Tom Morello practised 8 hours per day when he was younger.
But Steve Vai practised about 9 hours per day.
Nah, no way.
But I think Slash practised roughly 27 hours per day.
WHAT!? Oh man, I’m never gonna get good… *Crying sounds*
We’ve all heard the tales of how these great guitarists practised all day, every day once upon a time.
But for most of us, practising that much just seems as impossible as getting a good night’s sleep.
So to help you with that, in this post I’ll be going over how many hours you should practice guitar each day to get good.
I’ll also tell you my experience with practising 9+ hours a day, whether it’s worth it, and how you could do it too.
Let’s roll the tape.
What’s the Optimum Amount You Should Practice Per Day?
The answer to this question is kinda dependent on the genre you play. Pop music will have fewer areas to master than metal, for example.
But as an overarching estimate for most genres, I’d say you should practice 3-5 hours a day of guitar if you want to get good reasonably quickly.
If you want to do more, then that’s awesome, but it won’t be easy. (I’ll tell you how to achieve upwards of 6 hours a day practice later)
Less is also fine, we all have busy lives. Just bear in mind that things may take a little longer, and ensure that your practice time is super productive and focussed.
The key thing to remember is that you shouldn’t just practice longer for the sake of it. Do stuff in each of those hours to make them productive.
If you’re just practising 12 hours of songs a day, then A – there’s not really much point to that, B – you’re not gonna get good any time soon, C – you’re gonna be soooooo bored.
The main point of practising more hours is that you can cover more bases and areas of guitar at the same time.
You could practice: legato, picking, sweep picking, tapping, scales, improvising, learning a solo, playing a challenging song, studying other genres and writing music all in the same day.
It would take 7-12 hours or so, but each hour has a point to it.
But if you were only practising 1 hour a day, you can still get good. You’d just have to be focussed on getting good at one or two things at a time.
What Can You Expect From Practising More?
Alright, so you’ve seen my opinion of a good amount of practice time per day to get good quickly.
But if you began to practice guitar 3-5 hours a day, or even 6-12 hours a day, what can you realistically expect?
Well, I’m sorry to break it to you kids, but just because you’ve practised for 12 hours doesn’t mean you suddenly turn into the next Eddie Van Halen.
But MAN! I so wish it did.
Like I said earlier, you aren’t gonna practice speed picking for 12 hours and become a pro speed picker by the end of the day.
You’ll be packing in lots of stuff to keep things interesting. So it may still take a few weeks to a month before you start seeing some serious results.
But when you do, you’ll realize that everything begins to fit together at the same time.
For example, if you learn speed picking, legato and all the scale positions simultaneously, things might feel quite slow in the beginning.
But you’ll actually be making progress 3x faster than anyone practising just one of those three.
Within a month of consistent practice, you’ll be able to combine these newfound skills to play rapid picking and legato licks using these scales.
And if you were to practice even more hours, you could learn other solos, practice improvisation and even having a go at writing your own solos too whilst you’re at it.
That way, you’re learning how to use these licks in a practical application too. And MAN that’s when it really starts getting fun.
How to Practise for Hours and Hours and Hours and…
Whoop! Whoop! This is the fun part that you’ve all been waiting for.
Because let me tell you this…
You ALL have the capability to practice guitar 9 hours a day.
How do I know that? Because I never thought I could, and I somehow managed.
The problem is most people – including myself nowadays – don’t have that much free time in the day.
I mean, I spend 9 hours a day writing sick as frick, ultra-amazing, out of this world content for all you lovely people out there, so practice has gotta wait sometimes.
But if everyone had 9 hours free, then you all could do it. That’s because there’s a secret strategy to practising 9+ hours of guitar a day which makes it not easy, but certainly doable:
- Make a list with stuff to practice, and allot an amount of time for each thing.
If you’ve got a list of things you want to do, you’re never sat around bored thinking about what to do next.
It also gives you a drive to get to the end and complete the list each day.
And each bit of allotted time could be from 5 minutes to 15 to 30 and even 60 minutes if you wanted.
