Problems with my practice routine

Hi everyone, I’m new here and I’d like to ask for your help.

As the titlee says I have problems with my practice routine. I’ll summarise my situation and problem:

I’m 33 and I play the guitar since I was 20 years. I studied harmony for three years, but sadly I didn’t have the opportunity to practice the guitar seriously for my work, personal issues, etc. 3 years ago I decided to take the guitar seriously and to improve my technique, so I got some books to achieve my goal, but I failed.

This last year I decided to follow a practice routine, and I used the book “Speed guitar mechanics for Lead guitar by Troy Stetina”. The routine that I followed was:

  • 10 minutes - warm up “first five exercises from troy’s book”
  • 20 minutes - picking technique (I took an exercised from troy’s book and practiced it for one week, I practiced slowy first and then up the speed gradually)
  • 20 minutes - learn new scales, arpeggios, intervals, etc
  • 20 minutes - Learn jazz strumming patters.

After one year, my technique is the same, I couldn’t learn any song, and I’m frustrated. I’m still using troy’s book 'cause I know that many people used it and got good results. In view of this situation, I changed my routine for this one:

  • 10 minutes - warm up “first five exercises from troy’s book”
  • 20 minutes picking exercises: (instead of practicing just one exercise for 20 minutes, I decided to practice four different exercises in this 20 minutes. I practice each one for 5 minutes)
  • 20 minutes - studyng time to learn the book “Guitar Secrets: Harmonic Minor Revealed by Don mock”
  • 20 minutes - Repeating again the first picking exercises that I did in the first 20 minutes.

After three months of follogin this new routine I can say that I’m in the same situation. In this last three years I have tried everything:

  • To play slow and then gradually up the speed.
  • To play moderately fast and take care of my technique.
  • To sing the exercises that I was playing.
  • To used a classical position to hold the guitar.

In this moment I can play the exercises from this book at 110 bpm withtout problems, but when I try to play them at 125 bpm or more I begin to play sloopy and to feel tension in my foream and wrist.

What do you think? I’d like to complete these two books and play them at a decent speed (Speed Mechanics For Lead Guitar And Guitar Secrets: Harmonic Minor Revealed). What is the best routine for someone who only have 1 hour per day to practice???

Thanks you all for your time and consideration, I’ll appreciate any kind of help that you could give me.


Why not get the best teacher in your area?

I live in a little town in this moment, and my city has a lack of good guitar teachers.

Do you have a particular song that you want to master that would not have too many technical barriers to mastery? Why not do repertoire for a bit and see what happens?

I tried to learn some Led Zeppelin songs, but my technique wasn’t enough to play the solos correctly. My dream is to play at least some Yngwie Malmsteen songs in the future.

Hey, welcome, thanks for joining! If you do a forum search for “practice routine” and similar terms, you’ll find lots of discussions on this sort of thing, definitely a topic of interest to many here.

I think the short story is there’s quite a bit of variation in how folks structure their practice, and lots that can work depending on your current goals, technique, etc. But also some principles that can be useful for everyone, like mixing things up, taking breaks, and experimenting with a range of technical variables (grips, arm positions, motions, etc.)

One important thing we’ve come to realize is there are activities that get lumped under the umbrella of “practice” that are actually very different. For example the process of motor learning / skill acquisition of learning a new technique is very different from learning a new song with a technique you’re already comfortable with.

Lots of discussion here as well about speed, and we definitely have some thoughts about e.g. why “start slow and speed up gradually” may not be the best approach for learning a new technique; see:

If you’re stuck on technique and not happy with your current picking motion, I’d suggest going through the Primer and experimenting with the motions; we have some pretty detailed tutorials. Different combinations of grips, wrist and forearm motion — see if one combination feels more natural and see if you can do at higher speeds, even if sloppy.

We’re generally big on experimentation, particularly for technique learning, and as musical stuff goes, working on whatever sort of thing you’re most interested in actually playing, more so than particular drills / exercises.

I’d give the motion tutorials a try and see if those are helpful. You’re also welcome to post a video for feedback on your technique! See:


Thanks for your time and help. I’ll study these videos in depth.