Simple Strumming Warm-Up

What You'll Need For This Exercise...

All you really need for this warm-up is a metronome (or drum machine) to keep time while you strum.  It is best if your metronome can play a different sound for the first beat of each bar, so that you can count bars as you practice.

How to Complete This Exercise...

Here’s how to warm up:

  1. Set your metronome to 60 bpm and start it running.
  2. Strum a G chord (or any chord you want to work on improving) – downstroke on the downbeats (60 bpm).
  3. After 8 bars (listening to your metronomes ‘1’ beat) continue strumming downstrokes on the downbeats and upstrokes on the upbeats.  This is an 1/8th based rhythm because we are counting 1/8th notes (a.k.a. subdividing each beat into 2).
  4. After 8 more bars, continue strumming triplets (down, up, down), subdividing each beat into 3.
  5. After 8 more bars, continue strumming 1/16th notes (down, up, down, up), subdividing each beat into 4.
  6. After 8 more bars, return to strumming triplets (down, up, down).
  7. After 8 more bars, return to strumming 1/8ths (down, up).
  8. Finally, after 8 more bars, return to 1/4 note strums – strumming downstrokes on the beat, matching the metronome.

Continuing to Improve...

Continue this practice exercise, until you feel confident enough to increase the speed of your metronome.  Then, increase the speed by 5 bpm. For example, start with 60 bpm and complete the warm-up.  Then increase your metronome tempo to 65 bpm and complete the warm-up again.

Each day, take note of your fastest tempo and start with that tomorrow.  Keep increasing your tempo until you are comfortably able to strum 1/16ths at 80 bpm (which means strumming 4x per beat for a *simulated* tempo of 320 bpm!).