Need suggestions for practice material


Knows the Drill
May 4, 2012
West Michigan
My playing has gotten a bit mundane lately and I need something to spice it up. I know a lot of the pentatonic blues and rock licks, but I think it's time move beyond that. I think modes are the area I need to focus on next, but I'm having a tough time figuring out where and how to apply them. I understand what they are and how they work theory-wise, but that's about it. So I'm open to suggestions for books, online resources, artists/tunes to jam to, etc. Doesn't have to be focusing on modes either, that's just what's in my head right now. Thanks in advance!
Draw a fretboard and fill in the notes for the C major scale all over the fretboard to start with.
I am all about originality, but as a beginner it is helpful to learn other players licks and chord progressions so you can see how all the theory can be applied. This kinda lets you know what paths you can take when constructing a solo or song. Ultimately after you choose your next notes path, that becomes originality. The more different ways you discover to put 12 notes together, the more avenues you will have available for YOU to express yourself. I think a great example of this can be seen in the career of Trey Anastasio from Phish. By ever learning all the songs and styles that he possible can, he has developed one of the most unique styles of his own, and that style is characterized by the prowess to play in the sum of all styles. If you were aspiring to become a great chef, or martial artist, or dancer, this approach would apply also. Learn everything you can, then when you solo or compose, elements of what you like will come out as naturally as if I asked you to make me some soup. Also, jam with as many different players as you can. Everytime I sit in on a regular Friday night bluegrass jam here locally, I ALWAYS learn something, but I like mostly rock! I hope this helps. Oh, both Steve Vai and Joe Satriani have made Youtube vids on how to get the most out of practice.....worth a long look and listen. " bent my ear to hear the tune, and closed my eyes to see " Jerry Garcia/ Robert hunter............Peace
Draw a fretboard and fill in the notes for the C major scale all over the fretboard to start with.

This is a good idea, and is something I did to learn modes/scales myself. If you focus on learning E phrygian, A aeolian, and D dorian, and memorize those patterns within the C major scale (white keys on a keyboard) you will know the other modes by "accident" by playing connect the dots.
Thanks guys! I'll definitely check out all the stuff mentioned above. I think I'll get into some backing tracks for a while, for sure the PRS ones Hans posted, and I think I might check out the Steve Vai naked tracks too. Other suggestions still welcome, always want to learn!