#1
Hey UG so i've gotten to that point where i feel i'm not progressing in my playing and would like to know what exactly i need to do to pass it. My goal is to be able to play faster and for extended periods, and be able to actually write solos. I can read tabs, have a fairly decent chord vocabulary...(tho i don't necessarily know the names of many of the chords i know). I also don't know the notes on guitar and am trying to learn them (TAB victim :facepalm. I have a vauge idea of the workings of the major scale and know a few (i'd say about 20 scale shapes). Any suggestions on what i should focus on out there to help achieve my goals? I never had a teacher i would get one but can't afford it. Cheers! (please be as detailed as possible as i have a hard time understanding theory)

P.S oh i've also started venturing into sweep picking and my styles of music would be old school metal and rock primarily.
Quote by thematthill5
The man speaks truth.


Quote by Scutchington
That was probably the first time I've ever laughed at the "over 9000" meme.
#2
Hi, Im not really sure of a minimum time you "need" to practice. I myself probably can only do about 5 on weekdays max and 8 on weekends max but currently I only do 4 on weekdays and mabey more on weekends(in fact anymore than 8 hours and you can start working yourself backwards)

First of all I would direct you towards this

Two very important things in practice are also, regularity, this is about training your fingers not an hour contest, regularity will help you achieve that quicker than 10 hours one day none the next as apposed to two four hour days. And sleep, this is when muscle memory is formed, as macho as skipping sleeping time to practice guitar sounds the idea is highly unrealistic.

The main thing you should probably do is take a look at your time commitments and than figure out how many hours (or minutes) a day you can do. Next work out what techniques you want to practice and probably try and practice every different technique for around 30 - 45 minutes a day (or more)

Remember to take breaks every 5 - 20 minutes, also though it may also seem very macho not to take any breaks and play TILL YOUR FINGERS BLEED! what will actually help you more is take regular breaks for 5 minutes or so, just to refresh, refocuss, and it will also give your body a chance to absorb what you've been practicing.

Third, read the link in my sig, go to Guitar Techniques read the Advanced Techniques Sticky.

As far as theory goes the Crusade articles on this site are really good
Just start with part 1 here part 2 here and part 3 here

Also, think of devoting sometime to reading and sightreading. Although its not a skill that will get you the chicks "Bitches don't know 'bout my sightreading skillz" its definatley worth it
Last edited by jesse music at May 22, 2010,
#3
Quote by jesse music
Hi, Im not really sure of a minimum time you "need" to practice. I myself probably can only do about 5 on weekdays max and 8 on weekends max but currently I only do 4 on weekdays and mabey more on weekends(in fact anymore than 8 hours and you can start working yourself backwards)




I think we have to separate fact from fiction and it's also nice when we can support our claims with evidence. Where did you hear that anything over 8 hours starts your progress going backwards? I'd like to see proof of that. I know of several guys who record. Prior to going into the studio, they practice for up to 14 hours a day. Yes, I said 14 hours a day.

Now, I teach guitar on the weekend and I can tell you that most people cannot afford to devote 8 or even 14 hours a day to guitar practice. I know I can't. As a general rule of thumb, I tell my students that they need at least 30 minutes a day to maintain their current level. If they want to progress, they need to be putting in at least an hour to almost 3 hours. Practice time is essential, as is what you practice during that time. I break my practice sessions into different areas, so that I'm practicing everything daily. By everything, I mean the things that are important to my guitar playing.
#5
You're right, I wouldn't. 3-5 hours, tops until you know wtf you're doing. You can work up to 8 if you're crazy. Anything past that is bad for you. Anything past what you're actually capable of is counter-developmental... seriously, 2 hours a day is perfect for most people who don't have a professional routine, and those who do tend to limit it to about 3 hours a day. It's hard to concentrate and actually learn anything useful past that -- and those 3 hours include break times.


