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How long and how often do you practice on your guitar?


rocknrollstar

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I am curious. I used to practice a lot. In the late 80's I practiced guitar every day for a good 3-4 hours minimum a day, not counting band rehearsals, gigs and jams. Mostly scales, arps, timing and improv related issues etc. I was always scared that my chops would disappear over night. I had a whole bunch of guitar students, which was probably the best way of learning myself. Then the (more or less well) paid jobs started and I spent a lot of time transcribing songs and solos. At that time (early and mid 90's) the available choices of transcriptions were pretty limited. I played in a well-booked rock top 40 band and had to learn the latest Van Halen, Extreme etc. songs within 4-5 days. Very effective way to tweak your ears. Then I got into original bands and worked on guitar & song arrangements. We rehearsed 6 times a week and that was a cool way to build your chops, too. In the late 90's I got into songwriting and played a lot of acoustic guitar, but also spend hours and hours on lyric writing...

The electric guitars started to get somewhat dusty and rusty in their cases.

Today I am going back and forth between different things I do on my guitars. They are always related to what I have to do. If there is a gig, I concentrate on getting my time chops polished, for a little studio session, I try to refresh some styles and so on...

One thing I noticed, it gets harder to motivate yourself to practice but at the same time, after all those years, it usually only takes about a week or two, to be back at an acceptable level. - acceptable - not the best I ever used to be :-(

 

But there are things (beside your chops) like: "how" you play, "attitude", being loose, focusing on the song etc that I tried to achieve many years ago, that just happen by itself today - without even trying hard...

 

I am curious, what is your story?

There is no cure for GAS!

 

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I've been playing since the 1960s, and these days I pretty much do not play at all unless I have a reason to do so. Writing a song, or the mood hits me, or I'm off to a gig of some sort (I really just go and jam mostly, maybe once or twice a month, but I have hit the stage a few times this year, too.)

 

This looseness probably started when I got hurt and could not play. More than anything, I'm more sloppy than I might like.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I play every day, but I have no idea for how long, whenever I feel like it, I pick it up and then I put it down when I want. This happens throughout the entire day. If I had to guess, I say in the 3-4 hour range.

 

And the strangest part is, I don't necessarily practice anything. I just let me fingers wander around the fretboard while I'll watch TV or something. When I want to learn a song, I'll do it and then I'll just fall back into mindless noodling. I don't practice scales, chord progressions or anything, just songs and noodling.

 

While most people do this as a casual hobby or other reasons, I can't avoid it, I have to play every day. One of my friend's asked me about it and I told them not playing guitar would be their equivalent of forgetting to eat. Some people go out and have a good time, do drugs, play video games, etc. Guitar is my form of escapism, and I absolutely love it.

Never argue with an idiot. They'll bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

 

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FWIW, I posted this in a recent, somewhat related thread:

 

Here's what I do on a regular basis.

Daily, there's not really enough time for me to do everything I'd like, so I divide my time per week.

Some days it's voice (which can--& should-- be practiced with other instruments but also deserves it's own focus [*]), somedays keyboards, somedays guitar, somedays other things. Those rotate.

Each day's divided into an early morning & late afternoon/early evening period.

You don't really want to get into marathons; they have limited effect over just 1/2 hour or hour sessions. When you are learning things, a few times through them, repeated often is better than a long set of repetitions.

 

I start the mornings with free-form improv to take advantage of mental & physical "freshness" & to loosen up.

That's followed by fingering but on the guitar I try some exercises learned from a Matt Blackett article, which have to do with both gently warming up & forcing new uses of fretting fingers.

[see this thread for the exercises]

https://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1973981/Interesting_guitarist_exercise#Post1973981

 

 

After that I play a song I'm familiar with but do so with as much expression as I can muster...but I do it as a performance, i.e., I don't start over if I feel something could be better.

Sometimes learning can be helped by focusing on fragments but sometimes that can be a distraction from continuity.

I never play anything more than twice per session; if it needs more improvement, too much repetition means I'm likely to "learn my mistakes".

 

In evenings I work on learning new things; new music or techniques & reading.

Brain studies suggest that most of us learn better when new things are closely followed by sleep, which gives the brain oportunity to review the new knowledge.

So each day's a mix of pure play, refinement & working on something new.

 

Of course everyone has their own preferences & even if there might be an advantage to doing things one way or another, whether as suggested here or by a player in GP, etc., things only work for us if we're comfortable leaning in that manner.

 

I would suggest, though, that while long term goals are good b/c learning's a lifelong activity, that one make sure that they don't let things be put off.

Every day should take you a little way into something new.

