Permutations of 4!

Permutations of 4!


Alright so let’s look at the classic warmup sometimes called the 1,2,3,4 warmup. Over the years I’ve read a lot of magazine articles (yes I’m that old and that’s how I used to learn guitar “secrets”) and seen a lot of instruction videos where the “expert” rock star describes his pre-show warmup as the 1,2,3,4s. This is actually a great warmup and this is what it means. Each finger on the left hand is assigned a number. 1 is your pointing finger, 2 is your sign language finger, 3 is your ring finger and 4 is your pinky. Start by playing finger one in the 6th string 1st fret, then finger 2 one half step up on the 6th string 2nd fret, then another half step up with finger 3 on fret 3, then finger 4 on fret 4. Move to string 5 and repeat, move to string 4 and repeat, move to string 3 etc. Generally the exercise is played from string 6 to string 1 then back from string 1 to string 6. The whole process is repeated one half step up, continuously, until we work our way all the way up the fretboard. The first exercise below has this tabbed out so it is easier to understand.

This is a great way to start your practice. It involves all the fingers, it is great to sync up right and left hands, make sure you use alternate picking strokes. Play slow and cleanly, putting your brain inside your arm wrist and fingers and make sure you play relaxed and smooth.

One thing I and many others have done to get more out of this exercise and make it more interesting is to play all the different permutations (combinations) of 4. With 4 numbers there are mathematically 24 possibilities or combinations. They are as follows:

1234 1243 1324 1342 1423 1432

2134 2143 2314 2341 2413 2431

3124 3142 3214 3241 3412 3421

4123 4132 4213 4231 4312 4321

If we use all these different combinations as we warm up we can teach our fingers a new level of dexterity and limberness. Below are tabletured examples to get you started.

Click on image below for 1,2,3,4 permutation

Click on image below for 1,2,4,3 permutation

Click on image below for 1,3,2,4 permutation

Click on image below for 1,3,4,2 permutation

Click on image below for 1,4,2,3 permutation

Click on image below for 1,4,3,2 permutation

Click on image below for 2,1,3,4 permutation

Click on image below for 2,1,4,3 permutation

Click on image below for 2,3,1,4 permutation

Click on image below for 2,3,4,1 permutation

Click on image below for 2,4,1,3 permutation

Click on image below for 2,4,3,1 permutation

Click on image below for 3,1,2,4 permutation

Click on image below for 3,1,4,2 permutation

Click on image below for 3,2,1,4 permutation

Click on image below for 3,2,4,1 permutation

Click on image below for 3,4,1,2 permutation

Click on image below for 3,4,2,1 permutation

Click on image below for 4,1,2,3 permutation

Click on image below for 4,1,3,2 permutation

Click on image below for 4,2,1,3 permutation

Click on image below for 4,2,3,1 permutation

Click on image below for 4,3,1,2 permutation

Click on image below for 4,3,2,1 permutation

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