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Now that we are approaching that time of the year where we are likely to get a few days to a few weeks to ourselves, It is probably a good time to earmark some extra hours towards completing that unfinished song or learn that one guitar solo we have been contemplating learning for days. We all know the importance of practice to improve the repertoire and build good motor skills. The two parts of good practice are the quality of the practice and the duration of practice. We often have this question about how much practice is needed. I always request my students to practice at least 20 minutes a day. But what about the famous and virtuoso guitar players, how much practice they did during their formative years? I have done some research on this, watching different interviews, reading different articles and came out with these numbers. To my best of knowledge, these come from authentic sources and are reliable.

                                        Steve Vai

During high school, he used to practice 9-15 hours a day. Unlike many other rock musicians, he was very good at reading and writing staff notation, knew how to play many different instruments, extremely good at music theory classes and knew how to write scores for an entire orchestra. It is also well documented that his parents supported him unconditionally from a very early age in his musical journey.


Saul Hudson, better known as his artist name ‘Slash’ is a prolific BMX rider and used to practice around 12 hours a day during his pre Guns and Roses days. There are many references of him practicing with Dave Mustaine and his band Megadeth in the book called ‘Rust in Peace’ during the time when Guns and Roses was yet to make it big. Back then, they used to party a lot, and in their form of party, it was mostly practicing the guitar and jamming with other friends. 

                                      Jimi Hendrix

It is known that Jimi Hendrix used to feel very nervous without a guitar in his hands and would pick it up soon after waking up in the morning. There are even stories that he used to go to sleep with his guitar laying next to the bed. No real number on how many hours of practice he did, but based on these stories, it is possible that he practiced around 14-16 hours a day. He also mentioned in several interviews that he doesn’t know how to read or write music, and his practice is not the traditional form of working towards specific skills. Rather he spent most of his time jamming with other musicians and came up with musical ideas in that process. 

                                       Zakk Wylde

In an interview Zakk admitted that he used to practice roughly 14 hours a day during the time he was in high school. He made his name into the rock world at a very early age of 20 appearing as the guitarist of the legendary metal singer, Ozzy Osburne. He admitted taking guitar lessons from Leroy Wright at the age of 15 and practically practiced non stop during those years.

                          Yngwie Malmsteen

In his own words, “Initially, it was insane – basically, all waking hours. I would sacrifice everything. I wouldn’t go to school. Then when I was a teenager, they had to drag me to parties and stuff like that because I was extremely dedicated, to the point of insanity I think”.

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