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.
Soul Musician and Berklee College of Music Graduate Shaun Munday to Release Debut Solo Album
Megadeth Bassist David Ellefson Holds Grand Opening For His Coffee Company
Slayer, Lamb of God, and Behemoth Announce Summer Tour
Bitwig Studio 2 DAW Now Available
Win a 6-Festival Slot in the Untz Producer Challenge
This Week in Free Stuff: Producer Competition Pack & Ableton Beat Tools
EMIKO - The Musical Traveler on Her New Release “Simple Love”
UVI UVS-3200 Captures the Analog Sound of the Vintage Semi-Modular Korg PS-3200
Pyramind Launches a Global Music Mentorship Network
Craig Chaquico Is Reunited with His Long-Lost 1959 Les Paul
Laurence Juber Premieres Acoustic Arrangement of “And Your Bird Can Sing”
John Oates Reveals His Lifelong Fascination with Cars and Racing
Photo of the Day: Couple's Baby Throws the Horns in Ultrasound Photo
Deaf Poets Premiere New Song and Music Video, "Celestine"
Megadeth's David Ellefson and Comedian Don Jamieson to Host Grand Opening of Ellefson Coffee Co. Storefront
Gear Review: Analog Fox Easy Vibe Pedal
Craig Chaquico Is Reunited with 1959 Les Paul That Was Stolen in 1978
Steve Morse Provides Updates on Deep Purple and Rock ’N’ Roll Fantasy Camp
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