#1
Pretty much just as the title says. I would like to put more than one hour a day into my practice but I have no idea what to practice for that long. I tend to just find one thing that needs improving or whatever and just pretty much exclusively practice that for a while(currently sweep picking).

I realize that this isn't exactly the best way to practice, so any advice or help you guys can give me on putting together a practice schedule that is balanced and effective would be massively appreciated. Anything from general advice to specific licks or exercises are more than welcome.
I would especially appreciate anything that helps build speed or left/right hand sychronisation. I'm mostly trying to play metal (death, thrash melodeath etc.) solos and rhythms if that helps.

tl:dr I need more than scales to practice on a daily basis.

Thanks in advance!
Last edited by Cheeseshark at Sep 15, 2015,
#2
I've developed a single, simple practice routine that works on a lot of different things, but without actually seeing where you are at in your playing it may or may not help a lot without some guidance.

You can look at links in my sig for more info or check out www.guitarpricinples.com
#3
You could buy a guitar book with backing tracks and notes. You could try following the book for the remainder of your practice sessions. I bought a couple of books called Rock Discipline and Wild stringdom here the other day, and I can't wait to get started on them!
Last edited by NorthernLord at Sep 15, 2015,
#4
Quote by edg
I've developed a single, simple practice routine that works on a lot of different things, but without actually seeing where you are at in your playing it may or may not help a lot without some guidance.

You can look at links in my sig for more info or check out www.guitarpricinples.com


That site had a few interesting articles on it, but not much in the way of developing a practice routine. And regarding where my playing is, I would say maybe intermediate-ish. Any advice you can provide regardless of the technical difficulty would be useful.


Quote by NorthernLord
You could buy a guitar book with backing tracks and notes. You could try following the book for the remainder of your practice sessions. I bought a couple of books called Rock Discipline and Wild stringdom here the other day, and I can't wait to get started on them!


Yeah I've heard of Rock Discipline and Wild Stringdom before. But bit like I said before, I'm at best an intermediate player (damn you theory!) and John Petrucci scares me. So I'm not sure if I would be able to use the kind of stuff he would talk about in those dvds.
#5
Quote by Cheeseshark
Any advice you can provide regardless of the technical difficulty would be useful..


The main issue is really time and how badly you want it. Lots of paths will lead you to being a good player and the main differences are how long it will take you to get there. A really hard thing to understand is what is bad practicing vs what is good practicing and distinguishing between the two. That's something a really good teacher is really there for. Not learning a bunch of songs or licks or whatever. You can do most of that on your own.

All that being said, the site I gave you has the best approach to basic practice methodology and lots of really good stuff. Another wise source I found on my own path, is Kirk Lorange's Plane Talk material.
#6
Developing an effective practice routine is essential to progression on any instrument. I would, first of all, suggest the book Guitar Aerobics. This is the book I used to help shape my practice routine. The secret is being able to isolate the different techniques that are used to play the guitar.

For example, my Mondays are alternate picking days, my Tuesdays are string-skipping days, my Wednesdays are string-bending days, my Thursdays are arpeggio days, my Fridays are sweep-picking days, my Saturdays are legato days, and my Sundays are rhythm guitar days; obviously you can modify, but this is what has proven most effective for me.

I also make sure to do at least one picking hand etude (whether finger-picking or flat-picking--I like to mix it up), one chromatic scale etude, one scalar etude, and one pentatonic etude every single day. For these scale etudes, I suggest using the Guitar Grimoire series. They provide hundreds of different arpeggio, scale, and chromatic exercises.

I also like to sprinkle theory, improvisation, and transcription throughout the week as well. There are all sorts of apps available to help you practice and learn guitar theory. I use several. As for improv, find some good backing tracks and have fun! Transcription is pretty fun as well. Pick a song and mimic what you hear. It doesn't even have to be guitar--I like to transcribe trumpet and sax parts from jazz classics on the guitar. Whatever floats your boat.

And remember--none of this matters if you aren't learning new music, so always make sure that you have enough time during a practice session to learn and improve on your repertoire. After all, that's what it's all about! If you're not having fun with it, you're doing something wrong
Last edited by matthewstross at Sep 19, 2015,
#7
Breaking things up into little parts seems to be the go, this solo, that solo, this part, that scale and doing it all timed and CONSISTENTLY I am pretty sure is best.

I also struggle with routine and spend 90 minutes practicing tapping then retire for the night :|
#8
Quote by matthewstross
Developing an effective practice routine is essential to progression on any instrument. I would, first of all, suggest the book Guitar Aerobics. This is the book I used to help shape my practice routine. The secret is being able to isolate the different techniques that are used to play the guitar.

For example, my Mondays are alternate picking days, my Tuesdays are string-skipping days, my Wednesdays are string-bending days, my Thursdays are arpeggio days, my Fridays are sweep-picking days, my Saturdays are legato days, and my Sundays are rhythm guitar days; obviously you can modify, but this is what has proven most effective for me.

