I am fairly new to the guitar scene (I've been playing roughly a month), and I have a few general questions.

I was completely inspired by the music of Led Zeppelin to pick up a guitar and start playing at the ripe old age of 21, and since I am pretty narrow minded, the songs I want to learn are strictly Led Zepp songs. That being said, I also understand the need to know the basics. So, for the last month, I've been learning/practicing basics chords, notes, scales, etc... Along with that, I've been practicing dribs and drabs of the following songs;
1. The Ocean
2. Whole Lotta Love
3. Black Dog
4. Tangerine
5. Over the Hills and Far Away

I can't play any of them all the way through, but what I can play is done pretty good. So, now for the questions.

1. How long should I be practicing a day? Since this is subjective, rank hours of day playing .. (Example .. 30 minutes a day = too little. 1 hour a day = sufficient .. 2 hours a day = ideal .. 10 hours = you might need a life, etc). I can usually fit an hour a day during the semester, and come winter break, <= 5 hours a day.

2. What should I be doing during the sessions to get the most out of my time? Right now, I practice chords (playing and moving from one to another), I play a few scales using all my fingers, and I practice the riffs and chords from the Led Zep songs I know.

3. What builds more speed? Scales or playing riffs? I've been considering playing the Black Dog riffsfor example to improve speed. This way, I 'll also be practicing specifically what I want to playing. Good idea/bad idea?

Thank You for your thought.
Time-wise, the best way to practise is actually to do it in 15 to 30 minute sessions throughout the day, not in one 2 hour or whatever block.

If you want to build up speed, focus on relaxing as completely as possible when playing. The guitar is in no way a feat of strength - it's about eradicating excess tension, economising your movements and playing with varying dynamics appropriate for the song, from soft-as-a-feather to digging in hard.
1. As long as you have time for
The more you practice the better you'll be
An hour a day is great

2. Yeah, practice your scales, try improvising over some songs (play them through some speakers or something), practice your chords
You should try learning to sight read too; its an invaluable skill (and seriously raises your guitar cred )
Learn new techniques (tapping, sweeping, fingerpicking) some new songs, expand your musical taste
The more songs you learn, the more riffs you learn, the more you add to your musical vocabulary
If someone wanted to become a painter and all they ever saw were Picassos they would probably never go beyond a Picasso imitator
Likewise, if you all you ever listen to and learn is Led Zep, you'll only end up being a Page imitator

As long as you practice both of them correctly you'll get faster at playing
Use a metronome and slowly work your way up speed-wise, starting with how fast you can play it now (w/o a hint of sloppiness)

But the best thing you can do if you really want to become a good guitarist is to get a teacher
Last edited by The Horror! at Sep 6, 2009,
Do all your practice with a metronome!

I find it works well and you keep it fresh and new if you 'practice' the boring stuff ie, scales, finger exercises, picking exercises for up to 30 minutes if you have the motivation a few times a week. The rest of the time, warm up with about 10 minutes but then just practice learning the songs you want to learn. If you have only been playing for a months don't expect to master anything!

Also, learn to use ALL your fingers!
In the Valley of Vung
Quote by The Horror!

Learn new techniques (tapping, sweeping, fingerpicking) some new songs, expand your musical taste

I agreed with most of your post except for this. He's been playing for a month, theres no way he should be learning tapping or sweeping yet!

Just keep it up the way you are, it sounds like your doing great. Try to avoid developing bad habits though.