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Pre-Gig Warm Up Exercises

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

I'm sure that every gigging guitar player has experienced that moment when you begin your solo, ready to blow the minds of every person in the place, but your fingers don't get the memo.

Warming up before a gig is the best way to ensure that your playing is at the level you normally expect it to be at. In the following article I'm going to go through a few of the exercises I've learnt over my career as a guitar player.

Exercise 1

The key to this exercise is that it's running chromatically, which gives most pentatonic-loving guitar players a bit of a brain wobble. I usually do this exercise first, just to get my fingers moving.

Also, this exercise works best if you are using a metronome to keep time.

Exercise 2

Allow me to apologise on behalf of Joe Satriani for teaching you this exercise. It's a killer!

This is one of Joe Satriani's favourite warm up techniques, for good reason. It is the perfect exercise for preparing your fingers for some tricky chords or arpeggios.

Proceed with caution. These "chords" are not going to sound good, so I would suggest playing them at a low volume. They are purely a form of finger stretching. I would start this progression with my metronome keeping a time of 80bpm and slowly up the tempo as I start to feel more comfortable.

Exercise 3

This exercise is an adaptation of the previous one, meaning that it's going to sound just as bad.

Take this one at a pace which is comfortable to you. There's no need to rush through it. The first part of it is for exercising your middle and ring finger, while the second section is for your index and pinky finger.

Exercise 4

After I've successfully warmed my fingers up, I usually run through a scale as a warm down exercise, my favourite being the G Major scale.

A metronome is absolutely essential for running scales!

Important! Cease warming up if your hand or forearm starts hurting. "No pain, no gain" does not apply to guitar players. Unless you're Jack White...


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