And this guy is a leading expert in the field... Once again, we have nothing more than someone's opinion, which is not backed up with scientific proof. I think even you will agree that my statement is true. What I want to see is a scientific study, produced on a reliable site, that states anything over 8 hours is bad. Problem is, you're not going to find it. It doesn't exist. Why? Everyone is different. You. Me. Him. The next guy - we're all different. Each of us is going to have a point where practice becomes counter-productive and we're no longer learning. For you, it may be 4 hours, for me it could be 3 hours, for TS it could be 6 hours, for my recording buddy it might be 14 hours. I just hate to see a blanket statement tossed around saying that ANYTHING over 8 hours is detrimental to your playing, without it being backed up with proof. Unfortunately, Page 2, Post 38 is not scientific proof - it's opinion. Agree?
Last edited by KG6_Steven at May 22, 2010,
#7
I'll see if I can Google it and find something on the topic. I know I've read something at one time or another on the topic, but I can't remember specifics - and it was a scientific study.

Each of us needs to be able to recognize the point at which we're no longer gaining anything useful from a practice session. For me, it seems to differ day to day, depending on what I have going on. I've had Saturdays where I play for 4 hours and then I've had Saturdays where I barely play at all. Learn to recognize that point and stop playing when you reach it. As Jesse mentioned, take a 5 minute break, or maybe an hour. On the other thread, someone mentioned taking a few days off from practice. I strongly disagree with that statement. The only way you can progress and develop muscle memory is by practicing. Ask a fighter pilot what happens if he stops practicing. The majority of their job is muscle memory. Stop practicing and you become less efficient. When these guys aren't flying, they're in the simulator maintaining their skills. I know this for a fact.

Something that's going to be hard for TS is developing a routine. Having a professional instructor go one-on-with you is pure gold. An instructor can point out problem areas and teach ways of reinforcing good habits. They can also help develop a practice routine. Going it on your own can be done, but it's rough - you have to catch your own mistakes and figure out for yourself which areas to spend time on. You'll either become an awesome guitar player, or you'll find yourself constantly frustrated.
#8
Get up at six ayem. Do whatever else you have to do.

Practice until ten o'clock at night. Go to bed.
Quote by silent caution
When i was younger i used to pee in peoples shoes and blame their dog
#9
Thanks for the input guys! i generally practice about 2 hours a day or one hour when i don't have the time at least. Definetly going to do the sightreading thing (as soon as i learn how to read). Mainly it is a question of WHAT i should be practicing Jesse's Links should keep me going for abit though and steer me on the right path i think i also downladed guitar speed trainer recently and am hoping to find that helpful. Thanks for your advice to steve makes sense and it's true i have also heard that a "university" level musician should be devoting at least 5 hours of practice a day to his or her schedule. The most i could probably sanely do would be 3 hour practice anything more then that would be pushing it but again i do want to push myself also lol. BTW i have already been playing for 3 years too.
Quote by thematthill5
The man speaks truth.


Quote by Scutchington
That was probably the first time I've ever laughed at the "over 9000" meme.
Last edited by The_Mariner at May 22, 2010,
#10
Quote by The_Mariner
Thanks for the input guys! i generally practice about 2 hours a day or one hour when i don't have the time at least. Definetly going to do the sightreading thing (as soon as i learn how to read). Mainly it is a question of WHAT i should be practicing Jesse's Links should keep me going for abit though and steer me on the right path i think i also downladed guitar speed trainer recently and am hoping to find that helpful. Thanks for your advice to steve makes sense and it's true i have also heard that a "university" level musician should be devoting at least 5 hours of practice a day to his or her schedule. The most i could probably sanely do would be 3 hour practice anything more then that would be pushing it but again i do want to push myself also lol. BTW i have already been playing for 3 years too.


In that case, you should make yourself a routine. I know you were wanting one... but it is best to make your own... http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/tabs/s/steve_vai/10-hour_guitar_workout_tab.htm (I'm sure you could find the real one somewhere)

Use that as a guide and condense it. The initial part is warm ups and finger exercises... then chords and inversions, etc... work out what you would like to achieve and place it in your routine.

If you have 2 hours to do it in... then separate it into 10 minute segments per exercise/thing... all the while the metronome is going at the same tempo... not taking a break between exercises (unless you are in pain... and do not play through the pain... rest).

