STOP! Don’t play yet! If you want to be able to play the guitar for a long time (which we know you will or you wouldn’t be here, right?) you will read this next section.
Have you heard of repetitive strain injury or RSI? This painful condition can end your guitar career pretty quickly so you must spend some time warming up and cooling down every time you play. Depending on the exercise routine you follow this warm up and cool down can also be used to improve your playing so it’s definitely not a waste of time.
There are some exercises to follow but one purchase that I recommend you consider, especially as you become more experienced is John Petrucci’s Rock Discipline. This DVD course, which is also available as a book and cd, has an excellent warm up section, designed to improve your finger strength as well as finger independence (sometimes you will need to switch individual fingers to other frets and/or strings while keeping other fingers in position) and this is something that I absolutely believe you should develop early in your playing career. Later sections in this course (and the course is more than 2 hours long!) will in time help you to build blistering speed and accuracy so it’s a worthwhile investment, especially if you eventually wish to play lead guitar. Although not aimed primarily at the newbie guitarist, remember that you’re not going to be a newbie forever! There are numerous guitar heroes out there who swear by this course, including Trivium’s Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu.
Lick Library also offer a number of instructional DVDs for warm up routines, which will also improve your playing skills as they centre around guitar scales, string bends, picking techniques and stretches. These are aimed at guitarists of specific skill levels.
Warm Up and Cool Down Instructional DVDs from Lick Library:
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