With as many guitarists as there are these days, it takes that special few who can stand out of the crowd. It is what they do and get accomplished during their practice time that truly matters and is the key to success. You must have some sort of plan that will help you to achieve your goals. No matter if you are having a hard time finding a huge amount of time to dedicate to playing, it is quality of time then quantity of time that really is the kicker. There are ten keys to balancing your practice time. None of them are any more or less important that the others.



  • Practice scales
  • arpeggios
  • modes
  • vibrato
  • legato
  • slides
  • muting
  • string skipping
  • pedal points
  • picking blends
  • chromatics
  • endurance
  • picking techniques
  • picking and plucking
  • using both hands efficiently, and even more.

These get your fingers and hands limber, not to mention make you a much better guitarist. Always remember to use a metronome.




  • Make sure to practice 3 string triads
  • open 4th, 5th, 6th, string and barred chords
  • 7th chords
  • jazz chords
  • tone chords
  • chord extensions
  • and inversions.

These will help make you a stronger player no matter if you only have 10-15 minutes per day of time on your hands.



  • Use the musical alphabet, string names, and sharps and flats to find notes.
  • Work on memorizing the 3 reference points on each string. These are the open string, tuning fret, and octave fret.
  • Play your chord progression while saying the root note out loud as you play.
  • Do the same thing for power chords.

This is a great way to utilize the time you do have to practice and make sure you have memorized the basics.




Remember it is not how much you practice as much as it is what you practice. There are plenty of musicians who so-called practice 12 hours per day and never learn a thing. This means that they are not really focusing and learning anything, just strumming the guitar.

Part of practicing is learning new material while refining the things you already have learned. When you are messing around and not focused you spend hours strumming away some riff without ever accomplishing anything.


Focus is the key to a good practice session. Always use your metronome, even if you think you do not need one or hate them. You will get used to it and it will be your best friend. It keeps a constant time and you can set it for as slow or fast as you would like. Try practicing a song extremely fast, then extremely slow. You will find that the slower you play the more challenging it will be. This will allow you to perfect a song slowly so that when you do speed up you will be less likely to make mistakes. This type of learning is quick and more thorough. You will have note separation and better tone this will build speed behind your technique.

If you are having trouble when learning new material do not keep re-starting the song. Pick out the spots you are having issue with and practice them slowly. Once you feel confident that you know this part better play the song again. Do this for all trouble spots and you will save yourself some serious frustration. Sometimes you will find it more effective to break new material down in to time frames and play one block at a time. The human brain can only focus for so long on the same task. Use a timer and set it for no more than 15 minutes to practice any one section.


It is very important to take a day off each week from playing at all. This gives you time to refresh and keeps you from burning out. It does not matter if you only practice 15-30 minutes a day. One full day off will allow you to go back to your routine and be more clear and focused.


A common problem for the beginner guitarist is forgetting to breathe. This will not make you play better. The more oxygen you get to your brain while practicing the more you will learn and retain. Make sure to breathe while practicing. If you find yourself too tense due to frustration, get up and walk away for 5-15 minutes so you can relax.


Another common complaint is about wrist and finger pains and cramping. Always do stretching and exercises before sitting down to play. These will help loosen up the joints, muscles, and tendons. It will also help increase circulation to your fingers, which will also cut down on finger cramping.


Remember that playing the guitar is a whole body experience and you need to warm up much like an athlete would before practicing or a game. Stretch your back, your neck, your arms, your wrists, and your fingers. Warm up not using the guitar so that you are ready to sit a play comfortably and get the most out of your practice time.