar and play something. :)

Cheers,

Chris


ReplyQuote
Page 1 / 3