Guitar practice routine
Schedule it.

Your habits make your life. Your daily guitar practice routine is a habit that can make your abilities as a guitarist grow amazingly fast or take years and not make any considerable progress at all.

It doesn't happen by itself. You have to schedule your practice time.

Practice does not make perfect. I can practice slamming my foot into a door. This will not make me a better guitarist. Seems pretty obvious doesn't it?

In the same way practicing the wrong thing or the same thing that you already know over and over will not make you a better guitarist. That does not lead to progress in your guitar playing abilities.

In order to make progress, you need an effective, synergistic routine schedule leading to your next goal as a guitarist.

Guitar practice routine schedule - How to practice guitar effectively.

The perfect guitar practice routine schedule should contain the proper ratio of:

1. Exercises for hand strength and flexibility

2. General knowledge of and building of skills in fundamentals,

3. Review of fundamentals

4. Learning of new techniques and practice of those new skills so that they become second nature.

5. Building of your song repertoire.

6. Jamming.

7. Performance.

Guitar practice tips.

Guitar Practice Routine - Suggested areas of concentration.

1. Exercises for hand strength and flexibility

This should be scheduled as part of your warm-up routine.

Playing guitar has been described as being a finger acrobat. The finger flexibility and strength of a great guitar like Steve Vai is truly remarkable.

For every other activity that takes that much dexterity, there is usually a very vigorous workout routine that goes along with the activity or sport.

What is usually recommended for guitarists? Fretboard exercises.

While that is helpful there are several ways to get the hands in addition to those to get your hands in top condition.

I own and highly recommend several very helpful pieces of hand workout equipment and several courses on the subject.

Have they made a difference? Yes, I am very satisfied with the results.

Quicker fingers, faster playing, more endurance, more accuracy, less pain. Ya, It's worth it.

I have a page on this site that covers that area. I highly recommend having a regular hand workout routine. Here is the link to that page.

2. General knowledge of and building of skills in fundamentals

Any guitar practice routine should include not only learning but practicing those fundamentals till you are unconsciously competent in those skills.

Chuck Berry knew what he was talking about. Johnny B. Goode could play a guitar like ringing a bell So can Chuck. So should you.

The sign of a true master is effortless performance.

1. Correct Posture and Technique

2. Basic knowledge of the guitar and how it works and how to tune it.

3. Chords - Basic chord shapes and how they work up and down the neck.

4. Fretboard knowledge. Know where the notes are on any string location on the guitar. Within seconds, so you can use the knowledge on the spot.

5. Scales and modes - These you learn as you go on. The pentatonic and blues scales are the easiest place to start.

3. Review of fundamentals

If you don't use it - You will lose it.

Schedule review time every day.

You have probably seen at least one movie where the coach gets totally disgusted with his team and has them out on the field or the ice practicing fundamentals till they lose their lunch.

Don't let it get to that point. Just review them enough to stay sharp.

It's not unusual for jazz players that are really good to practice scales for 4 hours a day. Now that's dedication

Fretboard knowledge is very important to keep sharp too.

I'm not saying that is how much to practice scales, but it wouldn't hurt in the beginning.

Once you get them down just do a review every once in awhile and stay sharp.

4. Learning of new techniques and practice of those new skills so that they become second nature.

This is a list of the important techniques that you should be practicing every day. One or two at a time. Include them in your schedule every day and practice them till you can do them in your sleep.

Alternate Picking


Double Stops

Finger Picking


Harmonics - Pinch

Harmonics - Natural

Hybrid Picking


Palm Muting



Sweep Picking



5. Building of your song repertoire.

All the scales, finger exercises and techniques in the world will not impress anyone until they are put to work in a song.

That means the complete song. A riff or two is not enough.Lots of people do that.

The way Paul McCartney joined the Beatles is that he knew Twenty Flight Rock all the way to - the complete song. 

So if it worked for him - it could work for you. Right?

Shoot for a nice round number of songs - how about 60?

6. Jamming

So once you get a technique or riff down now its time to have some fun with it. Practice using it and make it your own by playing with a recording or drum machine.

What do you need to jam? Well, there is a couple of ways to go.

1. Backing tracks - rhythm, drums, and backing music.

2. Record your own rhythm and chord changes.

3. Use a drum machine.

7. Performance

Performance as a guitar practice routine?

Yes, you need to practice in front of an audience of some kind.

Time to take it to the world.

Now the World might just be your cat. Just don't count on the cat to hang around if it's an electric guitar.

Seriously you need to get in front of people. No, substitute. Your family is a good place to start, maybe.

Ya, you can start there but they will probably be too nice. You need to get in front of somebody that is going to give some feedback.

Just don't put your pearls before swine too fast. Try for some constructive feedback from someone who has done this before.

Find some guitar players that are better than you and ask their opinion.

Finally find yourself a band and go for it. Yes, that is still part of a guitar practice routine.

Actually the guitar is a lifestyle. You have to live it.

Take it to the world.

Roy Barnett

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