Warm Up Exercise

Mudfootball G-D7 Shuffle

Lesson #180

Video Overview

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Editor’s notes

This exercise is inspired by the opening riff heard in Jack Johnson’s song “Mudfootball” off his 2001 debut album. It features only two chord shapes (G & D7), but it’s made unique by the interesting voicing of each chord along with the muted strumming pattern that’s used. The chord voicings as well as the muted strumming technique are particularly helpful to have in your bag of tricks, in my opinion – so I wanted to share! This has long been a favorite warm-up exercise of mine, going back to when I first learned guitar.

Full warmup exercise

E ||–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
B ||––3–x–x–3–x–x–3–x–x–3–x–x–3–x–x–x––|––3–x–x–3–x–x–3–x–x–3–x–x–3–x–x–x––|–
G ||––4–x–x–4–x–x–4–x–x–4–x–x–4–x–x–x––|––4–x–x–4–x–x–4–x–x–4–x–x–4–x–x–x––|–
D ||––5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–x––|––5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–x––|–
A ||––5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–x––|––5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–x––|–
E ||–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–
      v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^     v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^
      G                                   G

E –|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––||
B –|––3–x–x–3–x–x–3–x–x–3–x–x–3–x–x–x––|––3–x–x–3–x–x–3–x–x–3–x–x–3–x–x–x––||
G –|––5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–x––|––5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–x––||
D –|––4–x–x–4–x–x–4–x–x–4–x–x–4–x–x–x––|––4–x–x–4–x–x–4–x–x–4–x–x–4–x–x–x––||
A –|––5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–x––|––5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–5–x–x–x––||
E –|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––||
      v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^     v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^
      D7                                  D7

Learning the chords

First, understand the two chord shapes you’ll be playing. Individually, they look like this. Note how your left-hand’s index and ring fingers stay in the same exact place for each chord! All you’re doing is switching your left-hand middle & pinky finger between the 3rd and 4th strings.

E –––––––                       E –––––––                   
B –––3––– <= left index         B –––3––– <= left index     
G –––4––– <= left middle        G –––5––– <= left pinky
D –––5––– <= left pinky         D –––4––– <= left middle     
A –––5––– <= left ring          A –––5––– <= left ring      
E –––––––                       E –––––––                   
     G                               D7                      

Also, I should note that it’s ideal to mute the high & low E strings for both these chords. Do this by letting your left-hand index finger lightly touch the high-E string, and letting your left-hand ring or thumb lightly touch the low-E string. If you lightly touch these strings (but don’t press them down into the fretboard), they’ll be “muted” and make no sound when strummed. This lets you strum all six strings, but only results in the middle 4 strings making an actual noise (which is what we want here).

The muted “grab strum” technique

As I describe and demonstrate in the video, this exercise gives a good chance to practice (1) muting all the strings while continuously strumming in an down-up-down-up (etc) manner; and then occasionally (2) depressing your fingertips on to the fretboard to play the necessary chords – but doing this only for a single strum, before returning to the mute-all-the-strings left-hand posture, via un-pressing the strings agains the fretboard (but still muting them). This is ridiculously hard to describe with text all by itself! So I implore you to see my video for reference – as this technique can be used in so many situations outside of this warmup exercise.

Using these same shapes in different keys

When learning this exercise, it’s helpful to understand that these same exact shapes can be shifted up (or down) the fretboard, and will continue to sound good when played together – even though the key is changing. For example, here’s the chords you’d be playing if you switched to a few different frets:

E ––––––––––––    E ––––––––––––    E ––––––––––––    E ––––––––––––
B –––1––––1–––    B –––3––––3–––    B –––5––––5–––    B –––7––––7–––
G –––2––––3–––    G –––4––––5–––    G –––6––––7–––    G –––8––––9–––
D –––3––––2–––    D –––5––––4–––    D –––7––––6–––    D –––9––––8–––
A –––3––––3–––    A –––5––––5–––    A –––7––––7–––    A –––9––––9–––
E ––––––––––––    E ––––––––––––    E ––––––––––––    E ––––––––––––
     F    C7           G    D7           A    E7           B   F#7  

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