I also make sure to do at least one picking hand etude (whether finger-picking or flat-picking--I like to mix it up), one chromatic scale etude, one scalar etude, and one pentatonic etude every single day. For these scale etudes, I suggest using the Guitar Grimoire series. They provide hundreds of different arpeggio, scale, and chromatic exercises.

I also like to sprinkle theory, improvisation, and transcription throughout the week as well. There are all sorts of apps available to help you practice and learn guitar theory. I use several. As for improv, find some good backing tracks and have fun! Transcription is pretty fun as well. Pick a song and mimic what you hear. It doesn't even have to be guitar--I like to transcribe trumpet and sax parts from jazz classics on the guitar. Whatever floats your boat.

And remember--none of this matters if you aren't learning new music, so always make sure that you have enough time during a practice session to learn and improve on your repertoire. After all, that's what it's all about! If you're not having fun with it, you're doing something wrong

Just out of curiosity, how long do you spend on each thing? My main issue is knowing what to practice and how long to spend on each exercise.

Also would it be worth it for someone of a late beginner/early intermediate skill level to buy Rock Discipline for daily exercises? Someone mentioned it above but I don't know if I'm good enough to make use of that DVD.. I love John Petrucci's playing so it might be cool to learn from.
#9
This is an example of one of my practice routines (I use several to keep it fresh):

Daily Practice Schedule:

1. Warm-up
a. Stretching

2. Daily Etude Practice; (10-20 minutes)
a. Exercise 1 (5-10 minutes)
b. Exercise 2 (5-10 minutes)

3. Theory (Mon, Thu) (10 minutes)

4. BREAK (5 minutes)

5. Dexterity and Hand Synchronization (5-10 minutes)
a. Arpeggios (5-10 minutes)
OR
b. Chromatic Etudes (5-10 minutes)

6. Transcription (Tue, Fri) (10 minutes)

7. BREAK (5 minutes)

8. Picking Exercises (10-20 minutes)
a. Exercise 1 (5-10 minutes)
b. Exercise 2 (5-10 minutes)

9. Improvisation (Wed, Sat, Sun) (10 minutes)

10. BREAK (5 minutes)

11. Scales (20-35 minutes)
a. Modal Scale (15-25 minutes)
1. Linear (5 minutes)
2. Vertical Scale Exercise (5-10 minutes)
b. Pentatonic Scale (10-20 minutes)
1. Horizontal/Linear (5 minutes)
2. Vertical Scale Exercise (5-10)

12 .BREAK (5 minutes)

13. Technique Isolation/Review (10 minutes)

14. Repertoire

*This is what works best for me and is by no means a one-size-fits-all approach. I've found that around 5 minutes on each thing works best because I can only pay active attention for about 5 minutes before my mind begins to wander.
#10
Quote by Cheeseshark
Also would it be worth it for someone of a late beginner/early intermediate skill level to buy Rock Discipline for daily exercises? Someone mentioned it above but I don't know if I'm good enough to make use of that DVD.. I love John Petrucci's playing so it might be cool to learn from.


Hmmm. I can't imagine that it would hurt. Even if the etudes are too complicated, it can teach you a different approach to guitar playing, or show you another way to think about a problem.
#11
Quote by matthewstross
This is an example of one of my practice routines (I use several to keep it fresh):

Daily Practice Schedule:

1. Warm-up
a. Stretching

2. Daily Etude Practice; (10-20 minutes)
a. Exercise 1 (5-10 minutes)
b. Exercise 2 (5-10 minutes)

3. Theory (Mon, Thu) (10 minutes)

4. BREAK (5 minutes)

5. Dexterity and Hand Synchronization (5-10 minutes)
a. Arpeggios (5-10 minutes)
OR
b. Chromatic Etudes (5-10 minutes)

6. Transcription (Tue, Fri) (10 minutes)

7. BREAK (5 minutes)

8. Picking Exercises (10-20 minutes)
a. Exercise 1 (5-10 minutes)
b. Exercise 2 (5-10 minutes)

9. Improvisation (Wed, Sat, Sun) (10 minutes)

10. BREAK (5 minutes)

11. Scales (20-35 minutes)
a. Modal Scale (15-25 minutes)
1. Linear (5 minutes)
2. Vertical Scale Exercise (5-10 minutes)
b. Pentatonic Scale (10-20 minutes)
1. Horizontal/Linear (5 minutes)
2. Vertical Scale Exercise (5-10)

12 .BREAK (5 minutes)

13. Technique Isolation/Review (10 minutes)

14. Repertoire

*This is what works best for me and is by no means a one-size-fits-all approach. I've found that around 5 minutes on each thing works best because I can only pay active attention for about 5 minutes before my mind begins to wander.


This does kinda help, thanks. I was thinking of putting together a practice routine that stays consistent throughout each day and just covers whatever I want to improve at the time (alternate picking, legato, sweep picking, scales, left hand/right hand strength and coordination etc.).

