Daily Practice Regime (Full Version)

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Skai -> Daily Practice Regime (Dec. 31 2005 0:43:16)

Good day everyone,

This thread is simply about the daily regime of essential exercises that I do, or am supposed to do. [:D] It's a collection of exercises from books, my teacher and my own exercises.

While I'm far from being an excellent player, I believe that these exercises cover all aspects of playing and will definitely give any player great improvements if he/she works hard on it.


PS. Such exercises are aimmed at classical playing but I highly believe that it will benefit your flamenco guitar playing as well.

Skai -> Chromatic Scales (Dec. 31 2005 0:50:03)

Single line scale practice

Firstly, such scales should preferably be practised with im, mi, ma, am, ia, ai and very importantly, ami.


The reason why I do this scale with 5 notes per string, is that it will force you to use a different finger for string crossings, and not rely on only one.

This exercise should be done with all finger combinations as follows. The reason being that the feel is different at the various positions for the left hand.


|---------3-4-5-6----------------------------------4-5-6-7-----------| etc....

All the way till your pinky plays the 12th fret, and beyond it if you'd like to.

Lastly, staccato scales should improve your speed, accuracy, articulation and most importantly, PICADO. [;)]

Skai -> String Crossings (Dec. 31 2005 0:56:22)

String Crossings

This exercise is taken from the book Pumping Nylon and I find that it's concept is very true and the exercise very effective. I fully agree that players have a much higher chance of screwing up scales at the point where they cross to a lower/higher string.

So why not practise string crossing and focussing ONLY on string crossing?

Play this with im, mi, ma, am, ia and ai. You may add other combinations that you use often too.


Skai -> Position Shifting Exercise (Dec. 31 2005 1:02:59)

Position Shifting Exercise

This exercise will focus on position shifting. This was taught to me by my teacher and it helps you get used to shifting bigger positions. Especially when she has to play along with me and keep getting faster. The next thing I know, I'm lagging 10 notes behind her and she carries on far ahead. Damn.. it's demoralising.. [:@]


The fingering for your left hand should be 1 2 3 4 --> 1 2 3 4 --> 12 3 4
The exercise should be done on ALL strings too. Right hand fingering isn't that important in this exercise IMO.

Skai -> Ascending Slurs (Dec. 31 2005 1:09:55)

Ascending Slurs

This exercise by my teacher has basically the same left hand fingering as the first exercise on scales. The difference is that you hammer on ALL the notes and you NEVER PLAY with your right hand fingers.

One concept that I got from Pumping Nylon is that you should not have to hammer on hard. You do it fast with minimal pressure just enough to keep the note ringing. It's the speed that creates the sound, not how much damn strength ou whack the string onto the fretboard with.

Try to remember about economy of left hand movement, try to hammer on FAST from as short a distance from the fretboard as possible. DO NOT lift your finger far from the fretboard and smack it on the string with all your strength!

|-----------------1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------------| etc..

All the way till the other end of the neck and repeat as desired.

Skai -> Descending Slurs (Dec. 31 2005 1:19:25)

Descending Slurs

Now this exercise by my teacher should be played ONLY with your left hand fingers. Take note of the same concept as hammering-on and play it with SPEED, NOT FORCE.

Another thing to note is to make sure the tone of the pull-offs is even. NO twangy sounds here and there, it should be absolutely controlled.

Lastly, when pulling-off, your finger should pull downwards and somewhat rest on the next lower string. This is called a secure pull-off, unlike the wrong way where you pull it away from the fretboard and this is rather insecure.




|-------------------------------------------------3h6p3h5p3h4p3p0----| etc...

All the way up to the neck.

Skai -> 1-3-2-4 Exercise (Dec. 31 2005 1:28:03)

1-3-2-4 Exercise

Now I honestly don't know why I should practise this but my teacher just told me to. Maybe someone could tell me why?

It should be practised with im, mi, ma, am, ia and ai. Add other combinations as required.


Skai -> Tremolo (Dec. 31 2005 1:33:04)


I won't attempt to explain how to do tremolo here but here are a few pointers on it.

1. Play it with completely EVEN rhythm and tone. Start slow and build speed.

2. Practise staccato tremolo. It helps with articulating of your tremolo.

3. Keep your tremolo finger movements as small as possible. Big movements may cause you to accidentally play adjacent strings, especially when the tremolo is on the 2nd or 3rd string.

