#1
looking for best ways to practice without boring me to the point of putting my guitar down. any ideas on what and for how long i should practice before i get into playing the songs i really like?(90,s grunge ,thrash,some new metalcore, stoner rock, classic rock, sabbath etc..) gotta be homest i cant devote several hours to scales and left hand excersises but i can play the songs i like for hours. so please gimme some pointers on what to practice and for how long ie right now im concentrating on my gallop technique and down picking stamina for my thrash songs but id still like to know the basic scales, using a metronome, and know all the names of the chords across the fretboard. thanks for your time
#2
Hey there! I am myself new to electric guitar but not guitar in general. Anyway, I am in a position very similar to yours, except I sadly cannot devote hourS to guitar a day because I am a high school student.

Anyway, practicing is the best way to learn. If you would like to know chords, scales and arpeggios, then read up a bit about music theory here on U.G. (this very sub - forum, in fact) and find yourself a couple of classical/acoustic guitar songs that you like. Simulate an acoustic with your effects, and then off you go at least trying to play them. First go with the basic melody, then analyze it using your music theory knowledge (thus also testing yourself on it, and practicing making yourself better at it too) to see its structure and the used elements of various scales and arpeggios, then go for the chords. Learning chords is fairly easy as long as you have a chart, and you do not press too hard on the frets (this also develops a cleaner chord - holding technique). In my experience, the hardest way of picking is fingerpicking, learn that and then develop stamina that way. Because I did that, I could "gallop" as soon as I ever heard of it, because all I needed to know was what to do (I have been playing guitar for four years, mind you, and the first time I heard the term was when I bought my electric guitar which was a month and a half ago) and what it looked/sounded like.

There is a good song I can recommend for practicing picking timing (same as metronome scale practicing at its root point, really): "Levan's Polka" (there are various tabs here on U.G. too). While reading tablature is good and all, try transposing the tablature you have/get into musical notation or "music" and then play it off there. More on the song though: the song sounds at its best when played on a shimmering Vox - like clean channel, with 'trick' delay (two delays, set at .3 and .5 of a second apart) which gives you a very hard - set timing of 240 beats per minute with the acceptable error of 1 80th of a second, otherwise the delays will sound horribly out of phase with the original sound and each other.

If your skills and knowledge exceed the above, I am sorry, as I aimed at providing advice for a beginner.

P.S. Do not do what I did: fall to the "shortcut" of "knowing" all the major scales and chords in one easy method - The CAGED system. If you seriously want to learn guitar at a professional level, START with music theory, because later you will regard it as "hard" and "tedious" (only speaking from personal experience here...). Anyway, I hope I helped, and sorry for any inconvenience with the wall of text ^.
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

Quote by Offworld92
This debate is exhausting to read.
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#3
What to practice: Things you enjoy. As you said, you cant play exercises and scales for hours, but you can play songs for hours. Songs are often overlooked, but they are really one of the best ways of developing. I personally dont practice scales, i practice songs, that way you get the scales in context, and songs themselves are great exercises for improving your playing.

How long to practice: Practice stuff for as long as you can really focus on it. I personally practice on average around 3 hours a day, but as long as you can get in a little practice everyday, thats good. Taking breaks is a must if you want to do longer practice sessions though. I often do about 1 hour of practice in the morning, then i am off to study/work, then when i get home i do 1-2 hours, and then in the evening about 1 hour. You need breaks to relax and let your body and mind work with what you have been doing.

But yeah, quality over quantity. A good 30 min practice session everyday is better than a 5 hour session twice a week.

If you want to know chords and scales i would recommend you rather study how/what they are made up of instead of practicing alot of shapes and fingerings. I dont sit and practice chords all day (except for the tunes i learn), but i know how chords are made, so when i get a session gig and i get a chord chart that have the chord "C7b5b9" i know how to make that chord, rather than know a shape for that chord. It´s kind of "give a man a fish, teach a man to fish" kind of scenario. Anyways, studying basic theory will probably do you good. I recommend Musictheory.net for starting out.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#4
also, keep in mind that not all practice has to be active, you can noodle around scales and chords or work on technique while watching tv, if you do this it helps immensely with your general playing ability while taking the tedium out of the equation
#5
Quote by Sickz
What to practice: Things you enjoy. As you said, you cant play exercises and scales for hours, but you can play songs for hours. Songs are often overlooked, but they are really one of the best ways of developing. I personally dont practice scales, i practice songs, that way you get the scales in context, and songs themselves are great exercises for improving your playing.


