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PRACTICE GUIDELINES

How much time do you think you need to spend practicing ??? Regardless of whether you want to be the best guitar player in the world or just jam with friends in the garage, your practice time should always be as productive as possible. Set aside a minimum of 30 minutes a day to practice,and try to ensure that you are not interrupted during your practice period. Don't spend time going over the things you know so much as improving your weaknesses or things you don't know. If you really don't feel like practicing or just aren't in the mood give it a break for a day or two you will not achieve anything by forcing yourself to practice.

Allow some time during your practice period to simply explore the instrument, experiment, make up chords or just use your imagination to make something up, some of the best songs have come about by just doodling around and then expanding on the original idea. Try writing your ideas down or at least tape them if you like them, usually these themes & ideas just evaporate never to be repeated unless you have some method of recording or remembering them.

Why are guitar players notoriously bad sight readers ???
The guitar is a difficult instrument to learn how to read music, knowing just where to play a piece of music can be very confusing. For instance the open "E" on the first string can also be played on the 5th fret on the 2nd string or the 9th fret on the 3rd string etc. The only way to master reading on the guitar is to concentrate on one position at a time and learn it thoroughly before moving on to the next position. Refer to Sight Reading in different positions.

The other aspect of practice is listening. Try and play along with your favourite CD's , copy riffs and try and work out what the scales, key centers and chords are of the music you are listening to. I know that I've learnt a lot by working out different solo's from various guitar players and especially when I try and write them down. You can see the logic behind the music when you can see the notes on paper and the rhythmic patterns that are created.

You have probably noticed by now that there is no mention of Guitar Tab in this site, well my real feeling is that Guitar Tab is not as productive as actually learning the notes and reading music. I have never seen the point in reading Tab for a number of reasons:

  1. Instead of reading Tab to work out solos try using your ear, even if it means listening to the solo a hundred times, you will eventually work out what the soloist is doing or a close approximation at least. This ear training is essential, and the more you do the easier it gets.
  2. When you are writing a new song how are you going to communicate your ideas to the rest of the band ? It is very slow going when you have to teach each player their part instead of handing them the music even in rough draft form.
  3. The long term benefits of being able to read music, far outweigh the short term gains of reading Tab. Tab is Guitar specific , no other instrument can relate to it, whereas a written score can be understood by all the players.
  4. There are already many sites covering this topic.

This is only my opinion, for many players Tab provides a quick way to learn new riffs and songs. It's up to YOU .