4. One thing I never do, practising with a metronome. It's a good idea to do it and start slow. When you can handle that particular speed, just up your metronome by a few notches and keep doing this till you reach desired speed. But do take note of the previous pointers.

Skai -> Arpeggios (Dec. 31 2005 1:37:56)


As a classical player, my arpeggio practice is covered mainly by my repetoire so I don't do it as a 'daily exercise'. However I do focus on this particular arpeggio played with pimami pimami etc..

This exercise is also done on the bass strings as your arpeggios tend to be weaker there. Remember to 'grip' the strings with your nails, not brush across it, use your nails!
This doesn't mean that your hand should be tensed either, gripping is a technique and not simply all brute force.


For more arpeggio practice, Guliani's 120 right hand studies seem to be a very complete resource on that particular subject.

Skai -> Left Hand Finger Independence (Dec. 31 2005 1:41:07)

Left Hand Finger Independence

This exercise is taken from Pumping Nylon and I find it a very good exercise that teaches finger independence and helps with your flexibility and agility.

However these exercises can cause ALOT of tension esp when doing with the 3rd or 4th finger. So stop and rest when you feel the strain. I agree that you should push yourself on if you're simply a little tired. But the 'no pain, no gain' thing is complete crap and a recipe for injuries.

1. Your fingers are assigned to frets 5, 6, 7 and 8.

2. Anchor your 2nd, 3rd and 4th finger on the 3rd string

3. Play 5th fret of the 1st string with your 1st finger. Then lift it up and play the 5th fret of the 6th string with your 1st finger. Keep alternating between the 1st and 6th string.

4. Repeat the exercise for all left hand fingers while anchoring the other 3 fingers on the 3rd string.

Make sure that the transition between notes are as smooth as possible. If you can't do it smoothly and fast, then do it smoothly and slowly.


Points to note:

1. All notes for all exercises should be played smoothly unless stated staccato.

2. Rhythm and tone should be as even as possible. If you can't play it evenly when playing fast, then slow down and play it evenly!

3. When you feel the strain, take a break.

4. Practise playing loud with the right hand but do it by gripping, not brute force.

5. You left hand should have minimal movement and your touch as light as possible. Use just enough pressure to get the sound.

6. Practise this set of exercises as a backup when you simply have no time. Or else, use it as part of your practice regime. 1hr of exercises and 2 or 3hrs of real playing, ie. repetoire, touching-up old pieces, composing etc. For example, you can't squeeze anything more than 30mins a day. These exercises will at least keep you at almost the same standard, which means you won't get much worst. Used as part of your daily practice, it'll improve your technique.

Hope this set of exercises might be useful for some people. It has worked great for me even though I haven't spent much time on it.

This applies to classical guitar but will help with flamenco as well. However, I will not go into flamenco technique exercises as I'm still not fully sure about what should be the ideal way of practising.

Tip: Print a list of the exercises and paste them where you usually practise. That way you won't leave out anything and you'll be able to run through everything without having to recall.

Miguel de Maria -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Dec. 31 2005 4:26:33)

Skai...do you have time to play music? When all is said and done, that is what we're doing here, after all. It's pretty easy to waste your whole life preparing, and never doing. Trust me, I've made that mistake a lot.

duende -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Dec. 31 2005 7:12:15)

Thats pretty much what i do. I don´t remember seeing any rasgueado stuff huh?
maybe i just missed it.[:)]

But i don´t do all of it in a row in every day. I often start by doing arpegios or rasgueados as a warm-up In some palo, usually Solea,Alegrias or a slow bulerias.
The i go on with cromatic exersice and scales.

What happens now is that i deside if it´s a "technique day" or a "compose day"
or a "repertior day" for the past month is been a "Picado/work on my own solea and alegrias day" And i´ve compose a lot and found some ideas i like enough to keep.

One thing about repertoire though. I started to learn "La madrugada" and Doblan campanas" but after a little time i just felt that it was useless even if i think it´s good music.
I asked my self -why go thru this rutine again learning a paco piece i hardly can play.
I know i will memorise it and less than a week but after that it will only be 2 more PDL
pieces i know but cant controll. so i started work on my ideas instead.

Im sure i´ll learn these pieses but not now. they have to wait untill i feel theres some meaning with it.


Happy new year everyone!