+1

A lot of people saying "if you're only playing stuff you know you're not improving". I don't buy that at all. 99% of what I do is playing, not practising, and I'm a heck of a lot better than when I first picked up a guitar.

Now, it may well not be the most efficient way to improve, and I'd be the first to admit that (though I'd also say it has other advantages over practising drills etc. as you implied), but if practising tedious stuff bores the crap out of you, you have to work with what you've got. 3 hours of "proper" practice might be more efficient than 3 hours of playing, but 3 hours of playing are probably better than 2 minutes of practising which you then quit when you get bored.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
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Et tu, br00tz?
#6
The thing about practice, is many times the thing you need to do is not always the most enjoyable, unless you enjoy the madness.

When I teach, I usually have people practice for shorter durations. But, I have them practice more often. So 10 minutes of practice, where its slow, focused, and controlled, means more, than extended practices, and is less boring.

I also tell people to look at it as weightlifting. When I work out, I don't do 1 weight and 2000 reps!

I do one exercise, 3-4 times at various intensities, and then STOP. The benefit isn't going to be then, ts going to be a small amount of improvement and and felt tomorrow. But If I do this once a month, the benefits are going to be almost none.

Frequency and correct practice, are the keys to consistent improvement. You don't have to practice a LONG time, but practice correctly and often.

And, realize that even then, its going to take a long time. Most people wear themselves out trying to improve the most in as little time as possible, as if that's a thing. It isn't. You improve when you understand muscle memory and how the brain learns things, and you respect that, and accept it as fact. Then your mind set becomes "Here's how I need to do it if I want it to be done".

If you're looking to get there, as fast as possible, then you're probably going to be doing a lot of things wrong. If you're looking to get there whatever it takes no matter how long, then the urgency won't be coloring your decisions or actions.

Best,

Sean
#7
Quote by nudewithboots
looking for best ways to practice without boring me to the point of putting my guitar down. any ideas on what and for how long i should practice before i get into playing the songs i really like?(90,s grunge ,thrash,some new metalcore, stoner rock, classic rock, sabbath etc..) gotta be homest i cant devote several hours to scales and left hand excersises but i can play the songs i like for hours. so please gimme some pointers on what to practice and for how long ie right now im concentrating on my gallop technique and down picking stamina for my thrash songs but id still like to know the basic scales, using a metronome, and know all the names of the chords across the fretboard. thanks for your time



If playing your favorite songs keeps you at it for hours at a time, then by all means, keep doing that.

For specific pointers on what technique or what scale to practice and for how long, consider taking lessons. There are literally hundreds of things you could be focusing on. It's difficult to say what is right for you without knowing where you're at and what you're goals are.
#8
Quote by Sickz
What to practice: Things you enjoy. As you said, you cant play exercises and scales for hours, but you can play songs for hours. Songs are often overlooked, but they are really one of the best ways of developing. I personally dont practice scales, i practice songs, that way you get the scales in context, and songs themselves are great exercises for improving your playing.

How long to practice: Practice stuff for as long as you can really focus on it. I personally practice on average around 3 hours a day, but as long as you can get in a little practice everyday, thats good. Taking breaks is a must if you want to do longer practice sessions though. I often do about 1 hour of practice in the morning, then i am off to study/work, then when i get home i do 1-2 hours, and then in the evening about 1 hour. You need breaks to relax and let your body and mind work with what you have been doing.

But yeah, quality over quantity. A good 30 min practice session everyday is better than a 5 hour session twice a week.

If you want to know chords and scales i would recommend you rather study how/what they are made up of instead of practicing alot of shapes and fingerings. I dont sit and practice chords all day (except for the tunes i learn), but i know how chords are made, so when i get a session gig and i get a chord chart that have the chord "C7b5b9" i know how to make that chord, rather than know a shape for that chord. It´s kind of "give a man a fish, teach a man to fish" kind of scenario. Anyways, studying basic theory will probably do you good. I recommend Musictheory.net for starting out.

The guitarist in the military band I play in is freaking amazing (plays flawlessly anything from jazz to Steve Vai shredding style) and I asked about his "secrets". He said there was no secrets. He just played everything musically in context. He never did any boring finger exercises or scale runs. He just played songs he liked and used his ears a lot. (He can also play what he sings like Jimi Hendrix sometimes did.)

