– all of these exercises take less than 60 seconds each –
Open string arpegios in different patterns. How many variations can you make in 30 seconds?
Chromatic exercise at the 5th position thus avoiding stretching the fingers – yet.
Simple chord sequence in 1st position: try C major – A minor – D minor – G 7. You don’t know the chords and have been playing for at least a year? Drop everything and make it a priority to catch up.
Play the same chord sequence in arpeggio patterns of your invention.
Talking of C major: how about the scale of C major in 2 octaves? Start in 1st or 2nd position and move up to 5th position. This is your first left hand “jump” of the day.
Time for some slurring (ligado) exercises in 5th position. Try hammers or snaps between the following pairs of fingers: 1 – 2, 1 – 3, 1 – 4, 2 – 3, 2 – 4, 3 – 4; 4 -3, 4 -2, 4 -1, 3 -2, 3 -1, 2 -1. Congratulations, you have just played all the combinations possible between pairs of fingers.
Double up on the slurring exercises by playing only the first note of each group and slurring the rest: 1-2-1-2/ 1-3-1-3/ 1-4-1-4/ etc, thus combining hammers and snaps within the same exercise just like in real music.
How about a 3 octave chromatic scale starting on the low string E? Repeat ad lib changing right hand fingers free stroke and rest stroke.
Back to the C major scale: play the scale harmonised. Place the scale note at the top of the chord and add a 2 or 3 note chord underneath. Harmonise as you wish. Tip: you don´t have to invent a new chord on every note. The notes C and G of the scale could both be harmonised with the chord of C major.
Repeat the harmonised scale in arpeggios.
Hope this helps turn the warm-up grind into something enjoyable and challenging. You can extend each exercise for a lot more than 60 seconds (except maybe the slurs). Some of this may be new to you – but is the stuff of music itself, not just technique. The more we can mix them up the better for developing your guitar playing skills.
25th October 2014, Ferrol, Spain