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Warm Up/Work Out


Hello there fellow music lovers! I would like to welcome you to my second article for ActiveBass.com. I hope you all had a chance to check out my first article "Hand Coordination Exercise" and found it helpful. This time I would like to share an exercise I have been using in my regular practice routine for some time now.

One of the coolest things, I thought my first year in college, was the fact that you were allowed to smoke cigarettes in school. I have long since kicked the habit, but of course back then I would always show up early to hang out in front of the Jazz Class with all the guitar players who were "warming up" before class and have a smoke or two.

I would watch as these guys would run through their lightning fast scales, impossible looking stretches and the newest two handed tapping licks, all in supposed preparation for comping clean chords over "Autumn Leaves." But there was always this one guy who really caught my interest. Sitting alone with his guitar, not out to impress anyone, he would simply hold down one note.

Just one.

Finally, one day I asked him, "What gives?"

This, he explained, was his warm up.

Starting with your E string with your first finger on the first fret, hold it down for a SLOW ten count. Then move on to your second finger on the second fret doing the same, holding it for a slow 10 count. Third finger, third fret, count to 10. Fourth finger, fourth fret, count to 10. Then moving down to the A string with the same chromatic slow count. First finger, first fret, count to 10. Second finger, second fret, count to 10. Etc., etc. Do the same on the D and then the G.

Then do it backward from the G string, Fourth finger, fourth fret. Third finger, third fret. Continuing on, back until you have reached the first fret on the E again, counting slowly to 10 on each fret.

By this point you will feel the muscles that you are working in your forearm and hand. As always, if you feel any pain or discomfort at anytime with your playing, STOP! But if you think you need more of a warm up, or feel like turning this into a work out, you can continue climbing the fretboard by moving your first finger up to the second fret and going again using the same pattern, and so on to the third fret, fourth... see how many frets you can climb. Remember to count SLOW!

To me, this is the equivalent to lifting weights for your fretting hand. You may not impress anyone outside your Jazz Class with this, but using this as part of my daily warm up by going down and up from the first, fifth and ninth frets only, and weekly as a work out by climbing chromatically to the point of exhaustion, I have noticed a great increase in both my hand strength and endurance.

This will also work well for what weight lifters call "spot training" or working your weak areas. To put this technique to use, try using only your third and fourth fingers!

I hope this helps you as much as it did my students and me.

Let me know by dropping me a line at GonzoBass@aol.com or visit me on the web at GonzoBass.com There you will find some more info about myself and some samples from my All Bass CD.

Aloha for now.

D.G. (Gonzo) Grogg is a solo bass artist.