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Steve Vai's 30 hour a day guitar workout

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Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 342
Topic starter  

Guitar Legends magazine reprinted Steve Vai's 30 hour workout this month. It's basically what Vai used to become a guitar virtuoso. It's a 10 hour workout repeated 3 times throughout the day. I can wrap my head around a 30 hour guitar workout in a 24 hour day but since the excerises are only 10 hours I'm going to pose my question assuming it takes ten hours.

The excerises vary but from what I can remember off the top of my head there were:

Fingering exercises - playing 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 on each string
Angular exercises - similar to above but you move down a string with each pick
Legato exercises

I'm sure these do work as they are very similar to exercises my guitar teacher showed me but I wonder if 10 hours is over doing it. It's a workout I'd have to call in sick to do. What would be a more reasonable time to perform these exercises daily?

"In what, twisted universe does mastering Eddie Van Halen's two handed arpeggio technique count as ABSOLUTELY NOTHING?!" - Dr Gregory House

Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184

it's actually a 30 hour workout spread out over 3 days, at 10 hours a day.
you can spread it out over more days if you want to. a lot of it's mechanical chromatic stuff that isn't very musical, and not particularly useful to people who've been playing for a while, other than as a general workout. i'd cherry pick it for stuff that could help you, but i wouldn't follow it religiously, unless you really want to. it does cover a lot of ground.
i downloaded it, but i haven't spent a lot of time on it. it's just too boring.

Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1162

The thing is, I like to practice things I really want to learn, that way if I'm working on some sort of technical difficulty, it's easy for me to see what the problem is and what I have to do to resolve it. With Vai's exercise, I wouldn't know at what speed to begin these exercises and at what speed should be my "goal".

If you really wanted to try out a regimented practice routine like that, just chop it up into smaller time blocks: instead of an hour per section, try 15 minutes (roughly a 2 hour and 15 minute practice plus the usual hour for jamming, which you could maybe cut down into a smaller time interval if you wanted).


Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 16

I think it's important to pace yourself with a huge workout like that. It's a long workout! Starting any of those exercises nice n slow is also really important, so that your playing stays accurate. :)

Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 8

I think it would be fun to do two days in a row over a weekend just to see how it feels. Could you leap out of the gate doing 10 hrs or would you have to work up to it? I'd hate to see an injury.

Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4459

Ten hours of practice would be a serious hurt on your fingertips even for people thathave played for awhile . I know that when I play for say more than 3 hours or so my fingertips are sore. Now if you did maybe 2-3 hrs at a time with a break it's probably doable.

If your a beginner though and haven't had formal lessons to be sure your posture and technique were OK then if you felt any discomfort it would be time to stop.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184

i get seriously sore fingertips from jumping into long practice sessions if i haven't worked up to it. you'll probably feel like you took razorblades to your fingertips if you use too heavy a string guage. i usually feel like i have glass shards in my fingertips if i play for more than 4 or 5 hours if i haven't been playing a lot.
as for actual injuries, those generally take more than a few days. you'll be sore, though.