I've been playing since 16 I am now 28. Mostly on and off for the last 8 years but have decided that guitar is apart of me and I want to continue.

I am trying to devise a 60-90 minute everyday practice routine and am wondering what should actually be in it, what is essential what is not essential, what will make me better?

Today is the start:

-10 minutes pinch harmonics, because I can't hit them clean or at consistent volume
-10 minutes 1234 exercise just for finger strength
-10 minutes stamina. I try to play master of puppets, I fail I play Want You Bad by the Offspring and generally just try to flog my forearm as much as possible playing as fast and as clean as I can for 10 minutes to try and build some stamina.
-10 minutes of legato this was bad, I am bad at legato it's something to work on
-Tapping see above, I am self taught I just don't get it man am I mean't to hammer with my index finger or press and pull off with my index finger, is finger 1 anchored or is it coming in from the air who knows.
-Sweep picking. I can sweep pick 765 roll my index finger off and a barre chord sometimes, this is last for a reason tbh. It's hard it's going nowhere etc etc

I want to add chords in there somewhere. What are common chord progressions. I can play all the chords major and minor however B gives me some trouble. I also don't know any notes so I randomly cycle between B D a random barre chord whatever I feel like. I would like to practice common chord progression so it is more useful and in tune. I can play barre chords comfortably anywhere, I don't use them much though. I like punk rock the best & metal and rock & I almost never learn any songs, infact the only thing I do is crap around for the last 8 years and hence the decision to undertake a routine.

I tried to understand keys once but without knowing the notes it proved impossible and felt like I was being consigned to 'that guy' that just plays C5 and G5 all day every song, every riff.

I want to be the best guitarist I can be, BUT punk rock is my favorite thing to play and metal but obviously I can't get near the vast majority of those solos.

I haven't improvrd in 8 years and would like to start improving going to dedicate 60-90 mins a day all I can do with everything else, hit me with ideas /anything
That seems too rigid to me, but I don't know...

I just practice songs I find interesting, sometimes I do the technique perfectly, and sometimes I do not. i learned technique as I hit a song that uses a particular technique. Though I am not saying this is the best way to practice, but it worked ok for me I guess...

I would suggest playing with backing tracks. You'd be amazed at how you can suddenly come up with so many more tunes and how your playing improves I think. Plus it's way more fun to play music than to repeatedly do practice routines.

It is much harder to play without a backing track, and here is the key (no pun intended), since almost everything a guitarist plays in real life would normally have drums or some backing, then you really don't need to develop that perfect timing and playing ability with no backing track on (sure it helps, but this is art, not science).

Learning the fret board isn't the most important thing, you can learn phrasing and stay in key purely by ear without knowing all the notes on the fret board.

Also, I don't understand why some try to memorize so many scales, when you can just open up a scale chart in front of you and experiment by looking at it in real-time, then when a certain scale sounds good over a backing track, you use that. That's what I do and I have written some decent solo's with that technique.

I mean once you learn all those notes, then what?

Now we know how some patterns are arranged, but I don't think most of us that play solo's at least think in terms of patterns or notes, rather we think in terms of melodies and harmonization to the key by ear.

I think what you have to remember is that at your level, it's not realistic to try to improvise on the fly anyhow. I can improvise on the fly sometimes, but it's easy to make mistakes.

Play over the same backing track repeatedly until you know which notes fit, then you don't even care about scales, you can play any order of those notes that are in key, and you're pretty much limitless to where you can go with it.

Unless you are a natural composer and have a lot of songs in your head, then you might find that more important than knowing all the notes is just knowing some basic box pattern scales at different positions on the fret board.

That is unless you want to get super fancy and do scales that go all the way up and down the fret board, but then that is just knowing more complete forms of the scale in different keys.

Furthermore, I probably play within a lot more scales than I actually know. Hence, at any point on the fret board, I usually know which surrounding notes will match up (but not always).
Last edited by coderguy at Sep 11, 2014,
To sum it up:

If you only practice a "practice routine" instead of actual music, the only thing you will master is the practice routine
Seems like a very good routine for developing technique and muscle memory in the areas you want to improve upon. If you're after other ideas to mix it up a bit you could add in some alternate finger 'trilling' drills and string skipping arpeggios. Also mix the 1234 exercise up with 135, 134 etc. Try combining these with some of the legato exercises to assist with soloing fluidity.

Definitely jam with tracks and push yourself beyond your ability but also don't be afraid to practice slowly and accurately using a click.
Charvel DX-1 FR / DS-1 ST / DC-1 FR / Custom Strat / La Patrie Hybrid CW / Vypyr 30 / VK100 / 1960A
I think that having a practice routine is psychologically unsustainable. You will at some point get bored with playing the same techniques over and over again. I would also try and set a lower minimum time of practice, say 30 minutes per day. After that minimum you can practice as much as you want, but I find that this strategy is better for embedding long-term habits.

Content-wise you know best what you like and what you want to learn, so use that. And most importantly, have fun with it!

Best of luck to you!
I wrote a short ebook on constructing an effective practice regime. The starting point has to be where do you want to take your playing? Identify a small number of the most important area and commit to a quota of weekly practice on specific exercises.