Skai -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Dec. 31 2005 13:15:43)

Sure I've time for music, in fact that's mostly what I do and exercises can be completed in half an hour. That's cause I don't have the discipline to do exercises everyday without fail. While repetoire helps you in progressing with musicality, expression, dynamics and interpretion, a basic level of technique is required. And thus these are the exercises that will bring your technique to a higher level.

With these exercises, I've been able to improve on pieces I already know and pieces that I learn. New pieces take less time to learn and old pieces sound less sloppy. It's been a great help in my playing and saying 'great' isn't doing it justice. When technicalities are less of a problem, it leaves you with more effort in other details that differentiate you from a Guitarpro/MIDI software, ie. tone and expression.

That being said, working on and learning music is extremely important as all technique and no music = Worthless. I feel that these exercises are particularly important in earlier stages in order to reach a decent standard to tackle more pieces. Preferably, 1/2 hr of exercises and 1 1/2 hr of repetoire.

The reason why I use this set of exercises is also because when I simply have no time at all for guitar, I breeze through this list in less than 30mins and it maintains my technical standard, preventing me from 'losing' whatever I have. This was particularly important during my days in Army combat training.

Lastly, this WILL NOT replace truely playing the instrument, it's just a booster jab and a vaccine to prevent you from getting worst.

Miguel de Maria -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Dec. 31 2005 14:28:27)

Skai, that's good! I used to play scales for two hours a day and then not have any time or energy for anything else. The I went through a phase where I played Kitharalogus for two hours a day and then that was pretty much it. Nowadays, I just do basic warmups, Scott Tennant-style, and then get on with it. I switch between practicing scales and various interval licks in every key between ear training. I finally got my Amazing Slow Downer working and am having a lot of fun learning Tonino songs. I also practice strumming with my rhythm machine. These things are a lot more fun than slaving over the "dots", and they have to be done, too :)

duende -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Dec. 31 2005 14:52:09)

For some reason people see 8 hrs a day practice as running scales up and down.
i do play scales for maybe 2hrs a day. but thats just a tiny little part.
the rest is composing and working on stuff in my repertiore and that fills up a lot more time.
Actually i don´t mind running scales for 8hrs as long as they are IN a song i play in my repertoir or are a part of a my compositios or falsetas.

It also feels good to not have to learn like the 3rd mode of the F#melodic minor scale
or something like that (witch happens to be A major7th lydian augmented by the way[:)])
Im lucky to have passed that stage a decade ago[:D][:D] ..hm maybe luck has nothing to do with it. shutting myself in my room studying is more like it[:)]

Miguel de Maria -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Dec. 31 2005 16:58:29)

Still doing 2 hrs a day? I'm finally back to practicing after my middle finger was injured so long. Now I do all my runs with ia. It's a little slower than im, but easier in some ways. I'm slowly putting m back into action, and then I'll get a super ami in there!

How are you scales coming along, Henrik?

duende -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Dec. 31 2005 20:55:15)

i think my scales and technique are doing great.

A good thing is that. when you take a brewak for a week or so you realy notice how much you progress. When your constantly at it you get so caught up in "it" that you don´t realy notice any progress.

my best advice is REST!!!

henrym3483 -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Dec. 31 2005 21:53:23)

i just try and learn as many falsetas as i can and learn em well so i can throw them in anywhere i want without having to think of it

luke.park -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Dec. 31 2005 22:06:59)

i saw this post and agree. i have rested for a week or more many times before and have come back feeling fresh and everything feeling really good. i think its a psychological thing definitely but maybe also the fact that the muscles in your hands and arms have regenerated stronger and any fatigue has gone from the constant hours of practicing.

has anyone ever felt also that they will have days where they sit down to play and everything seems to fit naturally and falsetas flow and feel really good but other times it feels as if you are scraping it out of a bowl! iv e been having a day a bit like that. again, psychological!! [:)]

Francisco -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Jan. 1 2006 12:55:06)

Hey Miguel,
How's the middle finger? Are you going to be able to use it at all?

I've recently started back after my little wrist injury, but it's going very slow at the moment.

