What Do You Do for Practice?

I wrote GuitarCardio.com to help me with a problem of my own – I wanted faster and more accurate fingering, and as a secondary emphasis I wanted to increase my knowledge of scales.

But scale-based fingering drills are not the only thing I do to practice. I also work on songs, solos, and riffs that I find fun or challenging.

What I’m most interested in right now, though, is what you – the random web surfer or GuitarCardio.com user – do to improve your guitar skills. What keeps your practice sessions fresh? Do you always warm up with the same song? What’s the most useful thing you would share with a new player? If you’re a guitar teacher, what exercises do you recommend/assign to your students?

Leave your answers in the comments, and I’ll highlight popular exercises and variations on them in future posts.

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12 comments ↓

#1 Lisa on 07.09.08 at 11:25 pm

I think you should include some sort of metronome audio file for the exercises. That’d be very useful.

#2 Brad on 07.10.08 at 6:50 am

Lisa – Yeah, an integrated metronome is on the feature list for the future – though I was thinking it might be a tiny Flash application that let you adjust the tempo easily.

Thanks for the feedback – the more people I hear from about stuff like this, the easier it is to see what’s important to do next.

#3 Larry on 07.10.08 at 7:50 am

First, love the program. Been working with it a couple of days and it’s great. One suggestion/feature request would be to incorporate more of of the fingerboard with the exercises.
For Example, I was working the exercises in the key of G under difficult and all of them were within first or second position never really getting past the 5th fret. Would love to work on scale patterns higher up.
Another thing I would like to see is to save some of my preferences so I don’t have to uncheck/recheck selections every time I visit.
Thanks again for this useful tool. I’m going to write about it on my blog soon.

thanks, Larry McDowell

#4 Brad on 07.10.08 at 7:57 am

Larry – I’m definitely going to be introducing more scale patterns. To start with, I only used the most common ones.

Thanks for the feedback on saving preferences – user profiles with individual preferences are already slated for the next revision. No date on when I’ll release that yet, but I’ll be posting about it here as I make progress.

And thanks for the blog linkage – I’m grateful you think enough of what I’ve made to put it in front of your readers.

Hope to see you back soon!

#5 Steelbender on 07.10.08 at 10:36 am

Hey,

Thanks for the very useful website. What a great find this was. One thing I do to keep things ‘fresh’ is to play along with a drum machine or backing tracks.

SB

#6 Brad on 07.10.08 at 5:00 pm

SB – Great idea – keeping up with an outside rhythm makes for a more realistic practice. One thing I’m hearing a lot is that people would like a built-in metronome – it sounds like that might be a good fit for your practice style, too.

Thanks for the kind words, and I hope to see you back.

#7 Alex on 07.12.08 at 1:40 pm

Fantastic Site! Found it using Stumble Upon! I actually made it my homepage to get me to warm-up everyday. I’m not sure if someone has mentioned this/how feasible this is, but perhaps adding an mp3 track of each exercise? It would definitely help with ear training and coloration techniques! Keep up the great work!

Alex

#8 Josh on 07.13.08 at 5:43 am

I generally play a few of the songs that I’ve written for my band, then try to work on some new riffs. And now it also involves going through a few of these exercises to warm up with and improve my speed.

#9 Brad on 07.13.08 at 9:23 am

Alex – I’ve thought of adding audio, but that might wait a little while, since adding multimedia to a site can drastically alter how responsive the site is. It’s a feature I’d like to add, but I’m going to take the time to do it right.

Josh – I’m glad to hear you’ve added GC to your toolbox! On speed, the best advice I ever got was that “speed is a by-product of accuracy”. It’s tough advice for me to follow, but if I catch myself blasting through an exercise, I’ll slow down a little and really pay attention to clear tone and keeping a consistent rhythm.

Thanks for visiting, guys, and keep coming back!

#10 Matt on 07.13.08 at 12:31 pm

One finger exercise I always do for warming up:

1-2-1-3-1-4
2-3-2-4-2-1
3-4-3-1-3-2
4-1-4-2-4-3

Basically, put 4 fingers down on adjacent frets, and try to keep the first finger on the fretboard at all times. It’s a great “every combination” left-hand exercise, and I do it up and down the fretboard, then up and down the neck.

#11 Brad on 07.13.08 at 1:22 pm

Matt – Thanks for your input – and the mention of supportive fingering is well-received.

If you try out the Quasi-Chromatic scale exercises on GuitarCardio, it won’t be precisely what you’ve described here, but on higher difficulties can give that some benefit of jumping around and working through all the finger transitions.

Come back soon!

#12 Paul Q on 08.24.08 at 7:36 pm

Hey, thanks for the site. I know it’s not complete but already the idea is sweet and I’m surprised it wasn’t created years and years ago – nice job!

For warming up, I always play “Four Horsemen” by Metallica and then a few other random songs or run a few scales if I don’t feel agile enough still.

That or get really drunk, hahaha

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