Bass Guitar Warm Ups 101

Posted on September 1, 2010


I wanted to switch gears a bit and talk about warm ups. I have 6 degrees of warm-ups that I bring my students through. I love them, they are a great way to stretch the muscles and improve dexterity, after a while you won’t even need to concentrate completely while doing them. You can do them while talking to your band mates waiting for them to set up or while your sitting in front of the computer.

The first warm up I bring everyone through is a basic climb up the neck. Start with your 1st finger on the 1st fret on the E string. Next play the 2nd fret with your 2nd, the 3rd with your 3rd and finally the 4th with your pinky. So, basically you have just gone up frets 1-4, now do that same exercise on your A string then D string and lastly your G.

Now, don’t move, stay on the G string, slide your pinky up one fret to the 5th. We are going to play the frets backwards now. Play the 5th with your pinky, the 4th with your 3rd finger, the 3rd fret with your 2nd and your first finger will catch the 2nd fret. Again, repeat this on every string, working your way back to E.

Once you land on the 2nd fret of the E string we will slide the 1st finger up and start this again at the 3rd fret.

You will repeat the same pattern as above. Fingers 1 2 3 4 will now be playing the 3rd 4th 5th and 6th frets. And you will repeat this again on every string working your way towards the G string.

Repeat this pattern, always sliding up a fret each time. It should turn out that you are always starting on a fret that has a dot. Your last time through will have you starting on the 9th fret of the E string with your 1st finger and ending with your pinky on the double dotted 12th fret. Feel free to go beyond the 12th fret also.

Just like an athlete needs to stretch and warm up before a long practice, I think it’s helpful for us to do so. Especially as a person who is new or somewhat new to the instrument. I actually have my warm ups geared towards introducing different techniques and concepts of bass line playing. Without having to delve too much into the why’s and where’s, I have them set up so you will learn without necessarily realizing that you are doing so. Once you have more experience, your warm ups will more than likely reflect scales or chord patterns that you are working on but for now this is a good preemptive step.

Next week will be torturous warm up exercise number 2. Enjoy your Bass!


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