Bent Out of Shape: Tour Diary, Part 2 — Warming Up
I'm on tour in Europe right now, and am reminded every day of the importance of planning.
So far, we've traveled through England up to Scotland and are working our way back toward London for our final UK show before we fly to Germany.
After the first few shows, I'm into my "routine," which is something most touring musicians know about. Every day involves driving many hours to the next city, and even though there is little spare time, I find it important to make sure I take care of important jobs (such as writing this blog) — and I eat healthy.
My main concern right now is to maintain some form of practice schedule for my guitar playing. It's very difficult to find time for guitar playing other than at the show. I usually get about an hour to warm up before each gig, and that's all the playing I can usually do in a day.
Although I try to structure the warmup. it usually involves a lot of general "noodling," which includes scales, exercises, riffing and, most importantly, string bends. As string bends are a big part of my playing, it's important to make sure the muscles in my hands are warmed up and relaxed.
While on tour, I stopped off at one of my favorite guitar stores in England called Mansons Guitar Shop in Exeter. They were kind enough to let me shoot some of my warmup routine to demonstrate for you. I included a couple of tabs of the licks, which I think are worth sharing.
Blues lick with attitude: This first lick is a very standard descending pentatonic lick. My favorite part is toward the end when I loop the third, fifth and flat fifth. For this part, I pick with two downstrokes with almost a sweep motion. You can loop this indefinitely. The rhythm spacing of the notes will create an interesting dynamic.
Trill/Trem picking lick: This is something I like to do to when playing on a single string. You can play any two notes you want, but I like to play thirds and then move up or down through a scale. For my example, I'm descending thirds in G minor on the high E string. In terms of technique, you don't need much accuracy to pull this off as it is all on one string. You basically just trill and tremolo pick at the same time.
I hope you found some of the information useful! Next week I'll be in Germany, and I'll run you through my touring rig and setup. Cheers!
Will Wallner is a guitarist from England who now lives in Los Angeles. He recently signed a solo deal with Polish record label Metal Mind Productions for the release of his debut album, which features influential musicians from hard rock and heavy metal. He also is the lead guitarist for White Wizzard (Earache Records) and toured Japan, the US and Canada in 2012. Follow Will on Facebook and Twitter.