Practicing Guitar: A Labor of Love

“Some of us want to be the next great guitar god, some are happy just sitting at home jamming along with the radio”


Practicing is different things to different people. Some people progress faster than others. Some have as they say, a “natural gift,” while others labor away hour after hour, week after week, month by month and only progress a little at a time. But no matter what, if you want to improve and get better, you have to put the hours in and practice. Now again, this is going to be different for all of us, since some of us want to be the next great guitar god, and some of us are happy just sitting at home jamming along with the radio, creating our own melodies, or whatever. We are all on different levels due to the time we put into it. I recently asked several guitar players of various skill levels questions about their practice routines and the time they have committed sharpening their skills. Here’s what I learned….


For the most part, the professional guitar players I questioned had a few things in common. Each had put in countless hours practicing to develop their skills and style. Playing till their fingers bled (really!), playing 10+ hours a day, every day, were typical responses. Most had come up with their own unique way of practicing. Some had developed different techniques to create their own sound, while others used different tunings. Some had taken lessons early on while others did not. Most felt that they had learned much of what they knew on their own through the dedication and countless hours spent practicing. Most also started creating their own music not long after starting to play the guitar. And while these individuals no longer spend 10+ hours a day practicing, it is very typical that they spend at least a few hours daily playing/practicing. Comparing it to the need to breathe, or (something I feel myself), the days I don’t play, I feel like something was missing or out of place.


Still, others have different practice routines. Some are limited to how much time they put into practicing/playing due to, well let’s face it…. Life! We all have different priorities. Not everyone can devote 10+ hours a day into playing/practicing guitar. A couple of different players I asked told me that they practice whenever they get the chance. Which varied as much as a few times a week to maybe once a month. Weekly lessons are an avenue some take (myself included) to improve our skills. But, even with lessons, if you don’t practice what you learned, you don’t get anything out of it.


Something that nearly all of the guitar players I questioned had in common….most felt like they were never really practicing. They all had an inner passion that drove them. Some to create, some the need to express themselves. While others just wanted to be able to play their favorite songs, or maybe even just to impress the hot girl down the street! Another thing many had in common… no matter how much they practiced/learned or played, there was always going to be more to learn. Another cool riff to work out, another driving rhythm or beautiful melody to discover. Which is something you can probably say about any musical instrument. But we are guitar players. Whether or not you view it as practicing or just playing it is a labor of love…. it’s what we do!


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