Guitar Warm Up Exercises - Part 1

Guitar warm up exercises build finger dexterity and get the fingers and hand muscles ready to play. These exercises use a lot of alternate picking - alternating the direction the strings are picked. This picking technique helps you play notes faster and more smoothly.

Here is a key for the letters shown above and below each Guitar Warm Up tab.

Picking Direction: (shown under each tab)
U = Upstroke
D = Downstroke

Fingers: (shown above each tab)
I = Index Finger
M = Middle Finger
R = Ring Finger
P = Pinky


This first warm up exercise is great for beginners as well as more advanced guitarists, and is a popular warm up exercise. It uses the four fingers in order, up and down each string. Use alternate picking as shown. Once you get through the example tab below, continue in the same pattern across the neck of the guitar. Start out slow and build up speed

   I M R P I M R P I M R P I M R P I M R P I M R P  
e|-----------------------------------------1-2-3-4-|
B|---------------------------------1-2-3-4---------|
G|-------------------------1-2-3-4-----------------|
D|-----------------1-2-3-4-------------------------|
A|---------1-2-3-4---------------------------------|
E|-1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------|
   D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U  

   P R M I P R M I P R M I P R M I P R M I P R M I  
e|-4-3-2-1-----------------------------------------|
B|---------4-3-2-1---------------------------------|
G|-----------------4-3-2-1-------------------------|
D|-------------------------4-3-2-1-----------------|
A|---------------------------------4-3-2-1---------|
E|-----------------------------------------4-3-2-1-|
   D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U  
						

Here is a similar warm up exercise using a different order of the notes played.

   I M P R I M P R I M P R I M P R I M P R I M P R  
e|-----------------------------------------1-2-4-3-|
B|---------------------------------1-2-4-3---------|
G|-------------------------1-2-4-3-----------------|
D|-----------------1-2-4-3-------------------------|
A|---------1-2-4-3---------------------------------|
E|-1-2-4-3-----------------------------------------|
   D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U  
   
   R P M I R P M I R P M I R P M I R P M I R P M I
e|-3-4-2-1-----------------------------------------|
B|---------3-4-2-1---------------------------------|
G|-----------------3-4-2-1-------------------------|
D|-------------------------3-4-2-1-----------------|
A|---------------------------------3-4-2-1---------|
E|-----------------------------------------3-4-2-1-|
   D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U  
						

This warm up exercise uses a little more technique, and includes hammer ons and pull offs. (If you do not know how to play hammer ons or pull offs, refer to the How to Read Guitar Tabs page.) Use alternate picking as shown.

h = Hammer On
p = Pull Off

   I M R P I M R P I M R P I M R P I M R P I M R P  
e|-----------------------------------------1h2-3h4-|
B|---------------------------------1h2-3h4---------|
G|-------------------------1h2-3h4-----------------|
D|-----------------1h2-3h4-------------------------|
A|---------1h2-3h4---------------------------------|
E|-1h2-3h4-----------------------------------------|
   D   U   D   U   D   U   D   U   D   U   D   U    
   
   P R M I P R M I P R M I P R M I P R M I P R M I  
e|-4p3-2p1-----------------------------------------|
B|---------4p3-2p1---------------------------------|
G|-----------------4p3-2p1-------------------------|
D|-------------------------4p3-2p1-----------------|
A|---------------------------------4p3-2p1---------|
E|-----------------------------------------4p3-2p1-|
   D   U   D   U   D   U   D   U   D   U   D   U    
						

Using more hammer ons and pull offs, this warm up exercise gets a little more technical and difficult than the previous exercise.

   M I R P M I R P M I R P M I R P M I R P M I R P  
e|-----------------------------------------2p1-3h4-|
B|---------------------------------2p1-3h4---------|
G|-------------------------2p1-3h4-----------------|
D|-----------------2p1-3h4-------------------------|
A|---------2p1-3h4---------------------------------|
E|-2p1-3h4-----------------------------------------|
   D   U   D   U   D   U   D   U   D   U   D   U    

   P R I M P R I M P R I M P R I M P R I M P R I M  
e|-4p3-1h2-----------------------------------------|
B|---------4p3-1h2---------------------------------|
G|-----------------4p3-1h2-------------------------|
D|-------------------------4p3-1h2-----------------|
A|---------------------------------4p3-1h2---------|
E|-----------------------------------------4p3-1h2-|
   D   U   D   U   D   U   D   U   D   U   D   U    
						

For this warm up exercise, pick each string once and use the hammer on and pull off technique quick enough to play the 4 frets as shown.

   I M R P I M R P I M R P I M R P I M R P I M R P  
e|-----------------------------------------1h2h3h4-|
B|---------------------------------1h2h3h4---------|
G|-------------------------1h2h3h4-----------------|
D|-----------------1h2h3h4-------------------------|
A|---------1h2h3h4---------------------------------|
E|-1h2h3h4-----------------------------------------|
   D       U       D       U       D       U        
						
   P R M I P R M I P R M I P R M I P R M I P R M I  
e|-4p3p2p1-----------------------------------------|
B|---------4p3p2p1---------------------------------|
G|-----------------4p3p2p1-------------------------|
D|-------------------------4p3p2p1-----------------|
A|---------------------------------4p3p2p1---------|
E|-----------------------------------------4p3p2p1-|
   D       U       D       U       D       U        
						

   I M P R I M P R I M P R I M P R I M P R I M P R  
e|-----------------------------------------1h2h4p3-|
B|---------------------------------1h2h4p3---------|
G|-------------------------1h2h4p3-----------------|
D|-----------------1h2h4p3-------------------------|
A|---------1h2h4p3---------------------------------|
E|-1h2h4p3-----------------------------------------|
   D       U       D       U       D       U        
						
   I M P R I M P R I M P R I M P R I M P R I M P R  
e|-3h4p2p1-----------------------------------------|
B|---------3h4p2p1---------------------------------|
G|-----------------3h4p2p1-------------------------|
D|-------------------------3h4p2p1-----------------|
A|---------------------------------3h4p2p1---------|
E|-----------------------------------------3h4p2p1-|
   D       U       D       U       D       U        
						

Guitar Warm Up Exercises Part 2