You guys are pretty intense with your practice, esp you Duende. 8hrs? WoW. Wish I had that much time to commit. I'm doing really good to get in about 2 hours/day. I guess that's why you're so much better than I am.

duende -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Jan. 1 2006 14:46:47)

Normaly it´s 1-2hrs at work then 2-3 hrs at home.
My 8hrs sessions are restricted to holidays[:)] and weekends

sorin popovici -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Jan. 1 2006 15:15:41)


It also feels good to not have to learn like the 3rd mode of the F#melodic minor scale
or something like that (witch happens to be A major7th lydian augmented by the way )

how do i learn this stuff?this bothers me ...I'm at the point where , I dont want more
technique ..I'm bugged I have no ideas.I try to learn pieces sometime ..just because
I have no ideas.Sure, technique is a good thing ...but I just cant go forever trying
chromatic scales at super speed.It has to be more than that.But how ...my problem
is like that , I know some technique ...I'm not great but I'm satisified for now,the problem
is that I only played guitar for 7 years .Henrik , do u remember your compositions
seven years ago ..? I can go learning tough things just relying on technique ...but
I got to do become a more musical man,it's got to be a way for dumb untalented
people also [:D].

duende -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Jan. 1 2006 15:38:54)

7 years ago my compositions were fine[:D] im only teasing.
I composed more back then than now. Jazz tunes, Punk tunes, Instrumental guitar music Joe satriani and things like that. played in lots of bands and never played any cover songs so i have done a lot of writing.

I often go with the things i hear in my head first.
Try this.
Pick up guitar[:)] start struming any chord pattern you like. Not from any famous tune
but sounds you like. then you start to listen to what you hear over thoes chords, melody that is.

Composing is like learning an instrument. you have to practice a lot.
you make 100 silly tunes or ideas etc you toss it in the garbage and your left with 1 or 2 maybe 3 cool things you keep.
then you just do this and learns what works and what dosen´t work.
as time goes by you get these tools to compose something fairly quick because you know how it works you have learnt the "trade"
the more songs you do the better your getting at it.

im not good at explaining these things even though i have the theorie knowledge i never let it guide me. I always go "feel" and "instinct" and i experiment a lot.

Theorie is good for doing homework, when you have to put something good togheter quick to please the teacher[:D] write a string quartet, arrange this for a choir etc.

now i shut up cause i got a BAD BAD hangover.. ******* new year![:D]

sorin popovici -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Jan. 1 2006 16:17:31)

the thing is like that ...i can get 10 sec of my own stuff ...but doing 3 minutes of stuff
,that's hard...and if i do it ,2m30s are constructed and the chords are borrowed more or less and I have no idea ...how much I really meant it to be like that,it was all I knew
at the time.
Things get more ....like "look a new technical exercise" than a composition,for that
u have to have the right ear , experience,know harmony ...so that u can decide what's stupid or not.

can u listen this , this is from two years ago ...no flamenco experience then,headphone mic.
well...I still like it in a way , so though i can complicate this now technically or even keep
a tempo (cause i have a mistake somewhere there) ...i'm still more or less at the same level (i like arpeggios , dont know why).


I think Todd listened to this sometime ago ,but well he didnt said anything cause it's
probably ..not good.

Miguel de Maria -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Jan. 1 2006 16:57:32)

the finger seems to be mostly healed,although it is weak from months of little use. I use it for arpeggios now, just have to start working it into apoyando too. It feels like something that hasn't been used for a long time, but it doesn't hurt.

I've come to a personal realization, and that's that in the end, we are all self-taught. If you just listen to the sounds you are making and to what your body is telling you (in other words, does it hurt), and spend most of your time doing it, you will do fine in music. Do you really listen hard to every note you play, like Grisha and Todd do, or do you just ask other people if it sounds good?

You can read whatever book you want or study with Paco de Lucia, and you aren't going to go anywhere unless you sit in the room by yourself and devote yourself 100% to the guitar. On the other hand, you don't need a teacher and if you devote yourself, you'll do fine. It seems to me that all the good players are either really smart or at least smart about the guitar. They keep an open mind to what they are trying to do, and through process of elimination, they make their own rules.

I have noticed that you ask a lot of questions that have no answer, like "what do I do with my life." Just jump in and give it your all, and I think you'll be fine. (just my opinion of course)

sorin popovici -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Jan. 1 2006 17:06:03)

well I cant help it ....not used to make such big decisions on my own , that ' s probably
the hard part in growing up., and I cant ask my pap ...about guitar playing .I asked
and never really liked the answer [:D]

duende -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Jan. 1 2006 17:58:49)

it floats around in tempo a bit. But i belive you could develop several good ideas from this one piece.

sorin popovici -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Jan. 1 2006 22:12:37)

Miguel ....I wanna apologize ,i'm not lecturing here this is just my opinion.
I dont want trouble,and I do respect u for your hard path that u chose.


