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Does anyone do hand-streching exercises?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by fireworks_god, Dec 28, 2002.

  1. fireworks_god


    Oct 30, 2002
    Does anyone strech their hands out before they play?
    I know there are warm-ups for when you do begin playing, but what about before you even play?
    It always takes me a lot more time to get warmed up in the mornings then normally, and since school doesn't apply to me anymore, I'm playing more in the mornings.
    So, reply back if you have any streches or anything you do with your hands before you pick up the guitar. I'm wondering because my hands sometimes hurt when I play, and I'm thinking my hands may not be streched out enough.
    Thanks for the help.
  2. GonzoBass


    Jun 10, 2002
    Hilo, Hawaii
    Endorsing Artist: Gallien-Krueger
    One of the coolest things, I thought my first year in college, was the fact that you were allowed to smoke cigarettes in school...
    I have long since kicked the habit, but of course back then I would always show up early to hang out in front of the Jazz Class with all the guitar players who were "warming up" before class and have a smoke or two.

    I would watch as these guys would run through their lightning fast scales, impossible looking stretches and the newest two handed tapping licks, all in supposed preparation for comping clean chords over "Autumn Leaves."

    ...But there was always this one guy who really caught my interest.
    Sitting alone with his guitar, not out to impress anyone, he would simply hold down one note.

    Just one.

    Finally one day I asked him, "What gives?"
    This, he explained, was his warm up-

    Starting with your E string with your first finger on the first fret, hold it down for a SLOW ten count.
    Then move on to your second finger on the second fret doing the same, holding it for a slow 10 count.
    Third finger, third fret, count to 10.
    Fourth finger, fourth fret, count to 10.
    Then moving down to the A string with the same chromatic slow count.
    First finger, first fret, count to 10.
    Second finger, second fret, count to 10.
    Etc., etc.
    Doing the same on the D and then the G.

    Then backward from the G string-
    Fourth finger, fourth fret.
    Third finger, third fret.
    Continuing on, back until you have reached the first fret on the E again, counting slowly to 10 on each fret.

    By this point you will feel the muscles that you are working in your forearm and hand.
    As always, if you feel any pain or discomfort at anytime with your playing, STOP!
    But if you think you need more of a warm up, or feel like turning this into a work out, you can continue climbing the fretboard by moving your first finger up to the second fret and going again using the same pattern, and so on to the third fret, fourth... see how many frets you can climb.
    Remember to count SLOW!

    To me, this is the equivalent to lifting weights for your fretting hand.
    You may not impress anyone outside your Jazz Class with this, but using this as part of my daily warm up by going down and up from the first, fifth and ninth frets only, and weekly as a work out by climbing chromatically to the point of exhaustion, I have noticed a great increase in both my hand strength and endurance.

    This will also work well for what weight lifters call "spot training" or working your weak areas. To put this technique to use, try using only your third and fourth fingers!

    I hope this helps you as much as it did my students and me.

    Let me know by dropping me a line at-
    Or visit me on the web at-
    There you will find some more info about myself and some samples from my All Bass CD.

    Aloha for now-
  3. fireworks_god


    Oct 30, 2002
    Hey, thanks for the tip. I'll try it next time I play.
  4. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Here's what helps for me. I GENTLY bend my fingers backward (one at a time, and all together) to stretch them and warm them up. Then, I place the thumb and pinkie finger of one hand between two adjacent fingers on the opposite hand and SLOWLY spread them apart, holding this stretch for 15-20 seconds. Repeat this for all fingers on both hands. It will really improve the range of frets you can spread your fingers over, as well as strengthening the muscles at the base of your fingers.

  5. I'll Share A Professional Secret...

    When mending a broken fretting hand, I used "Chinese Health Balls"
    to full recover the dexerity that my Doctor said I would never regain.

    They are absolutely the best way to strenghten, warm-up and increase dexerity.

    Try 'em their only $10 (see link above).


    The Production of these iron balls dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

    • Prevent & Cure Hypertension-By the repetitiveness
    • Relieve fatigue, by improved circulation of Chi/Qi energy
    • Tendonitis-By using prior to activities using the hands
    • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome-By improving the wrist and hands
    • Memory Loss-By improving the circulation of Chi energy
    • Arthritis-By keeping the joints limber and movement of Chi
    • Stress Reduction-By improving Chi flow and repetitiveness
    • Improve general health and circulation through Chi movement.

    I think they are really cool, both to look at and to use. Each ball has a sounding plate inside, that chimes when it is shaken. If you are using the balls "properly", the balls are supposed to make a sort of whirring sound, smooth and melodious. In China, it is common to see a person using them while taking a walk.
  6. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    ...hangs on your belt, and boy, does it catch fish! :D:D

    Seriously, though, I've always wanted to try those. I have lots of fidgety energy.

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