If you play or want to play fingerpicking guitar, you’re in the right place. In this guitar lesson, I’m going to show you six fingerpicking exercises for warm-up that will revolutionize your practice session.
A good warm-up routine can help you progress faster as it helps you prepare your fingers for the correct movements. In addition, it makes practicing guitar more fun as everything works better. I have six warm-up exercises that you can do within five minutes once you’ve learned and memorized them.
I’ll explain each warm-up and its purpose and then show you how to play it.
#1 Fingerpicker Developer
This exercise is designed to get your fingers to the right place on the fretboard. For the left hand, we’re going to start on the sixth string with the index finger on the first fret. Then we’ll place the middle finger on the second fret, ring finger on the third fret, and pinky on the fourth fret.
We then move to the fifth string and do the same thing. We’ll do that until we get all the way to the first string to then move the whole thing up one fret and come back down. We then repeat that movement all the way to the sixth string. Once there, we move one fret up and continue.
For the right hand, we alternate between the thumb and index finger. This will get your right hand warmed up, even though the focus is on the left hand. Remember to go slow and get it right. Keep your hand in the correct position at all times and try to stay relaxed. You can go as far as you wish.
#2 Triple Bass Thumb Warm-Up
The thumb is mostly responsible for the bass note and usually stays in the bottom three strings. This exercise will help you practice playing accurate bass notes. We’re going to use three chords: E, Am, B7 (three fingers only).
You’re going to play the bass note with your thumb and alternate it with the first string with your index. Starting on the E chord and alternating the bass note with the high E, use your thumb to play the sixth, fifth and fourth string.
Try not to yank your hand away and make sure you aim for a solid bass note. Then move the E chord up a fret and do the same movements on the right hand, then back again. We then move to Am, back to E, then B7, and finally E.
#3 Chord Pluck Exercise
This is a great exercise to practice planting your fingers. We’re going to use the same chords as before: E, Am, B7.
On the right hand, we’re going to place our thumb on the sixth string, the index on the third, the middle finger on the second string, and the ring finger on the first string. We then pluck all the strings together and then alternate between the top three strings and the bass twice. Start on E, move that up a fret, come back to E, then Am with a bass lick.
The bass lick is just the notes C and B on the fifth string. The C is played with your pinky on the third fret and the B with your middle finger and finally the open A string. On the repeat, we can add a variation on the E by going up one fret and then two frets up, to come back down to the E.
#4 Rolling Arpeggio Warm-Up
If I had to pick just one of the best guitar picking exercises it would be this one. It truly helps you relax and warm up your hands.
We’re going to stay on the E chord. On the right hand, place your thumb on the sixth string, the index on the third, middle finger on the second string, and ring finger on the first string. We’re going to pluck each string individually, starting with the sixth, then the third, second, and first.
We then do the same pattern but the bass is now on the fifth string, and we end with the pattern being played with the bass on the fourth string.
We then move up a fret and do the pattern with the bass on the fifth string and come back down to the E chord. Then go up two more frets, back two frets, and finally ending at the E chord.
This exercise is simple but very effective.
#5 Pinch and Pluck Warm-Up
This one might take a little longer to learn but it's well worth it. It’s a lot of fun and sounds like the songs like Blackbird by the Beatles, and has a Travis Picking Pattern quality to it. Watch the video and go nice and slow until you finally have it.
This is one of several fantastic guitar fingerpicking exercises.
#6 Triple Pinch Exercise
Using the same E, Am, and B7 we’re going to pluck every other string starting with the 6th and 4th. The string pattern is 6th and 4th, 5th and 3rd, 4th and 2nd, back to 5th and 3rd, 4th and 2nd, 5th and 3rd, 6th and 4th, and ending on 5th and 3rd.
Go up a step with the left hand and play the same pattern before going back down to play it again. We start with E, then Am, to E, B7 (no pinky), then E, up a fret, down a fret, up a fret, down a fret. That is the entire exercise.
Would you like more help with this?
If you’re already a Real Guitar Academy member, go to the last section of Supersonic Guitar Warmup Exercises for a step-by-step breakdown with TABS, Play-Alongs tracks, and a place to ask for advice/feedback. Log in first, then click on this link to access the lessons:
Supersonic Guitar Warmup Exercises
Not a member yet? No problem. Sign up here for a 14 day trial for $1, then click the links above. I’m hoping you stick around… but if not the 14 days should be enough time to make considerable progress.
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