Practicing/Playing 12 hours a day

Discuss playing styles and techniques, or share your own here.
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Nick Barnes
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:19 pm

This is my first post. Sorry it is long, I just wanted to be clear and it's about practicing so hopefully I get lots of responses!

I have wanted to ask this question to a community of guitar shredders for some time now, and it is about amazing guitarists who practiced all day long honing their skills.

I am very cautious and I take breaks when I need them, and just listen to music or sight read or something. But I do time my practice sessions (I'm kinda ocd) and separate from listening to music and singing, I usually spend 8-10 hours a day with my guitar: practicing techniques, learning standard jazz tunes, learning rock songs and transcribing solos and learning by ear, and just jamming.

I bring this up because I am not just doing radical intense technical stuff for 8 hours like some guys.

And my question is to those guys!

I am always getting pains someplace or another, right forearm or left index finger or something, and I then take it easy and ice and listen to music and it usually feels better the next day or maybe the day after, but frequently there is something little annoying that hurts and its pretty freaking annoying when you just want to get better. It is especially annoying because I am not just doing technical stuff all day, and I know there are people who do that and are fine.

How the hell did Steve Via practice for 15 hours a day? How did Yngwie play for like 12-18 hours, staying up all night when he was in his teens over and over? Zakk Wylde said he practiced 10 hours a day, staying up all night throughout high school. My friend is a jazz monster and told me causally that during breaks and summer he just wakes up and sheds for 15 hours every day. Is this actually possible to do without just getting injured?
I am getting more into shredding playing (Jason becker, Vai, Yngwie, etc) and I wanted to ask those guys out there who practice a ton technical stuff all day if this kind of thing is realistic or if it is exaggerated.

Thanks a bunch!!
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:49 am

There are a few things you'll want to consider when practicing/playing for long hours every day. Most professional/virtuoso musicians do these things.
Be very conscious of your practice posture. Holding the guitar in slightly awkward positions for long hours can cause discomfort. Also, make sure you breathe and relax all tension areas. Spend a little time meditating before practicing and focus on relaxation and breathing.
Another thing that leads to muscle pains is not having a consistent regimen. Try to work out a regimen that covers everything you want to do and do it at the same time every day.
Also, try not to go too fast too soon. This can lead to habitual unwanted tension while performing and muscle problems.
If you're having back issues too, try some back-specific yoga exercises. This really works.
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:50 pm

It`s going to show this is my first post, but far from it. Been around since 1996 :)

As far as the marathon 12+ hour practice days, a lot of discussion is at hand. When I was at GIT we would have hands on our instrument easily 10+ hours a day. To the point that some of us discovered spraying Chloraseptic throat spray on our fingertips would numb them enough to keep playing.

Is it necessary? For some, yes. There are people out there who can build the technical facility to play very intricate things with comparatively little effort. Since this is in fact the VAI board, I will share something I got from Steve himself: Practice as much as you are compelled to. Not everyone has it in them to sit down and work on guitar for 12 hours a day. And most of those people can go on to become extremely proficient players.

I can say this; if you were to sit down and really focus (quality of any effort is how much you can focus on it) for three hours a day CONSISTENTLY, you could and would progress fairly swiftly. The magic to it is picking it up with the intent of spending three hours GETTING BETTER, not just playing the things you`re already comfortable with.
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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:18 am

I'd say for a good 6 yrs I played 6-8 hours a day.

I also should say the first two of these- I got really good really fast- because I didn't know anyone else who played guitar- so the only people I could play with were Clapton and Hendrix (on cd's) so- I got to a good level fast.

I'd say the last 5-6 yrs haven't been spent practicing at all -I'm terrible now
But focusing on music business stuff... its paid off more than actually practicing- I got to a certain level- then its about doing something with it- doing what i want to do in it.
Nick Barnes
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:19 pm

Thanks for the replies! This past year, I have been practicing guitar 7 to 10 hours a day, sometines more. I've also been working out, and I developed tendinitis in both of my elbows. It's almost healed now, Took about a month, because I was doing some serious resting. I guess playing guitar for that many hours every day and then going and lifting weights every other day was too much on my tendons and it finally climaxed.

The guitar is the most important obviously, I am going to try to build up so that I can play hours and hours a day without it being risky. And I'm going to experiment with taking days off to just transcribe and work on ear training after a particularly hard day.
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Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2003 2:28 am

I have recently just got into Yngwie. No idea why. 37 years old and I am now completely obsessed with his music. Just bought myself an Yngwie Fender, pedal, cable, the lot.....can't get enough Yngwie....and because of that I am now playing more than ever.

It's hard to get the time to play if you've kids, a wife, etc, but I manage to try and squeeze in two hours maybe once or twice during the week then a few hours at the weekend. It's amazing the better you get. I will sit and play certain licks CONSTANTLY until i have nailed them down.

I agree with earlier post. I can't see how Yngwie managed to fit in 15 hours of play a day. I need my bed.

I've also managed to hurt my left elbow because I've been playing much longer than I ever did. I always think I could have been a much better guitarist if I'd shown that kind of commitment when I was 14! Shit!
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Big Bad Bill
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Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2003 12:40 am

Bryceybhoy wrote:I have recently just got into Yngwie.
You've only just gotten in YJM? What have you been doing all these years? :o
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