A few weeks ago I decided to knuckle down and really take my guitar playing seriously, I read that developing a schedule for guitar practice would prove to beneficial. I have recently made a schedule of my own but it doesn't seem effective, basically all I do is pick an area to work on e.g hammer ons/pull offs and then I play an exercise repeatedly for 15-20 minutes gradually increasing tempo as I become more comfortable I also look at music theory and scales etc. I usually repeat the same exercises for two days then return to them a week later.

Recently when reading a Tom Hess article I came across his Practice Generator which claims to provide an effective practice plan which suits the user, I've heard mixed opinions on Tom Hess and I would first of all like to know if he is legitimate (I'm pretty certain he is) and whether anyone has used his Practice Generator and their opinions on it.
Any help would be much appreciated,

I really don't like that guy. From what I can gather, his guitar practicing 'secrets' are a bunch of scams. Not saying that the information he gives isn't useful, I'm just saying that there are cheaper ways to get it if not for free.

$17 a month is pretty spendy to spend on something that's only software and not a teacher...I'm a little skeptical, to be honest.

EDIT: Not to mention his little ways of pushing someone to pay is kind of a bully way of getting someone to pay...

Are you going to let 17 dollars stand in your way of becoming a much better guitar player?
You've worked hard to get this far in your guitar playing. Think of all the money you've already invested into guitar playing... your guitar(s), amp(s), strings, strap, accessories, all the music you've bought throughout your life... And what about all the time you've spent practicing... Then think about all the time, energy and money you are going to spend in the future... So I have to ask you one important question:
Are you really going to leave this page without making a small $17 investment into your guitar playing when you know that the results you can get by making this investment will be 'priceless' to your guitar playing life?...

The 'yes' and 'no' buttons read "Yes, my guitar playing is worth 17 dollars..." and "No, my guitar playing is not worth 17 dollars..."

Just because you spend the $17 doesn't mean you'll be better...To be honest, he's crossed the line with me from making me 'skeptical' to thinking he's a total asshole...

EDIT 2: It's not a half-bad principle, but it's not a real person doing it. Therefor, it would be very difficult for it to give you a perfect practice schedule. I mean, it's hard for a real person to do it, but to program a machine to do it? Still very skeptical...
Last edited by The.new.guy at Dec 31, 2010,
The guy is an egotistical dickhead from what I gather.

I wouldn't give him a cent.
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Last edited by Scopic at Dec 31, 2010,
He's a good guitar player but he thinks about things way too much. Honestly John Petrruci's Wild Stringdom has some great tips on making a great practice schedule. You don't need to pay anything man. Just look on the internet and ask people in the forums .
Quote by Scopic
The guy is an egotistical dickhead from what I gather.

I wouldn't give him a cent.

This. I'm on his free mailing list so when the mini courses come up, I do those. Like Luca Turilli's neo-classical basics. 2 week course for free.
you`ll learn alot more from this site for free.........i wouldn`t give Tom (Rudolph) Hess the time of day nevermind my money
Personally, I would suggest writing things down that you need to work on... weaknesses, strengths, theory and all that stuff... outline specific topics you want to work on and make a schedule for yourself.
I dont know what your time frame is... but it would look similar to this if you wanted to do more theory stuff...

Monday: 30 minutes of theory, improvising with the theory learned
Tuesday: Speed Development
Wednesday: making my own guitar riffs
Thursday: Theory, Improvising
Friday: learn new song from artist
Saturday: Theory and Improv
Sunday: open day to do whatever you want.
although this guy gives good advice, he talks more than actually teaches you stuff.

What John Petrucci does for practice, from what i learned from the awesome instructional vid, Rock Discipline was divide his time into 4 categories, (dont know what they are), using a file cabinet, writing down things to a file cabinet, picking things out from it related to the categories.

INstead of a practice generator thing write down the things you need to work on like Oscar Ortega said.