 

[*]BTW, nothing will better ingrain your relative pitch sense than singing along with what you play...& I'm beginning to think that it's the trick in developing one's neglected absolute pitch sense, as well.

 

Here's the thread to which I referred:

"What's your 10 year plan for improving ?"

https://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2099549/Re_What_s_your_10_year_vision_#Post2099549

 

d=halfnote
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Practice?....What is this practice of which you speak?

 

All joking aside, my time for music is so limited right now that when I pick up one of my guitars I am either trying to write a song or record a song. My chops are nowhere near where they were when I was playing in bands back in the day (not that they were ever that great. I only considered my self "adequate" for the types of music I played).

 

Thankfully, I have been able to overcome the degradation of my guitar playing skills through the wonderful technology of digital editing. :thu:

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"Work hard. Rock hard. Eat hard. Sleep hard. Grow big. Wear glasses if you need 'em."-The Webb Wilder Credo-

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Between guitar and bass, I'd say I pick up an instrument almost every day for a couple hours a day. But like some have said, most of it isn't necessarily practicing, it's just noodling around on the fretboard while I watch tv, wait for dinner to cook, clothes to dry, etc.

 

Honest to goodness practice? Maybe an hour or two a week. I want to do more but I get distracted easily :)

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Practice?....What is this practice of which you speak?

 

All joking aside, my time for music is so limited right now that when I pick up one of my guitars I am either trying to write a song or record a song. My chops are nowhere near where they were when I was playing in bands back in the day (not that they were ever that great. I only considered my self "adequate" for the types of music I played).

 

Thankfully, I have been able to overcome the degradation of my guitar playing skills through the wonderful technology of digital editing. :thu:

 

What I am finding, now that I need to learn cover songs, is that I am not as fast to pick it up as I used to be. It used to be that I was kinda 'plugged in' to whatever anyone else was playing, and I could absorb and remember a recorded tune very quickly. Now, it is work, and it is obvious to me that if I am going to learn this handful of tunes that I want to learn, I am going to have to sit down and practice them. What a revoltin' development.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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My chops are nowhere near where they were when I was playing in bands back in the day

 

I know exactly what you are talking about.

 

But I noticed on the contrary, that "being musical" and "forgetting about the pressure to impress other people" is a nice thing that comes with age. Even if my chops are not what they used to be, I enjoy playing for the music' sake even more.

There is no cure for GAS!

 

www.customguitarvideo.com | The finest Custom Electric, Acoustic and Archtop Guitar related video entertainment on the web. And it's FREE!

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I don't practice anymore, when I was into making myself into a rock star, I practiced 4 hours a day by myself doing scales and other exercises, and I jammed with others in the evenings. Since my arthritis has taken over my hands, I have decided playing guitar is now just an infrequent hobby. I do have an appointment with my wrist doctor two Thursdays from now to see what can be done about it. Even if I do get some relief, I think my hard practicing days are over.
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I just play, everyday... and time evaporates. Of course, if I have something else to do I get particularly inspired. I had an early meeting the other day but stayed up too late the night before getting down the solo to Kid Charlemagne by Steely Dan for some reason. It was fun.
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I play everyday, but mostly mandolin, and try to get in at least half an hour of serious practice on flute everyday. I can honestly say I do so 5 days out of 7, and sometimes an hour or two...

 

I still play guitar in a church band, quite simple material mostly. But it keeps me in shape as far as playing with other people.

 

Last night I played with a good friend that I was in a short-lived band with... a good guitar player who wants to keep getting better. It was cool to run through jazz and bluegrass tunes, things we never get to do on stage... stuff that's challenging, in other words. This does more to inspire me to practice than anything else... "let me work on this or that tune for the next time we play together" even if we never play it on stage, which of course is the goal.

 

I don't find the concept of running through the same scales over and over for hours with a metronome very entertaining, just to be able to impress other guitarists with how fast I am. I'd rather work on actual MUSIC, yes with a metronome at times.

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I'm 21 actually.

 

edit: after saying this, i really feel like i have to defend myself for some reason ahahaha. Forgive me.

 

Personally I know how far I've gone, but in retaliation to one of the above posters, I practice my ass off for the music, not for onstage gratification/musical masturbation. I'll spend 60 hours in a week just working on a single Bach movement or arranging some Albeniz piece, and feel like I'm still not done refining myself.

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What I am finding, now that I need to learn cover songs, is that I am not as fast to pick it up as I used to be. It used to be that I was kinda 'plugged in' to whatever anyone else was playing, and I could absorb and remember a recorded tune very quickly. Now, it is work, and it is obvious to me that if I am going to learn this handful of tunes that I want to learn, I am going to have to sit down and practice them. What a revoltin' development.