If you do it this way you will train nicely... if you feel you are not pushed... up the tempo a bit to just above comfortable.

Yes, we can play up to 14 hours a day... Segovia did 18 hours a day and could only manage 15 hours a day in his 80's... it can be done... but its your call as to how ascetic you want to be.

Don't ask... just do... unless its your neighbour's wife and he has a gun...
#11
you mispelled help


(anyone get it?)
Tick tock and waiting for the meteor
This clock is opening another door
#12
evolucian: 18 hours a day? Speaking of calling BS. Hr probably should have been taking at least four hours break with that (to really be able to focus) and that would of left him 2 hours to sleep?

If it worked for segovia, fine, but I do wonder how correct 18 hours is, let's just say you don't take a single break and do 18 hours straight (not recommended) that only leaves you with 6 hours sleep, which is probably a bare minumum, having said that 18 hours with no breaks is not healthy (in my oppinion) for anyone
Last edited by jesse music at May 22, 2010,
#13
jesse: I have no idea about breaks he took... it was something in an interview (and I'm sure he took breaks, he had to eat, drink, piss and shit too). Some people are more disciplined than others, and his rigorous training served him well in the end. Its no use trying to be sarcy with me or trying to make me out to be an ass... I read it... I relay it. That is why I said at the end of the post that it depends how ascetic you want to be.

I do not agree with Cor's outline he gave in that post because we are all different... But I do agree that music is draining. If I'm writing a track, it takes me anywhere from 1 hour to 8 hours laying parts down, finding drums etc etc and completing a track in one sitting. No real breaks to speak of besides the ever going coffee cycle. When I need to practice , I can spend anywhere from an hour to 6 hours between coffee breaks only to follow it up with another 6 hour trek. I am really drained after that and only want to veg for a while... but sometimes you just have to do it.

Who cares if it was healthy for him... he lived to a ripe old age and eventually died. 2 to 3 hours is a good goal for anyone practicing, as long as it is focused... same as the longer sessions... if it is focused, who is to deny it? You? Now that would be BS...
#14
Quote by evolucian
In that case, you should make yourself a routine. I know you were wanting one... but it is best to make your own... http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/tabs/s/steve_vai/10-hour_guitar_workout_tab.htm (I'm sure you could find the real one somewhere)

Use that as a guide and condense it. The initial part is warm ups and finger exercises... then chords and inversions, etc... work out what you would like to achieve and place it in your routine.

If you have 2 hours to do it in... then separate it into 10 minute segments per exercise/thing... all the while the metronome is going at the same tempo... not taking a break between exercises (unless you are in pain... and do not play through the pain... rest).

If you do it this way you will train nicely... if you feel you are not pushed... up the tempo a bit to just above comfortable.

Yes, we can play up to 14 hours a day... Segovia did 18 hours a day and could only manage 15 hours a day in his 80's... it can be done... but its your call as to how ascetic you want to be.

Don't ask... just do... unless its your neighbour's wife and he has a gun...


Yeah that's what i'm saying mainly it is what skills should i make sure i really know to accomplish the goals listed before?
Quote by thematthill5
The man speaks truth.


Quote by Scutchington
That was probably the first time I've ever laughed at the "over 9000" meme.
#15
Quote by The_Mariner
Yeah that's what i'm saying mainly it is what skills should i make sure i really know to accomplish the goals listed before?


Ok, take a look at your first post and work from there:

My goal is to be able to play faster and for extended periods

Use a metronome when you practice. A good book on an outline with hundreds of examples would be Troy Stetina's "Speed mechanics for lead guitar". Although you could scout around UG for some exercises, the book would be better. Playing for extended periods means stamina... which is training. By practicing to a metronome for a 2 hour period or the 3 hour max that you say u can, that would be building stamina.

and be able to actually write solos

Another reason I mentioned that book is because he has an outline of writing solo's in there. Two birds with one stone so to say.

