So my practice routine sucks absolute balls and I don't really know what I should be doing.

I do like 30 minutes of technique exercise. (hammer-ons/pull-offs, alternate picking, stretching, etc)

I then do the extent of my scales which is the C Major Scale. (Learning it all over the fretboard so I could possibly improvise with it one day)

I'm starting to do improvisation practice in C Major. Just doing whatever. No backtrack or anything. Is it natural that you absolutely suck at it at first?

I then try to do some songs... but this where my practice just sucks. The songs my teacher gives me are boring or wayy too easy. I don't know any songs within my skill level that I like. So generally I don't play many songs. This is where it disappoints me the most. I can't really "play" guitar for anyone because I don't know any songs. I mean I know the chords to some songs that are jazzy and stuff but it sounds no good just strumming chords done poorly and without any fills/runs or anything. It's boring.

Then I mess around with random riffs.

And then I do about 100 intervals on the ear trainer thing. (which I suck at too.)

The longest I can push this is maybe two hours, but generally an hour or an hour and half. It's not that I get bored of practicing. It's that I don't have enough to keep practicing. I want to be able to have enough to practice that I could play all night if I didn't have to get up for school the next day. And I also need a good routine... I just don't know what to do.
Well first off, I would extend the time on technique a bit.

As far as improvising goes, it gets easier as you get more used to where the notes are on the neck and what notes fit in what scales. And I'd expand your knowledge of scales a bit. Learn the major and minor pentatonic scales and the blues scale. They are used quite often for solos and whatnot.

I could recommend some songs for you to look at but I need to know what level you are at and what kind of music you like.

Learning by ear can be very difficult. The first thing you have to do is try to identify the key of the song. If you can do that, it's just a matter what scales are being used and what chords are being used. It gets easier after a while.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
The problem is I don't really know what skill level I am since I don't really play many songs. (Well I play songs, but I play rhythm and no one wants to hear you strum chords if you're all alone and can't sing. They want to hear the melody.) I'm beginner/intermediate. Like as far as my rhythm skill goes - open chords is ridicuously easy and I can handle myself with most barre chords unless they're an insane stretch or something like that.

I like a lot of 70s stuff. Elton John, Yes, prog rock, classic rock, whatever.

I'm also hoping to get a little more ideas for what to include in practicing.
Well, first of all don't worry about what everyone else wants to hear, play what you like. Here's my practice routine, I don't usually keep track of time, I just do everything until I feel like moving on, but I always make sure I've covered all my bullet points.

So I do all this stuff:

Chromatics (not just 1234, mix it up. 2413, etc.)
Scales (I run through all the modes slowly at first, keeping an eye on my technique)
Sweep Arpeggios
Rhythm strumming

I know I should learn theory, but I'm stubborn for now. I'd throw it in there though.

I have the same problem as far as playing whole songs goes, but hang in there and you'll find something.

One that's good for playing the whole thing and isn't really boring for the player or listener is Babe I'm Gonna Leave You by Led Zeppelin. I suggest that one to everyone but that's just 'cause it's a great song. That and Pinball Wizard. My favorite rhythm song.

If you enjoy playing any song enough you'll feel it while you're playing, and if you're feelin' it than everybody else probably will too.
Just curious, slightly off topic but: What are chromatic exercises? I know what chromatic scales are of course.
Quote by Xnipes
Just curious, slightly off topic but: What are chromatic exercises? I know what chromatic scales are of course.

Yeah exercises for these would basically be any variation of 1234, usually starting on the 6th string moving to the 1st like

A 1-2-3-4

etc. then move back down in reverse

B 4-3-2-1

then when you're back on low e go

A 2-3-4-5

Sorry I couldn't get the "tab" to come out right, but you'd go 1234 on one string, then the next, then the next.

Do this all the way up the fretboard so you don't get used to one spot. Don't stick with 1234 though, change it up. If your fingers feel confused at first then that's a good thing. You don't want to get your fingers too used to patterns, it won't improve their independence.
Last edited by LicensedToChill at Nov 6, 2009,