For an example, one of my practice lists consisted of:
- Learning notes (5 mins)
- Spider exercise (20 mins)
- Arpeggios (30 mins)
- Learning a solo (35 mins)
- Vibrato + Bending (15 mins)
- Looking at myself in the mirror (4hrs 30 mins)
- Classical guitar (30 mins)
- Scales (35 mins)
- Speed picking (20 mins)
- Learning difficult songs (30 mins)
And then I’d do it all again to total 7hrs and 20 mins. If I had any spare time, I’d just practice anything else I felt like.
Should it look like this for you? Nope. Would it look like this for me now? Assuming I can now bend, hopefully not. So get creative and make it based off what you want to practice.
- Start small and build up.
If you start at 9 hours per day, it’s gonna be way too difficult, and you’re gonna give up.
So start by making a list for one ultra-productive hour. Then slowly shift it up to 2 hours, then 3, then 4, then 5, then 6… and all the way up to 999.99 hours of practice per day.
And once you get into the swing of things, you’ll find yourself hooked and wanting to practice more rather than having to force yourself.
- Get rid of the phone!
Phones are always a distraction and suck away at your attention span like a ghostbuster sucks a ghost.
Just put your phone in another room or hide it somewhere from sight, and you’ll find it much easier to focus.
My Experience of Practising 10 Hours a Day – Do I Recommend It?
Did someone order a priceless first-hand account from someone who practised 10 hours a day?
Fantastic! You’ve got one coming right up.
School had just finished for summer, and I thought, If I practice 10 hours per day for 6 weeks, then by the end of the holidays, I’m just bound to be able to shred.
So for 6 weeks I tried to avoid as much interaction with friends and family as possible, and turned into a Beast Mode Hermit.
Anything below 49 hours per week got a lethal red box. *Gasp*
But despite all these hours of guitar practice each day, it didn’t really work until a week before the end.
My downfall was that I spent so much time practising in front of the metronome like a robot, playing the same old licks again and again.
As a result, my playing never really improved because all the amazing technical skill I had developed stayed in the confines of the metronome.
In short, I was too focussed on how much I was practising, and how fast I could go, rather than actually developing my playing and soloing ability.
But it was still an awesome experience, I’d feel so proud at the end of each day.
Plus, now I’ve got bragging rights that I once practised 11hrs 30 mins in a single day.
And that makes me feel cool.
Closing Tips for Practising Guitar More
If you are practising just for the sake of doing more hours, then there’s no point to practising more.
So it’s important to have a specific end goal to strive towards. E.g. Learning an epic solo that you think sounds awesome, or being able to spin off killer picking licks in your improv easily.
Maybe your goal is even to see how many people you can annoy in one day by playing Stairway to Heaven, and set a new world record or something.
Not to blow my own trumpet, but that’s a really epic idea. Someone should definitely do that.
My second ultra-amazing tip is to get a balance between practising and playing.
Believe it or not, practising 10 hours a day can still be fun…
Ha! Yeah, right!
Shush, I’m trying to persuade them to practise more here…
Wooo! 10 hours a day, yeah!
But Kiko Loureiro always preaches the practising vs. playing thing, and I think it’s a cool idea.
You have practising – which is the time spent perfecting technique, analysing your playing and gaining speed with a metronome.
And you have playing – which is time spent using the skills you’ve just practised, in a song or improvisation.
If you only practice, it’s gonna get robotic and boring.
But if you only play, then you’re never gonna improve.
That’s why you should always practice with the end goal being to play.
Wrapping It Up
There we have it. We’ve established that you should to practice at least 24 hours a day and have hair like Slash to get good at guitar.
But you can also get good at any area of guitar you want with just 1 hour of practice a day.
Just the more you practice, the more well-rounded and capable a guitarist you will be.
You’ll also have the time to start piecing stuff together, and be able to call upon your insane shredding skills at any given moment.
And who doesn’t want that?
I’ve been Sam Olverson,
Have fun practising!