I can read tabs


Thats nice. Now set aside 10 or 20 minutes in your schedule to do sight reading... that would be standard notation. An easy way of doing it is finding all your tabs from magazines that you have, cover the tab and learn to read the dots instead. Otherwise there is another book for that by Tommy Tedesco "For guitar players only". Lots of dots in there with a purpose... to start simply and progress to full on chart reading you might get in a studio if you are a session guitarist. If you don't want to be a session muso, thats ok... train like one. It won't kill you.

have a fairly decent chord vocabulary...(tho i don't necessarily know the names of many of the chords i know)

Now you can... by learning chord construction. And by memorising the names of the chord. Make sure you know what you play or stop and find out what you are playing.

I also don't know the notes on guitar and am trying to learn them (TAB victim )

Another reason to learn dots... finding them on the neck would be a nice challenge. You can initially cheat by reading the dot for what it is, then see the tab numeral for where it is.

I have a vauge idea of the workings of the major scale and know a few (i'd say about 20 scale shapes)

Having a vague idea is a good start. Now learn scale construction. Learn your major scale to the key that you are learning. This way, make each week or month a new key week/month. This way you build chord knowledge and key knowledge... the scale will just fall into place. Shapes are good to learn, but know what they are and where, once again, they fall into your key. Learn the key formula of I ii iii IV V vi vii and apply all this knowledge to it. A key every month with this formula firmly rooted in your head or on a page real close to you will help in a big way.

i've also started venturing into sweep picking

Learning techniques is good. In your routine you will no doubtedly set aside time to learn more. So set aside ten minutes apiece to alternate picking, economy picking, vibrato, hammers, pulls, legato. Thats one hour of dedicated practice to technique.

my styles of music would be old school metal and rock primarily

Thats good. Now broaden it to include many more styles like funk, blues, country, jazz, pop... latin if you wish. It will not harm you knowing all of this. Perhaps pick a genre to start when ever you learn a new key. Maybe seperate it between every month or every second month... and cycle them. Your initial styles won't be lost... they'll just have new life brought into them.

i've gotten to that point where i feel i'm not progressing in my playing

When you hit this point again... its ok... your brain is just soaking up the info you've given it... it will pass and the learning curve will rise steadily again.

Hope this helps, and good luck
#16
Quote by evolucian
Ok, take a look at your first post and work from there:


Use a metronome when you practice. A good book on an outline with hundreds of examples would be Troy Stetina's "Speed mechanics for lead guitar". Although you could scout around UG for some exercises, the book would be better. Playing for extended periods means stamina... which is training. By practicing to a metronome for a 2 hour period or the 3 hour max that you say u can, that would be building stamina.


Another reason I mentioned that book is because he has an outline of writing solo's in there. Two birds with one stone so to say.


Thats nice. Now set aside 10 or 20 minutes in your schedule to do sight reading... that would be standard notation. An easy way of doing it is finding all your tabs from magazines that you have, cover the tab and learn to read the dots instead. Otherwise there is another book for that by Tommy Tedesco "For guitar players only". Lots of dots in there with a purpose... to start simply and progress to full on chart reading you might get in a studio if you are a session guitarist. If you don't want to be a session muso, thats ok... train like one. It won't kill you.


Now you can... by learning chord construction. And by memorising the names of the chord. Make sure you know what you play or stop and find out what you are playing.


Another reason to learn dots... finding them on the neck would be a nice challenge. You can initially cheat by reading the dot for what it is, then see the tab numeral for where it is.


Having a vague idea is a good start. Now learn scale construction. Learn your major scale to the key that you are learning. This way, make each week or month a new key week/month. This way you build chord knowledge and key knowledge... the scale will just fall into place. Shapes are good to learn, but know what they are and where, once again, they fall into your key. Learn the key formula of I ii iii IV V vi vii and apply all this knowledge to it. A key every month with this formula firmly rooted in your head or on a page real close to you will help in a big way.


Learning techniques is good. In your routine you will no doubtedly set aside time to learn more. So set aside ten minutes apiece to alternate picking, economy picking, vibrato, hammers, pulls, legato. Thats one hour of dedicated practice to technique.


