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.
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
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
or visit me on the web at
There you will find some more info about myself and some samples from my All
Aloha for now.