Tip #1 – Warm-up
Have you ever grabbed the guitar and felt discouraged after playing a couple of notes? Your hands are cold and your chops seem to have vanished overnight. I feel like this everytime I start playing if I don’t warm-up first.
Warming up will calibrate your hands and brain while making the blood flow into your hands and fingers. That way, when you start playing actual music, your body will be ready and you will enter a flow state much more easily.
Now that you have an idea of the benefits of a good warmup : How long should you warm-up? What exercises should you do to warm-up?
With the right exercises, you should be able to get all the benefits of a great warm-up in 5 to 10 minutes. I usually do exercises based on finger combinations (the typical “1234, 1243, 1324 …” sequence) in order to work on every finger equally. I also know from experience that my picking hand takes longer to warm-up than my fretting hand. Therefore, I do the “1234 exercise” picking every single note.
The picking hand is fairly simple to warm-up. You just need to pick until it feels effortless.
The fretting hand however, can be a little bit trickier. That’s why I’ve made a video sharing my go to warm-up for it.
If you’ve never warmed-up before playing, this may seem a bit overkill : “I just play songs until I’m in the zone”. And if it works for you : Great!
The point of a warm-up is to get you up and running quickly by following specific patterns. Playing songs in order to warm up can work (it depends on the song) but it will probably take longer and may end up discouraging you completely before reaching a flow state.