11 Golden Guitar Practice Tips for Ultra Productive Training Sessions

Hey good people! My name is Alon, I'm 27 and I play mainly the guitar, piano and harmonica. In the last few years, I traveled through four different continents with my guitar while teaching music. Currently, I am based in sunny Tel Aviv, Israel. The GuitarHippies mission: To get you to enjoy your musical journeys to the fullest. Cheers! Do you want to improve your song-playing, and always play smoothly and confidently? Join 11K+ successful guitarists:

Hey everybody! So whether you have structured a full guitar daily practice routine to improve quickly or whether you just love practicing guitar in your room, these following guitar practice tips are assured to help you get to the next level. Use them and you will gain some massive benefits to your guitar skills.

I honed these tips over more than a year of regular structured daily practicing and I hope they will give you the same benefits they gave me. Here they are:

guitar practice tips

The Top 11 Guitar Practice Tips, Enjoy:

1 – Only Practice Songs and Exercises That You LOVE!

Remember that your practice time should be fun if you want this habit to last for a long time, so make sure to only practice songs that you love and only do exercises you enjoy. If it’s boring – switch things around! Don’t bother yourself with things you do not enjoy to the fullest, life is just too short for that. Especially when it comes to your guitar time – it should be all about the fun.

There are bazillions of songs and exercises to practice out there. If you’re not having fun it just means you’re just not picking up the right ones!

2 – Use a Drum Machine App – You’ll Feel Like There’s a Drummer Backing You Up While Massively Improving Your Time-Keeping Skills

This is by far the one tip that got my practice sessions way more fun and also way more productive!

Metronomes used to be the key to practice solid time keeping skills, but since metronomes are boring and since we are now in 2016, we now have much better options:

A drum machine app like “Beats Plus” (Android / iPhone) is a key in getting you to play smoothly and with accurate time skills which are easily one of the most important things in achieving a solid & fluent sound. This will differentiate your sound from most of the other amateurs who never put time into honing their time skills. With a simple drum machine app, we can actually feel like we have a private drummer accompanying us in our room.

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It’s also a great way to funk up a lot of our favorite songs by playing along to new and surprising drum patterns.

best guitar apps musician

Drum Beats+ is my favorite drum app. They have a free version and also a paid one that has even more beats.

For more useful guitar apps check out this post: The 13 Best Guitar Apps That You Will ACTUALLY USE In 2016.

3 – Be Your Own Teacher

No one will keep track of your routine besides yourself, so take charge, feel and know when to change things around, speed things up, tweak exercises to your needs if you feel you’ve grown on them, and push yourself to the max! No one knows yourself and your improvement curve better than yourself, so be independent and proactive, and you’ll get far with your music!

Riffs and solos sound totally different on a twelver. Check out the video to have a listen

Having fun is number one on the list for a reason. When you’re having fun and you enjoy picking up the guitar – improvement will come easily!

4 – Get All Your Capos, Picks and Other Accessories Ready Beforehand

Make sure that you get all the accessories you might need right next to you before you even pick up the guitar, this way you won’t get lazy when it comes time to play that song that sounds much better with a capo on the 4th fret, and your practice time will be richer!

One of my relaxed practice sessions at home on a Saturday afternoon.

One of my relaxed practice sessions at home on a Saturday afternoon.

5 – Keep Your Training Plan on a Note or a Smartphone Note to Stay Focused

When you have a structure plan – this is a great way to always stay focused, don’t just randomly go into the practice room without knowing what you’re going to work on today. Have an agenda! Use this article if you want to figure out an excellent exercises list to implement to your daily practice routine.

guitar practice

An example of a guitar practice list of exercises on my smartphone note

6 – Use a Timer

This will apply only if you use a structured practice routine. Well, I refuse to practice without a timer. That’s what keeps me focused when I dedicate time to my regular routine. Since my routine currently involves 8 different things that I work on daily, I dedicate exactly 5 minutes to each one so I will not get carried away with any specific one and lose time for the others.

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When I start, I set my timer on, and when it sets off I go directly to the next exercise. That’s how I am maintaining constant improvement in all the areas I’ve chosen to focus on.

Sometimes I take this practicing thing a bit too far till it starts aching... In the pic - 12 string calluses.

Sometimes, with practice, you might get these funny lines on your fingers… I’m sure you noticed. (-: In the picture: my12 string double calluses.

7 – Practice While Standing

Do that at least 10% of the times. Playing while standing is more challenging no matter how you try to turn it around. It’s mostly because of the angles that put your hands in a less comfortable position to reach the fretboard. More challenging also means more rewarding and you will slowly find that playing the guitar both while standing or sitting will become easier.

