Paul Gilbert once said, “Practice this until it sounds like a popsicle stick stuck in your bicycle spokes”. He would also practice the most difficult thing he could find, so that the easier stuff would be a piece of cake to play. Steve Morse once said about John Petrucci – “to get as good as John, you will need a metronome and a whole bag of picks. You’re going to be needing them.” Also, Steve Morse used to actually practice guitar while driving! (Not recommended! But it’s nice to be inspired by his commitment) Eddie Van Halen’s philosophy is “if it sounds good, play it”. Nuno Bettencourt once stated that he wishes they’d invent a pill that would replace eating a meal because he hated taking a break from practicing. There are stories of Frank Zappa working and recording until he was finished with what he was working on – no break, no food, no sleep etc. John McLaughlin would rehearse with his band 10 hours a day – that’s rehearse, not just practice on his own. Jimi Hendrix would constantly fall asleep playing guitar. People would find him the following morning asleep with a guitar in his lap. There’s a fable that says that when he was at Berklee College of Music, Mike Stern would regularly wake up, and start playing guitar, sitting on the edge of his bed still in his underwear. His friends would go to classes all day and return to the dorm room later that day to find him still practicing, still at the edge of his bed and yes, still in his underwear!
Maybe all of these stories are true. Maybe some are fiction. Either way, they are inspiring to me and perhaps to you. Learn as much as you can about your favorites. If you learn more about your favorite guitar players and their practice habits, you can adopt all of the good ones. You will start to adopt the mindset of a true giant, a MONSTER guitar player. In time maybe others will be adopting your practice habits!