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.


Welcome to GuitarCardio.com

Hi. I’m Brad Heintz, author & proprietor of GuitarCardio.com.

I play the guitar. Like pretty much everyone else who plays the guitar, I have to practice or I start to suck – my fingers get slow and clumsy, and playing the music becomes about making sure my fingers are in the right places instead of feeling what I’m doing.

Like most people who have to practice at something, I found that the practice & warm-up part of my routine got stale pretty quickly, and that I was just running through the same scales again and again, not really stretching my finger skills or my knowledge of music theory.

I’m also a software engineer. And like most software engineers, my first approach to a problem – any problem – is to try to write a solution.

Thus was born GuitarCardio.com, the practice tool that keeps my practice sessions and warm-ups fresh and challenging. I tell it what keys I want to work in, what scales I want to practice, and how hard I want the exercise to be, and I get a customized practice regimen on the spot. I’m pretty pleased with it – it’s done a tremendous job of scratching my particular itch, and I’ve put it on the web to see if it can’t maybe help someone else as well.

It’s a work in progress (and on the web, what isn’t?), and I’ll be adding more scale types and new drills and hopefully down the road I might even get to features like ear training and throwing in a bulit-in metronome and whatnot. For now, though, it’s helping me keep my practice sessions real and pushing me in ways I wasn’t pushing myself – and the process of making software that automatically generates scales has been an education in itself.

If you play guitar, I invite you to try it out, and visit me back here at the blog to share what you thought was good about it, and what you thought was missing.

Keep up the practice!