4th September 2020

Do I Need A Bass Guitar Warm-Up Routine?

This article talks about warming up before playing and gives you a sneak preview of one of the exercises from my new book - Essential Warm-Up Exercises For Bass Guitar.'

Fretboard Knowledge

 First of all, I will answer a question that one of you have asked - 'Should we be warming up before playing the bass?'

In my opinion, the answer is a resounding yes!  But your warm-up routine does not have to be long or complicated, and a few exercises will usually suffice. 

Right from when I first started playing the bass guitar, I combined my warm-up exercises with some sort of technique practise or rudiments like scales and arpeggios.  This way I could 'kill two birds with one stone.'

Before a performance, I use warm-up exercises to get me in the mental zone, as well as to get my fingers moving.  I find that certain exercises can help to bring focus.


Below is a list of what I do to warm-up before practising, a recording session, or a gig:

  • A quick stretch of my neck, back, shoulders, and hands.
  • Some slow long notes to ease into a warm-up.
  • A few technical exercises to properly warm-up and get in the zone.
  • A quick run through of any tricky musical passages that I am about to play.


I will now show you an exercise from my new warm-up book, which is soon out for release.

This exercise is based around octaves, and slides. 

Octave patterns are great to get the fingers of the plucking hand going.  Octaves can also be demanding on the fretting hand, so take it easy at first and ease into the exercise.  I remember, relatively early in my bass playing career, playing the song 'Common People' by Pulp.  The whole bass line is comprised of octaves, and at the gig, I felt like my left hand was dropping off from halfway through the song!  If you want octave practise, then check this bass line out yourself.

To play the basic octave patterns from the exercise, make sure that you use alternate fingering throughout:

1-2, 1-2, 1-2, etc.

Octave patterns can be difficult to play accurately and at speed, so don't worry if you struggle with this exercise.  You can always start at a much slower speed, and gradually speed it up each week.

Also make sure that you play the slides using the same finger for the two notes joined by the slide.  I have written some suggested fingering for these bars.

warm up exercise for bass guitar by Greg's Bass Shed
Tab for bass guitar warm-up exercise by Greg's Bass Shed


You can use any exercises to warm up, but remember to get your fingers moving with slower exercises to start with.

If you want to download a PDF for the exercise then click one of the links below.  You can also download the audio file by clicking on it.