Thats good. Now broaden it to include many more styles like funk, blues, country, jazz, pop... latin if you wish. It will not harm you knowing all of this. Perhaps pick a genre to start when ever you learn a new key. Maybe seperate it between every month or every second month... and cycle them. Your initial styles won't be lost... they'll just have new life brought into them.


When you hit this point again... its ok... your brain is just soaking up the info you've given it... it will pass and the learning curve will rise steadily again.

Hope this helps, and good luck


Thanks alot man all of you guys have given me plenty of info i need to get started on a decent path much appreciated! (am reading the crusade and i think i get it will just be a question of time), Props to all and thanks once again Evolucian.
Quote by thematthill5
The man speaks truth.


Quote by Scutchington
That was probably the first time I've ever laughed at the "over 9000" meme.
#17
Quote by The_Mariner
Thanks for the input guys! i generally practice about 2 hours a day or one hour when i don't have the time at least. Definetly going to do the sightreading thing (as soon as i learn how to read). Mainly it is a question of WHAT i should be practicing Jesse's Links should keep me going for abit though and steer me on the right path i think i also downladed guitar speed trainer recently and am hoping to find that helpful. Thanks for your advice to steve makes sense and it's true i have also heard that a "university" level musician should be devoting at least 5 hours of practice a day to his or her schedule. The most i could probably sanely do would be 3 hour practice anything more then that would be pushing it but again i do want to push myself also lol. BTW i have already been playing for 3 years too.


Well, I'm studying music at university and I only do 4 hours a day (that's about all I can manage) on weekdays and 6 hours a day on weekends.

Also, while Im not here to diss speed trainers. Make sure you give yourself enough time to master each tempo phase, don't go, well I should be at this level now. Should is a deadly sin in guitar practice, because it implies that your not good enough at something and have to rush through whatever your learning (which in the end only ****s you). A really good book that deals in the mental aspects of playing an instrument is Kenny Werner's Effortless Mastery.

I usually try to make sure I practice from four categories:

1. Technique
2. Reading
3. Theory
4. Tunes (repertoire) Never overlook the advantage in knowing 5 - 10 (or more) jazz standards. The fact that they are "jazz" or not "jazz" is not really relavent, but they do open your ears up to a lot of extended harmony unconciusly training your ears. Also it's so great to be able to go up to almost any other guitar plaeyr and say wanna do "Autumn Leaves" (or whatever) and not have to do any rehearsals and play it on the spot (this is the essence of jamming) it's not "Hold on let me come back in two weeks when I have the solo down) its something you can jam right than right now (also if you can find a guitar buddy, that stuff works really well in restuarants, guitar dou style )
#18
Quote by jesse music
Well, I'm studying music at university and I only do 4 hours a day (that's about all I can manage) on weekdays and 6 hours a day on weekends.

Also, while Im not here to diss speed trainers. Make sure you give yourself enough time to master each tempo phase, don't go, well I should be at this level now. Should is a deadly sin in guitar practice, because it implies that your not good enough at something and have to rush through whatever your learning (which in the end only ****s you). A really good book that deals in the mental aspects of playing an instrument is Kenny Werner's Effortless Mastery.

I usually try to make sure I practice from four categories:

1. Technique
2. Reading
3. Theory
4. Tunes (repertoire) Never overlook the advantage in knowing 5 - 10 (or more) jazz standards. The fact that they are "jazz" or not "jazz" is not really relavent, but they do open your ears up to a lot of extended harmony unconciusly training your ears. Also it's so great to be able to go up to almost any other guitar plaeyr and say wanna do "Autumn Leaves" (or whatever) and not have to do any rehearsals and play it on the spot (this is the essence of jamming) it's not "Hold on let me come back in two weeks when I have the solo down) its something you can jam right than right now (also if you can find a guitar buddy, that stuff works really well in restuarants, guitar dou style )


okay cool man thanks for the advice i like Jazz and most other styles of music anyway so it should be fun!
Quote by thematthill5
The man speaks truth.


Quote by Scutchington
That was probably the first time I've ever laughed at the "over 9000" meme.