How Much Should I Practice Guitar?

I often get asked, “How much should I practice guitar” and “How much practice will I need to do to get good at guitar?” Everyone has their own answer for this. I find the answers most people give to be quite overwhelming. People think 2 hours every day! Or 8 hours in the weekend! And I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

My answer is this: a little each day.

I will always recommend to just pick up the guitar everyday and see what happens. Very rarely will you do less than 5 minutes of playing… It’s more likely you’ll play for 5-15 minutes if you’re not feeling that inspired or have to go and do something else. Some days you’ll be inspired and an hour or two will just disappear in a blissful meditative way. But you’ll never know until you start. Just pick it up and tinker away… You just might have the most enjoyable few minutes of the day.

guitar on guitar stand

Where do you keep your guitar? Is it tucked away in its case, or out in the open, within arms reach?

When I just started playing guitar, I was a teenage boy who was heavily into sports and solitude. My room was my haven to escape from the crazy dramatic family life I was experiencing. I had one distraction, a black and white TV. I would put the TV on and sit at the end if my bed with guitar in hand… Tinkering away on something I was learning during the add breaks mostly… But that would often turn into hours of playing as I found I would ignore the TV and get lost in my guitar. Later I would lift my head to find the show I was ‘watching’ had in fact finished.

The other great thing I did was making sure my guitar was visible and grab-able… So it was easy to just grab and play. This meant homework never got done, but that didn’t turn out so bad for me.

Is it bad to practice a structured 1-2 hours a day? No of course not. If you can do this and still love playing, then by all means do it and you will be an incredibly skilled guitarist in no time. But for most of us, we have lives and families to tend to, so be gentle on the amount of playing you expect yourself to do. Simply resolve to ‘just pick it up’ daily.

Happy practice guitar freaks!

Comments

  1. Walt

    I always have one of my guitars out and plugged into one of my amps that sit under the credenza in my home office. The only time they aren’t plugged in is when there is stormy weather i.e., lightening etc. If I’m working in my office I tend to play my guitar for about ten minutes of each hour I’m in the office which can add up during an 8 hr day. I use a very different type od stand as well which helps me prevent my guitar from tipping. Not that I think about it I’m going to unplug my guitar every time I stop playing. I find that keeping the guitar plugged in makes it more prone to tipping due to getting the cord tangled up in my feet. I also find that shorter cords are better in cramped quarters.

  2. JC

    I am lucky enough to have a little office room, my acoustic hanging on the wall, and my electric on a stand plugged to the amp. I practice everyday unless i am away from home. I lately bought a book (Guitar Aerobics) and i have been sticking at it since – 1 exercise a day – but i always recap some of the previous exercises too), this takes about 10 to 15 mins. THen i will practice some piece of songs that i am learning, i am not yet good enough to pick up the guitar and just play and jam without looking at materials. The main thing is really to enjoy, and i really do. Only downside is the other half not being too happy when i spend too much time locked in my room (I just can’t see the time flying, swear to god)

  3. Michael

    I keep mine acoustic and electric on stands in library off garage so when I have free time waiting for the wife I play

  4. Ron Heuvelink

    You are so right. I keep mine in my sun room easily accessible any time I feel like practising or even bored with the tv. This way I get at least two hours practise a day and Im not tired from it

  5. Jeff

    When I started 9 months ago, I had read a similar blog post, so I bought a stand…which are not expensive BTW. It’s the best invesent I made…makes it so accessible. It makes it so easy to grab, and then sit and watch TV while noodling with a new chord or chord progression. The same number of minutes or hours pass, but I’m doing something very constructive with that “tube” time too!

  6. Johan

    Hey Mark,

    What do you think about the Maton M225? Is it a good instrument?

    1. Mark McKenzie Post author

      Hey Johan, I’m no gear expert and I haven’t tried that guitar out, but I can honestly say I’ve never played on a bad Maton guitar. So it’s probably good.

  7. Joe Mc Donald (Ireland)

    Yes leaving the guitar visible makes it easier to practice. I leave mine plugged into the amp with the headphones and when after mealte I just switch on the amp and ready to go. But it’s true that some evenings and even weekends work or family or even DIY repairs or maintenance around the house will stop you picking it up. I try to get back to it as soon as I can. Having the guitar where you can see it makes you want to get back practicing, it’s in the corner saying please come play me.

  8. Thomas Michaud

    Wow… I guess I’ve been taking it for granted but I wouldn’t think of putting my guitar(s) out of sight. Good reminder. Thanks.

  9. Doug

    Right on the money. My acoustic sits on my couch. I find I pick it it up way more often than if it were tucked away somewhere. And it happens just like you say..I’ll start tinkering and the next thing I know a couple of hours have gone by.

  10. Geoff

    Agree 100%. My guitar is on a stand in the living room, easily reached and fun to “play with” for 5 mins or 40 mins. Still learning but practice makes learning sink in. Cheers from Oz

  11. Mike

    I’d have to agree with you about having the guitar visible and handy. In the bad old day’s I had the classical in the spare room tucked away and there would be weeks at a time when I wouldn’t even think about it.

    Fast forward a couple of years and I have the acoustic in the living room and an electric by my desk at work (with out the amp I can take it to a meeting room and play and not disturb anyone else). I’m picking up a guitar 3 or 4 times a day for 10 minutes or so. Then I get one out again for singing the kids to sleep.

    With the guitars being right there, it’s hard not to pick them up and the progress because of this has been astounding.

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