How To Do Guitar Warm-Up Practice | Alternate Picking Exercise

What’s up fellow students of the guitar, Darrin Goodman here with another mini guitar lesson for you, today let’s talk about guitar practice exercises.

There are far too many exercises do cover in one article, there are multiple books on them. Today I want to show you an exercise that I have been playing for many years and use it as one of my main warm ups before a performance. This exercise works both hands and develops the technique of alternate picking. The best part about this is unlike many exercises that are just that, an exercise; this is actually a cool sounding lick too.

We are in the key of F major and based in the fifth position of the F major scale, Mixolydian. Now you can easily move this into other positions and keys, but I like to play it here because it is a neutral spot on the fretboard for my left hand.

Here are the tabs for the exercise.


The first thing you are going to want to do is memorize the sequence. After you have the pattern memorized you want to practice it making sure that you are alternate picking and not cross picking, so no two down or up strokes in a row. You also want to be sure that when you are moving from the second string to the first string that the notes are not ringing over each other.

You should also practice this with distortion, even if you are more of a clean tone player. It requires a lot more precision to be clean when you are playing with a over driven tone. Use the palm of your picking hand to mute the lower strings so that you only hear the sound of the notes being played. Practice this with a metronome as quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes and triplets. Once you can play it metered for three minutes without making a mistake then you are ready to increase the tempo. As you increase the speed you will start to notice that it sounds more like a lick and less like an exercise.

I hope this little exercise helps you on your guitar journey.

Until next time,


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