I have been performing for over 30 years, with at least 150 gigs per year. I am telling you this because just recently it came to me that the most important part of my warm up before a show are the picking exercises that I have developed and learned through the years. I sit and practice picking exercises for at least 15 minutes before a show. This warms me up, gets me tuned in to the guitar and gets me ready to play a show.
To me, the most important part of playing guitar is to produce a good tone. We all tend to practice for speed. However it is rare during a set that we play using speed. Most of the playing for me is playing melodies or simple solos based on the melody of great American popular Standards. These beautiful classic songs are mostly quarter notes, half notes, whole notes and some eighth notes. Therefore, why do we spend so much time as guitar players practicing to gain speed? While it is important, it is far more important to produce good quality tone. The way to achieve this is to practice daily picking and finger control exercises.
These two picking and finger control exercises are from a book of 25 picking and finger control exercises that I have developed strictly through trying to figure out the best exercises to achieve the goal of being able to play beautiful, melodic and clean melodies. These are my “go to” exercises every time I pick up the guitar.
We need to practice every day. Sometimes for me it’s 3 or 4 hours of playing between practice, sound checks and performances. Other days it’s only 30 minutes. I spend at least 15 minutes per day on picking and finger control. The other time is spent playing songs and learning new songs as well as developing new exercises and ways to learn the fingerboard.
I hope these exercises help and I can almost guarantee that if you practice these exercises daily your picking and finger control will improve drastically over time.