… for normal people.
The October 2007 issue of Guitar World includes Steve Vai’s famous 10-Hour Guitar Workout. This is the stuff of legend–first featured in 1990 and reprinted many times since, this is the latest incarnation for a new generation of players. It’s a great regimen, and he provides plenty of tabbed-out drills to go through. I once put in a 6-hour practice session during the summertime when I had nothing else to do. So how the hell does one even pretend to try to even ATTEMPT a 10-hour session? Is this just for guitar-geeks and wannabe-virtuosos? (The answer is no, by the way. Even if you’re into country or jazz, you’ll get plenty out of this workout…)
After picking up this issue I decided to give it another go, but seeing as though I have a 9-5 plus other post-work activities (like eating dinner) I had some decisions to make. I found that the trick is to only apply one recommended “hour” of practice per weekday. These should be the linear picking, angular picking, and stretching exercises. This is because they don’t require a lot of creative effort to execute–it’s just training your fingers. So this is ideal at the end of a long day.
The ideal breakdown, to me anyway, is: Monday: 1 hour of technical exercises. Tuesday: 1 hour of scales. Wednesday: 1 hour of chords. Thursday: 1 hour of technical (again). Friday: 2 hours of scales AND chords (usually you have more time to play with on Fridays). Saturday and Sunday should be spend warming up with the previous exercises, and leaving the remaining 4 1/2 hours to jamming, writing, applying theory, learning songs etc… You’ll find that spreading out Vai’s guitar workout over a week will still yield amazing results. Definitely better than practicing songs you already know for the millionth time…