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If You Think You Know How to Practice, Practice This

Apr 24, 2008
I don't think there is any mystery to practicing the guitar. If you surf the internet for tips on "how to practice the guitar", than you might get dizzy. The amount of websites gracing us with their special practice methods on how to shred or play like Jimi Hendrix in 2 weeks is overwhelming and confusing, to say the least.

Do you think that any of the great guitarists, athletes or actors just woke up one day and had these super human skills? Probably not. Talent level aside. Simply put, all elite guitarists, athletes, etc. do have a few things in common even if their abilities differ somewhat. Practice. Hit the grindstone, go to the woodshed.

They work, or to be more precise, practice, practice and more practice. One grows by increasing knowledge input at a slow pace, while practicing each piece of knowledge until perfect. It is not a competition or race, so no matter how long it takes to master something, keep practicing until it is mastered. Enjoy the experience. It's not that bad!

Logically speaking, of course, we recommend starting with easy learnable assignments. Mastering an assignment builds happiness and confidence. These are two essential ingredients to success. You must enjoy your chosen art, in this case the guitar, and you must build confidence.

Michael Jordan was the greatest talent in basketball, ever. You may not want to believe it, but it's true. He also had a reputation as the most intensely ferocious person on court during practice. He always pushed the other team mates too the limit. It made them better too.

What do you think Steve Vai did all day while developing into one of the greatest guitarists ever. Steve(Vai is obviously a genius and graduate of The Berklee School of Music. If you could ask Frank Zappa about Steve Vai's intelligence level, assuming he was alive. Vai was transcribing music for Zappa when Vai was fourteen years old). What do you think he would say?

That being said, the most important part of practicing is having the time and desire to go over certain pieces of musical information until you get it. It is a discipline that requires lots of practice time. It's comical to even think of practicing during a recital or gig or basketball game. Gametime, recital time or gig time is time when you play by instinct. No practicing at those times. Period.

My point is that a lot of time is going to be consumed practicing the guitar. I read (and saved it, but can't find it) a reprint of a Stevie Vai practice session in Guitar World about 2 years ago. It was a ten (10) hour/per day practice. Broken down into steps, from warming up through different left and right hand techniques and exercises, to the mental part of transforming it into muscle memory.

Without complications I hope to have conveyed to you in this article that in order to be a top-notch guitar player, be prepared to do it the old fashioned way. Lots of practice. There is no magic formula, unless you are a Voodoochild, or went to the Crossroads to get on your knees!

Enjoy
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