Do you warm up before you practice?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Woody1999, Jul 9, 2020.

  1. Yes

    70 vote(s)
  2. No

    79 vote(s)
  3. Depends

    29 vote(s)
  1. Woody1999


    Dec 13, 2015
    Birmingham, UK
    It just occured to me while sitting down to practice tonight that I never actually do any warm up before I dig into my scales or whatever I'm doing that session. I always warm up if I can before gigs and jam nights and stuff but I never considered that it could make my practice more effective.

    Maybe the stuff I do at the start when I'm not warmed up doesn't sink in as much as later on? Maybe I'm overthinking lol.

    Let me know what you think. Cheers.
  2. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years

    May 3, 2008
    Had a few outdoor gigs over the last months, all private parties. Doing my first festival type gig Saturday and I’ve been practicing in preparation. I usually record when I play out and I was aware that my play is sloppy and not as solid as usual.

    under normal circumstances I practice daily but it hasn’t been normal since Feb. So I’m usually in shape and don’t need to warm up, maybe take it easy for the first couple of tunes if I’m really ‘cold’. A friend of mine suggested years ago that I stretch my hands/fingers before a gig. He’s a percussionist doing mostly hand drums recently and it seemed to help.
    sonojono and AEVAREX like this.
  3. I stretch and then warm up by playing scale at slow tempo, up and down the neck, for several minutes, then I stretch again.
  4. dtripoli


    Aug 15, 2010
    Absolutely, I warm up before I start to play rather than warm up playing to a song or two or three.
    I do chromatic scales forwards and backwards up the neck. Once completed I've touched every
    note on every string from the nut to the end of the neck. Then I'll play a few semi difficult riffs for a about 5 mins and then I'm ready to roll.
    I do this also before a show, even if it delays our downbeat by a few minutes.
    If I don't do this, I feel like my playing is crappy and doesn't get up to speed for 2-3 songs.
    Athletes, singers, pro musicians all warm up before they perform.
    Go to a baseball game 20 minutes before the umpire says, Pay Ball!
    The players have just spent the last 20 minutes warming up.
    It's important to "Warm Up" it loosens up your fingers and gets your muscles warmed up and the blood flowing.
    At first it was annoying because I was eager to just start playing but if you stretch and warm up your playing will start off much better and enjoyable.
  5. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    embarrassed to admit i never warm up, and i didn't warm up when i was a guitar player, either. don't follow in my footsteps as i'm a bad example!
    Charlzm, LowActionHero, 40Hz and 2 others like this.
  6. Yeah. Always
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  7. Papageno


    Nov 16, 2015
    I should ....

    What I do is playing scales, arpeggios, etc. Dunno whether this counts as "warmup", though.
    equill likes this.
  8. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

  9. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    It may..or may not...but that's not why we warm up. We do so to slowly introduce our hands/fingers to the upcoming physical work expected of them. So I suppose this in itself may make a practice session more effective.

    To answer your question...I always warm up before playing the bass (regardless of the circumstances)...and just as important...I warm down after playing.
  10. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    Interesting question. If i would worm-up before i practise, i could call it also a practice, but if i don't - it's practice, too. So i worm up only by tuning the strings.
    factory presets and Pazelaya93 like this.
  11. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    If I have enough time to pick up my bass, that almost certainly means that I have already been using my hands to complete a wide variety of tasks for the last ~12+ hours and everything is limbered up just fine.

    Even if I picked up a bass right out of bed, do I need to carefully awaken and activate each individual arm muscle? I’m not playing the bass with two baby birds attached to my wrists.
    OogieWaWa likes this.
  12. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Do you warm up before you practice?
  13. Malcolm35

    Malcolm35 Supporting Member

    C Major scale couple of times and I'm good to go. The band, after jamming with the drummer waiting on everyone to get ready, we may play the first song on the schedule as a warm up.

    Never been what you could call a warm up guy.
  14. lowendrachel


    Sep 11, 2012
    GTA, Ontario
    Only if I have time to warm up. Most of the time I don't.
  15. BassBrass


    Jul 6, 2009
    Boston MA
    Never thought of it...on bass. On trumpet it's integral, a necessity both from a physical standpoint and getting a feeling of what the horn feels like that day, how get a sound from your vibrating lips is in question everyday based on tiredness of chops and body, in cold weather getting the horn to a comfortable temperature for playing takes a warm-up. I'm like, a 3 minute warm up guy, some people do 20 minutes or a hour. If you can rest some in a first song that can be a warm up. It it kicks off with high accurate notes with the right tone, that takes being totally in touch with your playing.
  16. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    The hands and fingers were never designed or meant to be used to play the bass and the action of doing so is quite different to the ordinary, natural day to day tasks they perform. With this in mind it makes sense (at least to me) to slowly introduce them to to this "alien type work". It is a way of letting them adapt, and in the process limit your chances of experiencing injury problems further down the line.
  17. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    A few gentle stretches before you pick up the bass only takes about two minutes or so. Time well spent IMO.
    Roxbororob and OogieWaWa like this.
  18. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    We do all kinds of things with our hands all day without a warmup. I didn't warm up to type this message. I think a warmup ritual may be a great way to get focused on playing music, but I doubt the physical need to do so.
  19. Paseppa


    Jul 5, 2020
    Couple of beers should do the trick
  20. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    +1. Bad example #2 here.

    I never found it all that necessary or beneficial for what I do. I just pick up the bass, check the tuning, and have at it. It used to annoy the living hell out of one guitarist I worked with. He had a ten minute warmup routine he had to go through or (so he said) he “couldn’t play.”

    Never really noticed any difference in his playing on those occasions when he couldn’t perform his little piece of dramatic ritual. But doing it made him happy, so no harm done. :p

    Same goes for all those elaborate stretching things people go through prior to exercising. I just start slow and gradually pick up the pace.

    But that’s me. If additional steps work for you then by all means do them. :)
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
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