 

I think the key to this dilemma is actually focusing not on learning specific songs as much as learning the (gosh this is gonnas sound so offensive, even though I respect Bill as much as anyone) "the sound of music", that is, the most common harmonic schtick & variations.

 

My point is that the more one hears the sound of intervals & their combinations, the less there's any real difference in particular songs.

 

It took me years (decades) before I came to this way of thinking, & I'm hardly masterful at it, but that's really the key to catching the wave that cats like Paul Schaffer, etc., ride.

 

As Eric I (& some others) have suggested, the practicing of scales, etc., is not the end in itself as much as the practice of music & how those scales/harmonies are used.

Even more is the hearing & recognition of the sounds, not the finger patterns.

 

d=halfnote
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"I think the key to this dilemma is actually focusing not on learning specific songs as much as learning the (gosh this is gonnas sound so offensive, even though I respect Bill as much as anyone) "the sound of music", that is, the most common harmonic schtick & variations."

 

Yeah, that is what I was saying... I used to have that 'naturally', probably because I played all the time and listened to all the popular music, and was a 'hired gun'.... I'd get calls to fill in with bands because I could pretty much play anything that I could hear in my head. And that probably was because of the similarities that you speak of.

 

But I got away from that aspect of the business, and I just assumed that this talent was mine. And it ain't. Clearly, it was learned,clearly because I was doing what i was doing at the time. Years of not doing that, and now I have to think about it.

 

I intentionally tried to divorce myself from other music, working on my own. I even forced myself to write songs in my head, without a guitar in my hand, to keep myself from playing the SOS. Then I'd go to the guitar, and force myself to learn that song in my head as I used to learn other peoples songs... again, not allowing myself to drop into those comfortable old chords and keys. This was pretty cool, and kinda hard sometimes.

 

Anyway, for me, once I reached a level of proficiency, I needed to do that as a writer. It has helped the writing, but not helped the 'ear'.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Oh, Bill, you know that all it takes is exercising those skills again. :D

 

yeah, I know... (sigh...)

 

It wasn't that long ago that we walked into a club where a guy was playing from a book of music on stage... I was being a 'hired gun' again, briefly... and the bass player looked at the guy with the book and said, "Hey, you've got a fake book! Thats cool." then, after a pause..., "We've got Bill." Made me feel good when I heard that. Now???? oh, I'd be in trouble.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I have always thought that as an amatuer that an hour a day should give you slow and steady improvement. Of course it's easy to get sidetracked and that hour a day becomes 1/2 hour 4 days a week. I have rededicated my self to 2-3 hours a day and even after 35 years of playing it seems I am showing some marked improvement. You have to have some flexibility though. I have to mix trying to maintain a modest classical repertoire with improvising and composing. With somewhat of an ADD personality, I can't just do one thing for weeks, months, and years on end.
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Practice is wonderful, and can help you to become a guitar god. But what I think is more important is to play with your friends. Then, everybody grows, and learns how to interact. You gotta practice so that you don't suck. But in the long run, more players get work because of their timing ad ability to fit in and make room for other players, than because they burn down the stage every time they take a solo. Might not be fair, but there it is.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I try to play an hour or two a day. It depends, sometimes more, sometimes less. At the times the regular responsibilities of life get in the way. I mostly fingerpick so i like to warm up working scales, right tone, and the correct finger movement before moving onto pieces.

 

Anton

Easy Guitar Songs at Rhythmstrummer.com A fun and supportive place to learn guitar.
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Practice is wonderful, and can help you to become a guitar god. But what I think is more important is to play with your friends. Then, everybody grows, and learns how to interact. You gotta practice so that you don't suck. But in the long run, more players get work because of their timing ad ability to fit in and make room for other players, than because they burn down the stage every time they take a solo. Might not be fair, but there it is.

 

Playing with good musicians is far more rewarding than recording alone at home. I chose the latter and it got so stale It reeked of boredom. But I remember back in the late 60's and 70's when I jammed at every opportunity with other good players. It was a gas, something I missed in these later years.

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Playing with good musicians is far more rewarding than recording alone at home. I chose the latter and it got so stale It reeked of boredom. But I remember back in the late 60's and 70's when I jammed at every opportunity with other good players. It was a gas, something I missed in these later years.

 

That was the thrust of Welcome Home Studios. A comfortable, homey place where real musicians played real music in real time. I had been early to the game on the MIDI thing and had enough corporate work to pay the freight, so expanding the space to accommodate my wants (wanting to play with a bunch of live musicians again) was a possibility. I can make money in isolation, but one of the real joys for me in playing, is the interaction. Plus, you grow better and faster with outside influences.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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