Guitarists Warm up songs

What songs do you warm up with? Before reheasal, If I’m playing bass I warm up with the Bootsy Collins bass-line sampled in “Groove is in the Heart” by Dee-Lite, “Fools Gold” and “I am the Resurrection” by the Stone Roses and Primus’ “Southbound Pachiderm”.
On Guitar, I like to warm up with Spinal Taps “Tonight we’re gonna Rock it” Bob/Jimi’s “All along the Watchtower” and Thin Lizzy’s “Whiskey in the Jar”
so, fellow axe warriors, what songs help you get your “rock” on*?
[sub]*minds out of the gutter, people[/sub]

I mostly perform finger picking style. I usually warm up with “Buck Dancer’s Choice” or “Hot Tamales”. Good for the fingers. I don’t need much warm up for rhythm.

As a bassist, I’ve found if I can sit through and play either one of Rush’s “Chronicles,” I’m in the zone and can play anything. It’s good warm-up stuff, even for the funk and groove.

I’m not a performing musician, but when I sit down to play my guitar or jam with friends, I generally play “Alice’s Restaurant” and “Blackbird”. Those limber up the fingers pretty well.

Just learning to play here…

I warm up with the intro to Heart Shaped Box-oh god do I love that riff-and Scentless Apprentice,both by Nirvana.

One of these I will master Love Buzz,I swear it:)

I’ll play ‘Dee’ by Randy Rhodes until I can get all the way through it making only one minor mistake.

Would it be OK if I add a segment to the question? What do you play when you are checking out the sound of an amp or guitar? For some bizarre reason, I use the main riff from ‘Unskinny Bop’ by Poison. I hated Poison when they were new and I don’t particularly care for them now, the only reason I know the riff was it was in a guitar magazine that had other songs I liked, yet I find myself playing it when checking out an amp at a music store or a friend’s house.

When I get everything plugged in and running, I play this stupid little blues lick to check my sound out, and play the same lick when first picking up a friend’s guitar. I took ONE lesson from this Yngwie Malmsteen-wannabe guy when I was thirteen, and that’s what I picked up from it, and it’s stuck with me ever since.

If I’m checking out new gear in a store, I play “Stairway to Heaven.” Ever see Wayne’s World? :smiley:

Read the sign, “no stairway”

I love that lick. I like to play that when someone asks me what I can play!!

If I want to check sound out, I generally stick with Primus, as the riffs use treble for the melody and the bass below it is a good indication of middle and bass.

On guitar I use a Stone Roses lick from “Breaking into heaven” If I can hear the individual notes clearly I know my settings are correct.

Heres another question.

What riff can you just not get right, no matter how easy it is? Mine is “Manic Depression” by Jimi. I can get it right up to the second phrase, but then I just blank out.

When I warm up I go through my Geds. “Distant Early Warning,” “New World Man,” and “Vital Signs.” I also have an instrumental song that I wrote that I use to practice my timing.

Usually, the first thing I play is the very beginning of eruption… Distorted A chord followed by a bending E-note(A string, 7th fret) and then a bar or two after that. If anyone in the room seems impressed, I go right to the familiar tapping part of it.

I also like to play cliffs of dover(Eric Johnson) minus the solo. Funny, I spent the better part of two years learning that song but never could play the solo.

Blackbird or Bron-y-aur if I’m playing an acoustic.


If you can play Cliffs of Dover to warm up, there’s not much else you need to do. I never got the hang of that song, even just the melody line.

I also warm up to anything John Deacon did with Queen. You really have to pay attention.

I start off with “Ziggy Stardust” everytime I pick up a guitar. It’s the song I have the most fun with.

I can’t play Master of Puppets at the correct tempo, especially doing all downstrokes for the 8th notes like James Hetfield does.

BTW, Manic Depression is about the only song I can play and sing at the same time, because the vocals follow the melody so closely, about one note per syllable.

I play The Wheels On The Bus over and over again.

And, for some reason, my son REALLY digs the opening of Unchained, by Van Halen.

I never warm up playing a song really, until the end. I do this exercise thingy that goes up and down the fret board. Then at the end, when my fingers are limbered up… I play the main riff to Crazy Train. Because A> It’s easy and fast. B> My biggest problem is getting my pinky into the right spot… so that helps get the pinky a little extra work out.

When I’m checking the sound, I inevitably play Tears in Heaven by Clapton because it was the first song

This has been my life as of late. When I pick up a guitar to practice my son (7 months old) just stares at me until I play Puff the Magic Dragon or some other kid song he likes. When I’m done performing for him and I go back to something else, he gives me that look.

Well I once read an article by the guitarist in Megadeth (whose name eludes me at the moment) in which he said playing fast stuff at the beginning of a warmup will in time destroy your hands, bring about arthritis and eventually death. I’m not sure how accurate he was, but the lesson was ingrained upon me: warm up slowly.

I’ve found this is actually pretty helpful because it helps me to relax at the beginning of a rehearsal/show, which is essential once one tries to play the faster stuff. Typically what I’ll do is just run through some jazz chords (7ths, 6ths, 9ths, etc) and their inversions to get the fingers limber, and then move on to running through a few scales. If I take the time to do this I find I am almost always then set to play well for the night.

Also a non-performing musician here … and my electric guitars are languishing in an attic 3000 miles from me. So it’s just me and my trusty acoustic. Whenever I pick up my guitar it’s just to noodle around while I pass the time.

The first thing I play is usually one of my own little riffs. I got this one that starts in D and syncopates through a an D, E, F, B, C, E, D bass, that I find quite amusing.
After that I always end up at Blackbird, 'cause I just learned a little while ago, and Zep’s Over the Hills, and Far Away.

My thing with Stairway… if someone happens to be listening to me play, I’ll say, “Ooh, I made up this great riff the other day, I think it’s the most original thing I’ve ever done. Take a listen.” Then I go through a little act like I’m trying to remember something, and figure out the fingering. Then I play those first four notes, followed by being promptly told what an asshole I am.

Yes, I am easily amused.

I’ll second “Over the Hills and Far Away,” especially since I mostly goof around with the acoustic these days anyway. If I plug in the electric, warm-up could be any one of a dozen or so Black Sabbath songs.

Badtz: “Master of Puppets” is nothing. Try the downstroking in “Creeping Death” if you really want to hurt yourself. :slight_smile:

I am happy to see so many bass players responding to this thread. Sometimes I feel kinda lonely as a musician, because, comparatively, there are not many of us bassists out there. Say the word bass around my town and people either 1)start a softball game or 2)correct my pronunciation and grab a fishing rod. Oh well.

Anyhoo, before I go to a gig, I warm up at my house with that old favorite 99 Luftballons. It’s a simple song to play, but the bass line has some quick plucking during the instrumental breaks which helps me limber up my hands. I also sing along (yes, the German lyrics) to help limber up my voice. Singing with Nena helps because I (due to slight ability and a lot of necessity) sing high harmony lines with my current band.

After that, I kick back and groove along with the theme from Barney Miller, which is the song that made a bass player out of me.