I noticed something strange about my playing. If I play, say, for only an hour a day my playing improves at a much faster rate than If I play for hours on end. Is this maybe a case of information overload? Is it something to do with muscle memory and letting the brain process a certain amount of info at a time. I know it may sound stupid because I hear that all the greats basically fell asleep playing. Just want to know what you all think.
Diminishing returns. Increased practice at one time leads to decreased returns- takes more energy to do the same things, fatigue, increased chance of injury, etc.

My guitar skills are eh, but my experience with running distance is that, after a certain point, every extra mile I run after a certain point does increasingly less to assist me and more to risk injury.
I think so.
First of all, you just overload yourself practicing for hours on end. Personally, I'm much more productive doing 3 sessions (5 max) lasting about half an hour (on the best days), than playing 5 or 6 hours straight.

You just burn out, mentally, and physically.
Pick flowers not fights.
Make love not war.
Drop acid not bombs.

To me, you cant. But really, yeah you can. It's where the strings of your guitar cut into your fingertips.

Seriously, I've made up a kick-ass solo in about 30 minutes of me starting to practice and then an hour later I couldnt do squat.

So yeah, it happens.
What are you practicing? Triads? Scales? Modes? Patterns? Alternate picking? Tapping? Sweeps?

If you're doing excercises, you're just building up your finger strength, you can't have too much of that.
There's a point where your brain can't process any more new information and whatever you practice from that point, you'll start getting worse.
Besides being a guitar player, I'm a big fan of the guitar. I love that damn instrument. Steve Vai

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Yes, you can. I know I improve a lot more in a day just by sitting doing exercises for about half an hour with a metronome, then doing something completely different for a bit. Like watching TV or lifting, or something other than playing, then I can practice for about an hour and a half just random runs and songs and things like that before I just want another break. My breaks don't have to be long, sometime just walking to the fridge and getting a drink is nice though.

But when your fingers start bleeding (mine have before, for some reason I thought if I continuously played for like 5 hours strait I'd improve... No...) then that's generally it for the day. Seriously, that's not good, especially if your strings are old and rusted. You do not want rust in your bloodstream.
If you're bleeding you're playing too hard XD

How do you think people have 5 hour concerts =p
i think for some people this is true..but for me i can pratice for hours on end..it all depends how im feeling..like sometimes i'll pick up my guitar and feel like i dont want to play..so i dont...i never force myself to play...but every day thers a time where i say...i want to play guitar lol..and sometimes if i get into it enough ill practice a few hours..and every day i usually try to practice 2 hours on week days..and around 4 on weekends..so it all depends really on who you are...but it is possible
like many said here already, its best to do a few 30 minutes sessions and take a break when needed. however, my first semester in college i would skip class and practice guitar for 10 or more hours a day. I improved tremendously, however it caused me to fail out of my dream music school. so i dont recommend that.
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Chea_man is the best.
It depends on what you're doings.

In practicing you could also realize that you're doing something wrong, or you could be doing something that puts less physical stress on your hands and doesn't frustrate you. It's the difference between learning new modes and chords and learning a new song. I wouldn't suggest anyone push themselves too much to become good. I've seen posts on here of people who have practice routines where they do x things for x hours and it amazes me that they're still playing. The greats who fell asleep playing loved the guitar so much that it became their TV, their internet, it was their main source of entertainment. I could imagine most of that time they spent playing was just dicking around, not doing chromatics all over the fretboard to develop speed.
Quote by nan0
If you're bleeding you're playing too hard XD

How do you think people have 5 hour concerts =p

hes talking about practice, man.
not the gig, we talkin bout practice. ...PRACTICE man.
i mean its not the gig...its practice. its just practice. PRACTICE.
(if you dont get it, its a michael vick reference)

anyway, if you practice the same things for hours, you will definitely get better,
i know from experience

but if you keep throwing new stuff at your brain for hours and hours, it will get pissed off at ya

Heres the thing, there is a limit to how much you should practice.
But there is no limit to how much you should play
points to consider when practicing:

1) Your hand shape
2) Your pick style
3) If your method causes pains, and aches etc.
4) If you are doing it right

Also when you practice for a long time, hours on end, you become lazy, and tend to slack off with your playing which doesn't exactly help. If you practice a short period of time, say an hour or less you play accurately, sharply and you remember it better because you know it sounded good. If you played crappy you will try to forget it, you don't want to play it over.

Remember one thing, the human mind is a wonderful, strange, yet so smart and peculiar thing
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=When the going gets tough, the tough get going=