And my idea was to just try and practice each thing from 30 minutes to an hour each day. I would love to practice 6 hours a day but I'm not sure if I can be that diligent with practice. I've found that I can practice one thing for 30 minutes to an hour at a time, so it might be worth a shot.

Even if i could do that, I would need to make time for learning some Metallica or something else fun so I don't burn out. But I think it would be best to start smaller and slowly increase the practice time once I'm sure I can handle it. Is this reaching way too far? I would love your guys thoughts.

Quote by matthewstross
Hmmm. I can't imagine that it would hurt. Even if the etudes are too complicated, it can teach you a different approach to guitar playing, or show you another way to think about a problem.

Right, I think I'll get it then. Worst case scenario: I have to wait a while to use it. Thanks.
Last edited by Cheeseshark at Sep 20, 2015,
#12
There is something to be said for consistency in its own right, but make sure your practice sessions don't feel too stale and boring. If anything can kill motivation for practice, its that.

If you have enough time to practice each thing for 30 minutes and can do so while paying active attention, go for it. But this is what I've found: like I said, I can't pay active attention for more than 5 minutes. I can force myself to practice something for longer periods of time, but it does no good. Only practice something as long as you can ACTIVELY pay attention.

I will say this as well: in my own experience, practicing any more than about 2-3 hours a day can be disruptive to one's personal life. Practice is important. No doubt. But if you're not making time to live life, build relationships, and experience things like joy, sadness, pain, ecstasy, etc., from where else are you deriving your musical inspiration? This aspect of your guitar playing journey is just as important.

6 hours, in my opinion and personal experience, is also a little unrealistic. Unless you're a professional guitar player of sorts, this much practice is just out of the question sometimes. Generally, I shoot for an hour to two hours per day, but I also have contingency practice schedules for 1 hour, 30 minutes, and 10 minutes, because as a law student, life can get hectic, and a little practice is better than none at all. Make sure your practice schedule is something that you can actually maintain, because that will help you develop effective practice habits. If you're setting unrealistic goals, you're only setting yourself up for failure. Start small. Make a 30 minute practice schedule that covers all your basics. Then an hour-long one. Then a two-hour one, etc. If you have a bunch of different schedules with respect to lengths of time, it helps you be more flexible.
#13
Quote by matthewstross
There is something to be said for consistency in its own right, but make sure your practice sessions don't feel too stale and boring. If anything can kill motivation for practice, its that.

If you have enough time to practice each thing for 30 minutes and can do so while paying active attention, go for it. But this is what I've found: like I said, I can't pay active attention for more than 5 minutes. I can force myself to practice something for longer periods of time, but it does no good. Only practice something as long as you can ACTIVELY pay attention.

I will say this as well: in my own experience, practicing any more than about 2-3 hours a day can be disruptive to one's personal life. Practice is important. No doubt. But if you're not making time to live life, build relationships, and experience things like joy, sadness, pain, ecstasy, etc., from where else are you deriving your musical inspiration? This aspect of your guitar playing journey is just as important.

6 hours, in my opinion and personal experience, is also a little unrealistic. Unless you're a professional guitar player of sorts, this much practice is just out of the question sometimes. Generally, I shoot for an hour to two hours per day, but I also have contingency practice schedules for 1 hour, 30 minutes, and 10 minutes, because as a law student, life can get hectic, and a little practice is better than none at all. Make sure your practice schedule is something that you can actually maintain, because that will help you develop effective practice habits. If you're setting unrealistic goals, you're only setting yourself up for failure. Start small. Make a 30 minute practice schedule that covers all your basics. Then an hour-long one. Then a two-hour one, etc. If you have a bunch of different schedules with respect to lengths of time, it helps you be more flexible.


Yeah, I totally get that 6 hours is more than I can probably realistically do. I tend to get overly excited and try to bite off more than I can chew with this stuff. Though to be honest I do have enough time for that, but focusing that long sounds very difficult. Thanks for the advice!
#14
Well, what you need, for what you want, is to develop your dexterity. Your timing should come with the dexterity. So, that means just practicing scales, and arpeggios, and stuff like that.

That's the general. You want to have ability x, so you need to practice ability x. But in practicing ability x, there are lots of little things, little aspects to it that you need to work on. Maybe you only need to work your pinky, or ring finger to get one speed down. So, you would do a drill for the ring finger.

All you want to do is one thing, so that would mean just practice dexterity all the time, and what are the best drills depends on you specifically, and where your weaknesses currently are.

In general though, practice routines are more sort of "1hr dexterity; 1hr learning a song; 1hr some aspect of theory; songwriting" stuff like that.

All you have in your list as a goal is dexterity right now. Except for soloing, so, I would add some soloing over backing tracks to your routine probably. The way you do it makes a difference though.

To really help you out properly, I'd need to give you personal attention.

If you are properly focused on smaller goals, 3hours will disappear so quickly. a 6 hour guitar day is not so bad. 2 sessions of 3 hours, or 3 sessions of 2 hours. 6 hours straight is another story though.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Sep 21, 2015,