Do you really listen hard to every note you play, like Grisha and Todd do, or do you just ask other people if it sounds good?

I have little experience compared to others ,I think sometime that I know it ....and that
the answer is "yes" ....but surely the correct answer is not that easy to find,and
now at the begining maybe the answer is "no".

It is because I DOUBT my judgement I ask others .

Lets say u are in a foreign city and want to get to the townhall....what's
best ,spend ten hours of really really thinking and observing or ask
for directions from a man that u know that he knows the answer?

Sure ,that asking yourself is important because u find your own
answers ....but u still have to verify that answer by asking others.
When somebody records smth here and say ..."hey can u listen this?"
is not just for showoff(it is sometimes for that also [:D]
,also for getting a little respect ...cause otherwise here
nody knows who u are as a guitar player) but
also because he needs to verify that things are like he thinks it.
(y do we listen to them and give opinions , because in this
process of listening to them ...we also learn,more or less)

Now, I wouldnt advise beeing completely alone in learning smth....
I put lots of questions that saves me lots of time...can u imagine
that if u knew exactly what to practice,u will be better not in 10 years but in 5 maybe.
Have u never read on this foro a phrase like "my playing is better now
thanks to the people here"?

that beeing said ...every arguement I made here ,I think u already knew.

The real problem is when u do learn smth is how to learn.
U can learn from
1.your own experience
2.from others
3.using 1 and 2

Now,I think it is evident for everybody that the corect answer is 3.

Again , the real real problem is how much do u take from others
and how much from your own experience.
my answer is smth like:

a)if u are a beginner u better take 10% from your own experience
and 90% from others
b)if u are advanced u better take 50% from your own experience
and 50% from others
c)if u are pro .............bla bla

now , I believe that this deciding these procents..is your job.

There is nothing to talk about ,and there is no misunderstanding
....u think that I ask too much,but it's still my job to decide the procentage
,to find what I do lack in my education.

Henrik for example, has very short sentences...I am not there
like he is so I need 90% of other people experience.
I think this thing I said aplies to every domain , so as
I do study engineering ..I think I can have a solid opinion on this
topic(the topic of learning),ofcourse if it is about music ...I dont
know the details ...so I ask.I'm not forcing anyone into answering.

Again I apologize ...i dont want u to be upset about me saying these
things,but even if I dont say it ....I still think like that,and it's
better for me to say it ...cause maybe I'm wrong and u'll show me that
I'm wrong(if u would like and have the time).

sorin popovici -> [Deleted] (Jan. 1 2006 22:13:05)

Post has been moved to the Recycle Bin at Jan. 1 2006 22:15:54

Miguel de Maria -> RE: Daily Practice Regime (Jan. 2 2006 1:02:06)

I gave you the absolute best advice I could, what can I say? This is what I have learned and I wish I knew it when I was your age, or even much younger (I'm only 31 after all). We all have to take our own paths in life.

I will tell you a couple of stories before I leave the field...

1. A businessman met a great and respected retired cellist, and said, "Maestro do you remember me?" The maestro said, sorry he did not. The businessman said, "Really? I was studying cello, and they told me I had lots of talent. So I was given the great privilege to play for you. And you told me 'You lack the fire.' Based on your advice, I quit and tried my hand at business. So you don't remember that?" The maestro shrugged. "Sorry, but I have listened to thousands of aspring cellists play. And I always tell them the same thing: 'You lack the fire.' The ones who lack the fire, quit. The ones who have the fire, they don't listen to anybody, anyway, and they'll make it no matter what anyone says!"

2. A university student studying engineering and zen had the incredible chance to meet a zen master at his house. The master prepared tea. During the conversation, the student talked and talked, hardly listening to the master or giving him a chance to say anything. At one point, the master poured tea in a cup for the student, right up the rim, and kept pouring and pouring. The tea overflowed onto the table. "What are you doing!" cried the student, shocked. The master calmly said, "Like the cup, you are full of your own ideas. How can I teach you unless you empty yourself first?"

The book Zen Guitar might help you.

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