Also learn things that challenge you, and things that you don't know that you want to know.

If you want a practice generator thing use the program, "THE HAT",
Personally, I haven't made my mind up about Tom Hess. Although he can sometimes seem a bit "money-orientated" (everything seems like it's leading up to him asking for money...).

If you want a really personalised practice schedule you're probably better off getting a teacher who can help you with that (just like if you went to the gym and got a professional personal trainer rather than just exercising whatever you wanted). Just because having someone knowledgeable guide you from the outside can be a huge benefit (different perspective etc.).

Until you are able (or willing) to pay for anything though, there are many free resources that can also help. For example, I currently have a series on my site:


...which might be able to help (even though I'm sure there are lots more articles/programs on the interwebs somewhere...).
He's now joined Rhapsody of Fire as a full time member and his style really seems to match theirs well so I can't wait to hear what he contributes.

As for the man himself, I've also thought his videos and websites are a bit too "sales person" like. I hate watching one of his sample lessons on youtube, to find that an 8 minute video only has about 60 seconds of decent stuff in it.
Last edited by grantjames at May 11, 2011,
i've been taking correspondence lessons from tom for about 2 months. i've learned so much and have really enjoyed my experience. the stuff on youtube is but a tiny taste of what he has to offer. i imagine he only posts them there to get folks interested in his program. the lessons have plenty of depth and i really enjoy his attention to detail. i take 2 lessons a month, and it keeps me plenty busy.

i know he catches a lot of crap on this and other forums, but i suspect it's only from people who've not received lessons from him.
I tried this practice generator after reading his web page saying how great it is etc. Basically you choose which area you want to practice, ie songwriting, phrasing. You are asked a few questions , ie long or short term goals, then how much time you have to practice a day. Then after you are done it gives you a practice schedule, which will tell you how much time you should practice on each thing, ie soloing, sweep picking. And it has a countdown timer. This is what you get for $17 a month!

If you want more details to what you should be practicing there are a few lines on what you can do and of course it leads to his online guitar lessons which you would obviously have to pay more for! It would be cheaper buying yourself a stopwatch and working it out for yourself. I was expecting alot more for a monthly charge but you live and learn!

This should be free or at least give a trial but he obviously wouldnt get many people paying for this rubbish. I wrote to him and told him what i thought and if i could have a refund but he didnt reply. I cancelled after one day. Maybe he has been too busy shredding!
The bloke is an arrogant prick.

I'm in a dispute with him now and have complained about his company.
Your own practice regime seems like a great starting point.
Working with a metronome may appear boring and results may come slow but if you stick with a principal of practicing things regularly for a short time you will make steady progress.

I don't believe in any of these online 'solve all your guitar problems' quick fixes - especially if you have to part with cash!

I play mainly classical guitar and with a wife, family and a full on job am lucky to get practice 4 times a week. But I really notice the steady progress if I persist.

Use this place and other forums for free good advice from practicing musicians. You may get contrasting opinions but thats the beauty of it all.

#%%&!!! I wish I looked for this first. Got the practice schedule. WASTE OF MONEY! I paid 17 bucks, cancelled in 5 mins. and yet the 17 is for a month but as soon as you cancel its gone, don't even get to keep it for the month. Bad detail, but good sly sales. Not considering his lessons anymore that's for sure. BAH!!!
This guy isnt a musician, he is a marketeer who learned guitar for the sole purpose to earn money by giving people the illusion that he is some kind of guitar god. Sure he knows his theory and his techniques. But he has no feeling in his play whatsoever, but thats only natural if you consider that he is not a musician but a marketeer... and i also think he masturbates while looking in the mirror, since he thinks so highly about himself.

I think he should get a ban on youtube because the only thing he does on there is intimidate beginner guitar players with big terms, big empty terms. hoping that people will charge 10.000 dollar annually for his lessons (http://tomhess.net/PrivateLessons.aspx) he is a joke.