Top Five Items You Need To Practice Guitar

A major scale practice makes perfect.
A major scale, arpeggio, and chord

1. Tuner

To start, you need a tuner. This will help you to always sound in tune. It will be a good habit to tune-up before you practice. This habit will not only make you professional but will set your ear to noticing any discrepancies when your guitar may fall out of tune.

No matter how good you think your ear is, or whatever other tuning method you may use, a tuner will show you whether or not you are in tune.

Many different tuners are out there. From chromatic tuners, LED, strobe, analog, or digital tuners, it is important to get one.

I really liked my old analog tuners, but now I have a digital clip-on tuner. These are nice since they can go by the vibration on your instrument from being clipped onto your headstock.

2. Music Stand

To help with reading music, looking at tabs, music books, or anything printed out, you need a music stand. This will help keep whatever you need to look at, at eye level. You do not want to be looking at a sheet of music laying down on your bedside or on a chair.

This will help reduce fatigue and back and neck pain due to looking at your sheet music in an awkward and unnatural position.

I use a simple wire stand but have also used solid music stands.

3. Quiet Practice Space

This may be the obvious one. You need to find a place for yourself so that you cannot easily be bothered. If not, you may have trouble concentrating and staying focused on what you need to practice.

Practice Tip

Speaking of what to practice, if you only have an hour of practice time, having an organized practice session of goals and how long to work on each one will get you farther than just noodling around or not focused on your goals.

Divide Up What You Want To Practice

  • Before starting, take 5 minutes to play some warm-up exercises.

Say you want to practice at least four goals each practice session. If you divide your hour of practice into 15-minute sessions each day, you will get farther overtime on those four things than if you did not have a dedicated practice session.

So for example, if you only practiced one goal for an hour one session. Then the next practice session you practiced one of the other goals for an hour. And the next two days you did the same for the two other goals.

On the fifth day you go back to goal one, but find that you may have to start over since you have not been practicing the goal daily.

If you would have practiced the same goal daily for 15 minutes each day, by the time the fifth day came around you would have spent the same amount of time on the same goal.

The only difference would be that you have practiced daily and may not have to rewind or start over. You would be slowly adding to your goal, while also keeping up with it daily.

This is the way one of my instructors had told us to practice.

He said that he was not worried about the students that had to have a job while going through school, but more about the ones that did not.

I think what he was getting to was the students that had less time to practice had to focus more and use their time wisely.

Practicing in increments of 15 minutes per goal or course was a way to stay consistent and make progress.

He even suggested getting a kitchen timer and setting it to 15 minutes per goal. Then get up for a minute or two and start on the next goal.

This gave you time to come back and be able to focus more on the next goal since our minds can only think about something for so long before it starts to wander off.

I bought a windup timer from Sunbeam. Today you could easily use your cell phone as another option.

4. Recording Device

Recording your practice session or a certain portion of it would be one way to tell how you are progressing.

For example, let’s say you were practicing scales, arpeggios, or licks that you were learning, and you recorded this section of your practicing session.

You can analyze your recording. By listening to it you may discover what you may need to concentrate on more. You might not have realized it if you had not recorded yourself.

I would suggest recording your first few tries at that lick, arpeggio, or scale, and then recording a few examples towards the end of your practice session. This way you can compare the two.

The recording device could be as simple as your phone. You could also include a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) on your computer or a handheld digital audio recorder.

A free DAW that I would recommend is Cakewalk, by Bandlab.

5. Dedicated Time

Having a set time may go with having a quiet practice space. It is important to have a certain time each day set aside for your practice sessions.

Whether you may practice better in the morning before you start your day, or later in the evening, it does not matter what time you practice as long as it works for you.

If you set a time to practice each day, you will know what you are doing at that time of day and not make last-minute plans if something comes up.

In Closing

Of course, you need your instrument and any accessories you may need like picks, pencils, paper, etc. So have plenty of these extras close by.

You do not have to have a recording device at first, but I do suggest a tuner foremost followed by dedicated time, a quiet place to practice so you will not be interrupted, and a music stand.

As always have fun practicing!