As Blood Runs Black Guitarist Dan Sugarman on Optimizing Your Practice Time, Part 2



+ Add a Comment


Dear Dan, although there is plenty of good advice here, I'd like to add a wee bit of criticism. You are of course right in encouraging people to move out of their comfort zone a bit, but it does really seem you're talking like a guitar freak who has been doing that all day for years (how come?).

I'll counter you with Vai, not a stranger to overworking the guitar, even though I don't have a quote handy, play your stengths as well. Surely we can certainly agree on something like "play to your strengths, while making sure you don't have gaping holes in your knowledge".

When practice time becomes precious and scarce - you know who you are, you proably have kids, right? - as much as I'd like to master brazilian and flamenco guitar, I have to focus on something (RAWK!). Maybe it goes without saying, but I think it bears repeating.

But hey, there are no rules. Apparently Steve Morse developped his picking technique because he was naturally good at legato...

Also, my 2 cents on the subjects : gear dicussion *can* be interesting, except it is often too vague or far too specific ("pedal X variation YZ25 is great, I have one and you don't").

What I'm especially bad at is tone emulation, making the best of what I've got, regardless of the gear, provided there is some. With the lot of pedals and emulators out there (even on your damned iphone, for beck's sake), surely someone can formulate some general _but_practical rules beyond the obvious?

Also, it seems to me there's a taboo on emulating a sound, even though every one does it all the time. For some reason, you are allowed to play famous licks, study them for hours and copy them note for note, but the instant you say you want to try to have that tone quality from this guitar player, it's all "No man, do your own shit, don't lose your personality, to play like SRV you have to have his hands and his soul, to play like Hendrix you have to choke on your own vomit". Maybe it's just me, maybe it's just who and where I go, but I have heard it time and again.

I call bullshit on that one and ask for tips! If you're the man to provide them, then, please, by all means do.



Dan, Optimizing your Practice Time, Part I IS the best thing I needed to help farther my guitar skills. Thanks for that man. I too, have an obsession with understanding and identifying with everything that is guitar- or music-based related to guitar.

I find these lessons very helpful! It wasn't the typical route of showing some tabs and learn this and this, but instead you devoted time into "How to Get Better at Practice" and what to do first. I am going to definitely contiune reading anything you put on here. And share them with my guitar friends, and musicial friends. Thanks to Dan & Guitar World website so much!!


So so so stoked on your excitement for these articles. This is all I need right here to keep pushing myself to write more -- you ready for em?!

And YES! I really didn't want to follow the conventional route that most of these blogs go down. Please - read, re-read, study, test yourself, teach these concepts to others (teaching someone actually helps YOU to internalize and learn the concepts on a deeper level), and most definitely share these ideas with whoever you think would get something from them.

And you are SO very welcome! You're the man.

Lessons? contact me at


Thanks man, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I was trying to avoid to the gear discussion for my first few columns since that seems to be the typical route. But if enough people are interested then I'll for sure talk about what gear I use and why. Thanks for though supporting bro!



great this was awesome I always loved ABRB but no gear?


it's coming my brother! I'll be posting a gear video shortly so keep your eyes and ears open!

Log in to Guitar World directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

  • Sign in with Twitter
Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.