Moreover, on the first times I was on stage (where you’ll usually play while standing) I did not realize why suddenly it was much harder to play than how I was used to from practicing. The reason was that I never practiced while standing. YOU can prevent this from happening to you! So do it and I assure you will witness your improvement curve becoming tighter.

8 – Keep Scrabbling Things Around

Scrabble the exercises around at least three times a week – Start your routine from the last exercise. Start from the middle. Scrabble it all up just randomly… Scrabble things around to keep your creative flame going and avoid falling into a boring rut.

The only rule you can watch more closely is to keep the warm-up scales always first (or any similar warm up exercise that gets your hands going).

9 – Always Challenge Yourself

Where there is no challenge, there is no improvement. You should always feel that you are challenging yourself.  If everything is easy – you are not going anywhere.

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After every practice sesh you should be able to tell yourself exactly how today you are a better guitar player than you were yesterday.

You CAN be the guitarist of your dreams, whether it's rocking stages you're after, or just playing at home like a champ. All you need is good n' effective practice.

You CAN be the guitarist of your dreams, whether it’s rocking stages you’re after, or just playing at home like a champ. All you need is good n’ effective practice.

10 – Dump Exercises When They “Get Old”

Make sure that every month or so, if you feel like you “took advantage” enough of a certain exercise and it’s improvement curve is getting low now, make sure you fish a new cool exercise from YouTube that will be more of a help to you, and keep advancing on your merry way.

11 – Sometimes – Practice Slowwwwww

This one might be the most important one. You think that in order to play fast you need to practice fast? WRONGO. Play slow. Very slow. Like 50 BPM slow – at least 30% of the overall time of your practice. By doing that, you will achieve perfect technique and playing clarity, and get your “muscle memory” to realize “how it should be done”.

Most people don’t do it and even if they play fast, they can’t play really clean, which is what makes you sound really good – the way recording musicians sound like.

Do that regularly and you will notice a massive improvement very fast. You WILL see how you start to sound better than just about everybody around you, because most people don’t realize that or don’t have the patience it takes to practice like that. Make it your edge over everybody to improve faster!

Read inside for more details about how practicing slow will make your guitar playing crisp clean!


 

That’s it, have fun! Remember that with some practice you can get to anywhere you will set your sights to.

Thank you for reading these guitar practice tips. Rock on and peace! What is the ONE practice tip that YOU would choose to give to other guitarists? Please share it with us in the comments!

 

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11 comments for “11 Golden Guitar Practice Tips for Ultra Productive Training Sessions

  1. Rebecca
    July 13, 2016 at 4:31 AM

    These are great tips, thanks for sharing! I am a brand new beginner (only had 1 lesson so far!) and since I’m learning as an adult I’ll take all the tips I can get!

    • Alon
      July 13, 2016 at 11:32 AM

      Hey Rebecca, glad you liked the tips, enjoy!

      There are a bunch of things that might cause you to quit down the road, pay attention so they won’t get in your way with another post I wrote that you might find useful:
      http://guitarhippies.com/never-quit-guitar/

      All the best!

  2. Udoh Emmanuel
    April 17, 2016 at 10:17 AM

    Thanks Alon..it’s my 4th year of playing the guitar, and haven’t been practising standing up really, bt with your article I think I’ll jst follow your lead to improve my playing skills.. Thanks alon

    • Alon
      April 26, 2016 at 8:44 AM

      It really helps and will help you get ready for when you are on stage, which will probably be while standing.

      Have a great time Udoh!

  3. Margaret Terwilliger
    March 30, 2016 at 1:19 AM

    Thanks so much for the tips, I am looking forward to using the standing strategy and the slow playing. Good travels and jams to ya!
    Margaret

    • Alon
      April 3, 2016 at 7:39 PM

      Thanks Margaret, have a blast.

  4. kat
    February 11, 2016 at 6:03 AM

    This is great. I’m only 2 years in and have noticed my practice has slacked off. Thank you for some extra motivation.

    • Alon
      February 13, 2016 at 1:34 PM

      Cheers Kat.

  5. Peter
    February 6, 2016 at 3:08 AM

    Thank you great info

  6. José Alberto
    January 31, 2016 at 11:33 PM

    Hola!
    Me ha parecido un artículo muy sincero e interesante, realizado para ayudar a las personas que necesitan alguien que les dique lo que deben hacer.
    Muchas gracias por compartir tus conocimientos y felicidades por la web.

    • Alon
      February 2, 2016 at 6:01 PM

      Hola José! I can’t read Spanish man, but I ran what you wrote through Google Translate. Glad you found the article helpful and interesting! Thanks and have a great time practicing.

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