Regular Practice Regimen – Key To Learning How To Play The Guitar

There are two main elements of learning to play the guitar: Psychological and physical. Unquestionably, the most important psychological part of learning to play the guitar is personal motivation.

It doesn’t matter where you are, what kind of guitar you have, or what type of music you want to play. The question is: How bad do you want to do this? If you’re like me (and millions of other guitar players), there really wasn’t anything else I wanted to do. Or to put it another way, it was something I really, really wanted to do. Therefore, my motivation was self-generated and nothing could distract, obstruct, or discourage me from obtaining the level where I could say with confidence, “I’m a guitar player.”

Steve Vai recently shared his 5 Tips for Young Guitarists with the readers of Music Radar. Can you guess his number 1 tip?

“Whatever you do – whether you have to change the batteries in your stomp box, whether you have to talk to attorneys or managers, if you’re deciding how you’re going to make a record or how you’re going to make a living – all that stuff is important, but it’s not of absolute importance. What’s of absolute importance is the quality of your inspiration. Everything else comes from that.” [Article by Joe Bosso, March 3, 2015]

Whether you have professional aspirations or simply want to amuse yourself, if you’re just now getting started on guitar, there is good news and bad news. First, the good news. The Internet has transformed the learning process; almost everything you need to play guitar is little more than a Google search from becoming a reality. This is irrelevant to what you will do once you actually learn the instrument. You might join or form a band; you might not. Either way, in the history of time it has never been easier to find instructional materials specifically tailored to your guitar-playing needs. Just the fact that you’re reading this is an example of how far we’ve come since I began learning over 30 years ago. And like any other skill, the learning never stops.


Now, the bad news. Despite having unlimited access to learning materials, this doesn’t mean your task is going to be any easier in itself. Moreover, the most important physical aspect of learning to play the guitar is practice. This cannot be overstated. The key to your success will be your approach to and development of a practice regimen. Make no mistake about it. Learning the guitar involves a ton of (sometimes painful) practice. How good you become depends on how often and how well you practice.

Let’s hear from Steve Vai again:

“I used to divide my day into about 12 hours,” Vai told Guitar Player in 1983(!), when asked to describe his practice routine. “The first nine hours were divided into three equal sections. For the first hour, I would do a series of exercises to develop my fingering. Then I would go through all the scales and modes, and I would write synthetic scales and learn them. Then I would harmonize them and break the chords down. At the end of it all, I would just play.”

If that sounds like a lot of work, then you probably have no aspirations of reaching Steve Vai’s prowess on guitar.

If you are interested in becoming a great lead guitar player, I recommend you to check out our:


How to play your favorite songs from the 60's & 70's on the guitar


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