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James Walkers

Guitar Blog

Warming up

The chart below is known as the circle of fifths (and fourths), it's an endless pit of usefulness. It can be used to create chord progressions, as all chords grouped close to each other will usually fit together as they share a lot of the same notes. It can also be used to create very fun and challenging exercises. All you have to do is pick a scale/chord/arpeggio, let's take the blues scale, once you have done that you can start at the top of the clock and pick a sequence, such as going around clockwise, so you would play the C blues scale up and down and then then G blues scale, then the D blues, etc. You could also play the first scale up, and then go straight to the next scale to descend. The same works for arpeggios, and for chords just play the chords once and move to the next step in the circle. Below are a few sequences you could chose when playing this exercise.

Clockwise in major key (Fifths)

C, G, D, A, E, B, Gb, Db, Ab, Eb, B, F

Anticlockwise in major key (Fourths)

F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, G, B, E, A, D, G, C

Clockwise in minor key (Fifths)

A, E, B, F♯, C♯,G♯, Eb, Bb, F, C, G, D

Anticlockwise in minor key (Fourths)

D, G, C, F, Bb, Eb, G♯, C♯, F♯, B, E, A

Warming up on the guitar should be a regular process in your guitar playing, this means spending a good amount of time (10 minutes at least) adjusting your fingers and muscles to the guitar at the start of every session. This chromatic exercise is another one I use every time I pick up my guitar to get my fingers going!


Chromatic scale guitar

Here is a simple warm up exercise using the chromatic scale in the key of C, the red dot is the first note and it starts on fret 8 of the low E string. This is a great excursive to play up and down 10 times or so to get your fingers warmed up nicely.

There are also many variations of it you can do, for example you could go up and down the scale and then move the whole scale up a fret, then play it and continue until you run out of neck. You could also do the same but shifting up a fret every time you go up AND down. I recommend using alternate picking for this exercise, meaning 'down, up, down, up' with your guitar pick.


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