Guitar|
Legato| Picking| Practice

JJDoge’s Daily Guitar Practice Routine

JJDoge
Difficulty: Intermediate

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Practice makes perfect

This 1 hour guitar workout has exercises for all the basic techniques in playing. The idea is to go through each of the examples for 5 minutes at a time.

At the beginning, it’s important to learn to play the patterns. Start slowly and work your way up to faster tempos.

Practice consistently and increase the speed on your metronome as you go (increasing by 2-4 BPM each week works for me). 90 BPM is a good starting point. 120 BPM is already blistering fast.

Speed should always be accompanied by accuracy. It’s more important to be able to play the examples clean and accurately than blistering fast.

Example 1
Warming up

The warm up pattern you’ve probably already seen a million times. The reason you’ve seen it so often is because it really does the trick.

This particular pattern is from John Petrucci’s Rock Discipline. Use all four of your fingers and strict alternate picking on this one.

Example 2
Alternate picking 1 - Starting with a downstroke

A basic alternate picking exercise where you play the same shape with three different picking patterns. This exercise builds control in your playing.

Start with a downstroke and go through the whole exercise with strict alternate picking. 

Example 3
Alternate picking 2 - Starting with an upstroke

The same shape and picking pattern as the previous exercise, just start with an upstroke.

Practicing alternate picking starting with an upstroke can be challenging at first but will increase the agility of your picking hand and develop your “freedom of playing”.

Example 4
Economy picking

Economy vs. alternate picking? Well to be honest I see no need to compare the two different picking methods as they are used for different purposes.

I find that practicing economy picking also develops a certain kind of freedom in your playing that compliments the alternate picking technique.

If you’re new to economy picking, this exercise is a good starting point.

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Tip

Don’t have a metronome? Just Google “metronome” and you’ll get one in the search results page. I use it all the time!

Example 5
Alternate picking 3

Another alternate picking exercise. Start with a downstroke and strict alternate picking throughout the pattern.

Break the pattern up into small chunks if you have difficulties with any of the sections.

Example 6
Legato 1

This is a Paul Gilbert inspired legato exercise. Follow the picking patterns shown in the tabs. This kind of picking is commonly called “outside picking” meaning that on the low strings you use a downstroke and on the high strings an upstroke.

Start slow and nail the string skipping before attempting to play at higher speeds.

Note; don’t pick the first note on the first bar when the pattern is looped (this is not depicted in the tab).

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Tip

Increase the speed of your metronome by small increments of 2 to 4 bpm every week.

When practicing, the key isn’t to be as fast as possible but rather to be as accurate as possible.

Example 7
Alternate picking 4

A classic pentatonic shred pattern played with strict alternate picking.

Example 8
Sweep picking

A Michael Romeo inspired sweep picking exercise. Start by learning the different shapes; practice them individually first if needed.

The key to making sweeps sound good is playing them as clean as possible. Like with all the other exercises, start slow and increase speed gradually.

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Tip

My daily practice routine consists of several alternate picking exercises. Practicing alternate picking is a very efficient way to develop control in your playing.

Example 9
Legato and tapping

A Michael Romeo inspired legato and tapping exercise. It may seem intimidating at first but it’s really not that bad.

Break the exercise up into two separate patterns. When you’ve got both patterns down practice the transition from the lower shape to the higher shape.

Example 10
Legato 2

A Paul Gilbert pattern that works as a perfect exercise for legato and picking. Use pull-offs on the high notes and pick the lower ones.

Use the fingering shown in the tab. When looping the exercise the transition from the last notes to the first pull-offs can be tricky (it’s quite a leap). Start slow and you’ll have it down in no time.

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Tip

Your fretting hand should always be as relaxed as possible when playing. A relaxed and light touch will allow you to play faster in the long run.

Example 11
Alternate, sweep & tapping combo

All in one. This exercise incorporates alternate picking, sweep picking, legato and tapping in to one pattern. Break it up in to pieces and start very slow.

Example 12
Alternate picking 5

I like to incorporate licks from songs i’m practicing in to my daily practice routine. This alternate picking run is from Alexi Laiho’s solo in Passage To The Fourth World by Sinergy.

Watch the full cover here!

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Tip

Practicing consistently is the key to developing your skills. Try to get at least an hour of practicing each day.

What works for me is waking up a bit earlier than normal and going through the practice routine first thing in the morning after waking up. This way I can spend the evening learning songs, jamming and composing.

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JJDoge’s Daily Guitar Practice Routine

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