I used to practice just by playing tabs, but now i have just started adding theory into my playing which by the way really does help.

Make a practice routine that suits you such as practicing scales, learning the fretboard,finding out how notes sound, chords, and intervals for 30mins.(again this is around how long i practice this a day, not necessarily how long you have to.)

Then move on to playing tabs or however you play music because i know practicing theory can get boring.

Anyway it really comes down to how much time you have to play guitar and what your trying to learn.
Id say avoid routine (that works for me personally, but for many people a routine works fine) and instead set goals and meet them. This makes your practice less tedious IMO.
As far as for what to practice,
songs you enjoy should occupy a lot (like 70 percent) of your practice time. If I had two hours to practice, Id probably spend an hour and a half on music and 30 minutes on technique.
Technically, id suggest working on scales (first on a single string accross every string with the major scale and harmonic minor scale and every key, then moving on to one octave positions and two octave positions and practicing by mode, triad and seventh chord arpeggio and in digital patterns) and diatonic triads in every major and minor key and after that, seventh chords.
This will help you both know the fretboard, not get trapped in the minor pentatonic and advancd your sound and technique.
Entirely depends upon your playing level and ability to sit and play seriously, even I can't keep up the latter!

I'd suggest learning how to apply basic theory to the guitar neck (scales and chords), and from there learn techniques on guitar via songs. It's no good being able to run up and down scales if you can't use them in practice.

Do it slowly, do it thoroughly, do it repetitively. (Or that's what my guitar teacher drilled into my thick skull)
I think the questions you ask are not quite right.

"How do you guys practice?"

Well I could tell you how I practice but that's of no use to you as I have different weaknesses than you. I also want to achieve different things to you.

"What are the most important things to learn?"

Again my answer is different to your answer. If you want to play jazz you'll need an intiate knowledge of chord and modes. If you're playing metal you'll have different requirements.

The most important things are the things YOU need to learn.
It is important to set up a practice routine to work on scales, finger exercises, chords, intervals, rhythm, sight reading and music theory/ harmony.

Practice your scales at a slow pace with either a metronome or rhythm track. Make sure all the notes are played smoothly and cleanly before increasing the tempo on the metronome or rhythm track. This also apply to finger and rhythm exercises.

You can work on different inversions of the chords and different ways of playing them. It’s also important to understand the intervals and relationship between the notes.
Pick out a few pieces of music and sight read them. Make sure you only sight read it through once and put it away. Reading it more than once will not help with your sight reading. After that, move on to another piece of music.

Here are some good tips on sight reading. it applies to all instruments.

You might want to consider spending some time with theory and harmony. There are many books and resources online. It will definitely help with your instrument and playing.
I would say the best thing to do is be curious and explore. I would say the most important thing is to learn theory and the fret board. Learn any songs that sound interesting as well. When I say learn I mean break down everything, not just the guitar. Learn why the song sounds interesting. Also, don't be one of those people who spends their time mindlessly playing scales to improve their"speed"(depending on what type of music you play). Actually I found that once I stopped playing scales and patterns to improve my "speed" I got faster almost immediately because I started to play more solos that I had learned. This and economy picking have given me my speed.
Last edited by WalrusNutFart at Aug 6, 2010,