We figured the first thing we’d ask the guitar icon is how he warms up.
It’s ten minutes before show time. You’re backstage with a guitar in your hands. What are you playing?This is the first thing I do [Ex. 1]. I call this Diagonal Chord Relay, because, well, I had to call it something [laughs]. I’ve been doing this for years—decades, actually. I used to tell my students “strum, mute, switch” when they were doing this—the idea being that after you strum the first chord, your strumming hand mutes the strings before you lift your fretting fingers and switch to the next chord. Your thumb should remain behind and on the neck at all times, and your fingers should move as little as possible as you ascend the fretboard.
How long do you typically do this exercise?
I actually wouldn’t recommend anyone spend more than a minute doing this because the idea is not to become familiar with it. What you need are ten of these exercises for ten minutes of warm-up. I mean, you want to do the exercise well, but I would never say, “If it takes you 45 minutes to get this perfect, then put in the time.” It’s not music. This isn’t repertoire. You’re never going to play it during a performance, and it’s never going to provide joy to you [laughs]. It’s a mindless warm-up, which is great. Because it’s not musical, you can say, “Okay, I don’t have to worry about my timing, or whether I’m putting enough emotion into it or not, or if I am projecting to the audience.” None of that stuff is involved. It leaves you free to say, “How do my fingers feel today? Does my thumb feel good in that position?”
Are there ways one can vary or expand the exercise?
Try moving it from the middle four strings to the lowest or highest four strings, or moving up a fret with each new chord. Or, arpeggiate every chord [Ex. 2]. Here’s another two-chord pattern you can use in the same way [Ex. 3]. This last one has always been strange for me, so I always make sure to do it. Just as a tongue twister helps pronunciation, these exercises improve finger dexterity. Try to stay absolutely relaxed as you do them.
Bonobo Shares New Video for Bambro Koyo Ganda (feat. Innov Gnawa) (WATCH)
Rocket Surgeon Effect Pedal Laboratory Unveils the Seratone
Mike Watt and Big Walnuts Yonder Announce Debut Album, Premiere Single (LISTEN)
UVI Digital Synsations Vol. 2 Captures the Best "Digital Maverick" Synths of the '90s
Hip-hop Producer P.Morris' Quick Production Tips
Video: New PreSonus Quantum Flagship Thunderbolt Interface
RETRO AD REPRINT - Patrice Rushen and the Rhodes (1977)
Paul Shaffer - The Return of the Late Night Maestro
5 Questions for New Age Synth Master Kitaro
Third Annual Malibu Guitar Festival Returns to Southern California
TC Electronic Announces the PolyTune 3 Polyphonic Tuner Pedal
Don Felder: Five Things We Learned from His New ‘String Theory’ Episode
Tombs Premiere New Song, "Saturnalian"
Kobra and the Lotus Premiere New Music Video, "You Don't Know"
Wednesday 13 Premieres New Music Video, "Blood Sick"
'Leap of Faith': Timothy B. Schmit Talks Past, Present, Future and New Album
Ozzy Osbourne and Zakk Wylde Announce 2017 Summer Tour
NEXI Introduces DLY-01 Digital Delay Pedal
Copyright ©2017 by NewBay Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 28 East 28th Street, 12th floor, New York, NY 10016 T (212) 378-0400 F (212) 378-0470