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I know there's a difference in the two, but as I keep track, they are combined in my book. Everyone's practice techniques are their own, what works for you, might not for me, but after all that, how much time do you give your guitar? I guess I'm also asking the non-proffessional musician's. I am playing / practicing 1.3 to 2 hours a day.

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I admire the discipline and organization that people bring to their playing and wish I could do likewise. I try to play some every day and have clearly seen improvement when I'm able to play a couple of hours for a few consecutive days. But that's pretty rare. I've come back to guitar (about a year ago) after not having played for about 40 years and not having played very much or very well before that. I enjoy doing it but find that carving out the time is a real challenge. I have the kind of job that's never really done for the day -- always something else to read, write, figure out, analyze, go over with someone, etc. My wife and dog each justifiably claim a certain amount of my time and attention. As I get older (in my 60s), I also find that getting warmed up to play is necessary -- something I never really had to do when I was younger. Now, if I've been outside or if I've even just had a big glass of iced tea, my hands stay cold until I actively warm them. Picking with cold hands doesn't work very well.

When I can find time, I love playing (flatpicking Irish traditional tunes). I probably do, on average, somewhere between 45 and 90 minutes two or three times a week. That's not enough to zoom along but, still, progress is evident, if not rapid. Getting reels past 160 bpm is still a challenge, and they really should be played considerably faster than that. I rely a lot on left hand ornamentation to add interest that my right hand is too slow to provide. This actually suits Irish music fairly well and it's not too bad a stylistic variant to play a bit more stately with rich ornamentation. When I play, I try to isolate problems and work on them or to find sections of the tune that call out for a bit more sparkle and try to find ways of adding some interest. When my fingers get tied in knots, I actually enjoy figuring out alternative fingerings that make a tough passage more accessible. Some days, if I'm whipped, I'll just noodle a bit rather than have no time at all on the instrument but more often than not, I try to focus on getting things to sound better than they do at present. This is both good and bad. It does address some problems in my playing, for sure. But I also find that I get a bit bored unless I'm on the edge of my ability level. As a result, I often add some new tune or a new twist to an old tune before I've completely nailed something down. Playing a tune a zillion times until there is never any random slip-up is something I find incredibly boring. As a result, there are the occasional clams in just about every tune I play. They're not always the same notes that I blow, but there are few duds in every one, every time. That may be the difference between a purely recreational player and a more serious guitarist, right there.

So, for a variety of reasons that I could probably remedy if I had to, my playing schedule isn't as extensive or systematic as it should be. But I'm having fun, enjoying some nice instruments, and making some progress. And those were my primary goals.
Wow! That's a great post, right there.
Makes me want to go practice and have a good glass of iced tea.
Cheers to you, devellis!
I'll second that great post! It's refreshing to here someone else talk about their "clams" and "duds". I used to worry about this alot, hearing stories from the masters who would talk about not being able to move along untill the piece they were playing came out perfect. Let's face it, most of us are not recording artists and those listening with 1/2 an ear to us play (neighbors in their yard, wife, the dog) wouldn't know a "clam" from perfection anyway. Don't missunderstand me, that's not a reason to not strive for perfection. But on those days that I have trouble holding the pick, I bring the "perfection expectation level" down a bit and play because I like to.

Monty, where you at that you want to drink a glass of iced tea? It's 20 degress here in Seattle today and expecting more snow tonight. :-)

Merry Christmas,

Dave
Heh heh...I'm in New Jersey, and right now we're under a pretty fair layer of snow & ice. But I grew up in the South, where any time is a good time for a glass of iced tea.
Monty and Dave, thanks for your kind remarks. I suspect those of us who botch a few notes here and there are more numerous among the members of this forum than those who are steady as a rock. Those folks have my respect and admiration for sure, but I doubt I'll ever get there for the reasons I mentioned above.
I try to practice as much as possible, however this is around 1-hour per day. I have just started playing about 1 year ago and rely heavily on tab with metranome. I am getting better but still a long ways to go.
Irving, I see a youngon that has to take up a good bit of time. Stick with it, never give it up, even if your playing time wittles down (your going to have your hands full of family in the years to come), BUT, 40 years from now when your my age and just ripping that guitar apart with firey speed and killer fatpickin, you'll be glad it's something you stuck with all your life!

Dave
Norman Blake has a great video/DVD out, and at the end of it, he answers the question this way: "I play every day". I used to practice exercises and technic, but I don't anymore. I try to play at least a little every day, and I'm always trying new songs and picking up new techniques. Jim C
I try to play every day, and keep guitars in three rooms in the house. On stands, ready to go. I have my an electric Paul Reed Smith and a Mesa amp, and jam twice a month with local pals. Fun and enjoyment.
Non-pro. I get up at 4:30 every day in the week and practice for an hour before I go to work. On the weekends I try to get up earlier than everyone else to go down and pick for a bit. In the weeknights I usally get to pick some more when my better half is watching something like 'American Idol', 'The Batchelor' or some other such nonsense :) Every tuesday night is usually jam night with the guys. So, I usually gt at least 10 - 15 hours a week. If I dont get to pick some every day I get grumpy.
Hello all. I'm new here. I practice/play? 1.5-2.0 hrs when I do. About 4 times/ week. Shift worker. I've been playing for about 2 yrs.

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