If "boring" exercises don't bore you, then of course play them. Playing the guitar should be fun.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Apr 20, 2014,
#9
Quote by MaggaraMarine
The guitarist in the military band I play in is freaking amazing (plays flawlessly anything from jazz to Steve Vai shredding style) and I asked about his "secrets". He said there was no secrets. He just played everything musically in context. He never did any boring finger exercises or scale runs. He just played songs he liked and used his ears a lot. (He can also play what he sings like Jimi Hendrix sometimes did.)

If "boring" exercises don't bore you, then of course play them. Playing the guitar should be fun.


Agreed. When people ask me how i practice and i tell them i learn by learning tunes they are often very surprised, like "But surely you must have used some technique book with exercises or exercises from a guitar DVD or something and locked yourself into a room with a metronome for hours?", like its impossible to play well any other way. The only response i have is look at the old bebop guys, or the country guys, when they grew up these exercise books and DVDs didn´t exist, but still they are among the best players out there.

There are different routes to go to reach a destination, just be sure to choose the one that brings you the most enjoyment.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#10
Quote by MaggaraMarine

If "boring" exercises don't bore you, then of course play them. Playing the guitar should be fun.


Yeah that too- I do the occasionally exercise for a few seconds minutes, because I don't find it boring doing them for short periods of time occasionally. and if you actually enjoy them then have at it, type of thing. Just if you do find them boring there's no law that says you have to do them.

Quote by Sickz
(a) Agreed. When people ask me how i practice and i tell them i learn by learning tunes they are often very surprised, like "But surely you must have used some technique book with exercises or exercises from a guitar DVD or something and locked yourself into a room with a metronome for hours?", like its impossible to play well any other way. The only response i have is look at the old bebop guys, or the country guys, when they grew up these exercise books and DVDs didn´t exist, but still they are among the best players out there.

(b) There are different routes to go to reach a destination, just be sure to choose the one that brings you the most enjoyment.


(a) Same here. I've never used a metronome. I'm not the fastest or best player in the world by a long shot, but I think I can sort of play well enough to impress at least laypeople who don't play.

(b) Exactly. If someone tells me there's only one way to do or achieve something, that rings my warning bells. The world's full of people who'll tell you there's only one valid way to do things (normally their way; coincidentally the people telling you this are normally the people who haven't "made it" ), and while being contrary for the sake of it might not be the best approach, the world is full of people who made it on their own terms, who "beat the odds" or whatever.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#11
I have had a bass teacher for 2 years now. But its always been supplemented by my own practicing of songs. I still don't do drills much, despite having a teacher, he doesn't really make me do scale practice to metronomes.
#12
Everyone's view on practicing is completely subjective different strokes for different folks playing songs for countless hours might work better for others, and practicing technique exercises might work better for the other player. I usually do both working with these exercises helps me to correct and work on certain techniques that i'm struggling with that I can really put focus on. Some people just don't understand how to practice that's the biggest deal I can see with it being boring in some cases...
#13
i don't like isolate exercises (ex.: just practicing scale patterns, chromatic drills etc). these are great when you start to build technique
i practice by learning new standards. playing jazz standards helps on all aspects of my playing : improvisation, chords, even sight reading sometimes, chord melody, scales, licks
Last edited by SuperKid at Apr 20, 2014,
#14
I'd say do what you enjoy! In fact, you could argue that if you're enjoying what you're doing, you are going to be more focused, and will have a more productive practice. That said, I think it's important to be constructively self-critical, and be willing to work hard on the things you are playing that are still rough. I think if you're too laid back about it, and only play things which are easy and enjoyable, then you won't progress as fast. You've got to challenge yourself. It's a different kind of enjoyment, but I get a lot of kicks out of taking something hard, and really working on it and gradually conquering that thing.

These days, a big chunk of my practice time goes to learning songs, and improving how well I can play them. When I encounter a tricky spot, I'll zoom in and practice that part by itself every day until I've got a handle on it. Those parts are my "exercises". Not that I'm against exercises. If I'm struggling with part of a song and find an exercise that hones in on the problem technique even better than working on the part itself, then I'll go for it. At the end of my practice session, I'll play the whole song I'm working in whatever state it's in. I'll use that to decide which parts I should work on improving the next day. That gives me the feedback I need to keep the practice focused on the areas that need the most work.