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FAQ: How often to practice?
A: If you're a complete newbie, your main aim should be to get your fingers callused as soon as possible and this means playing as often as possible. The irony however, is that as a beginner, precisely because your fingers aren't callused; you definitely won't be able to play for hours on end.
We thus have to look for a balance in your practice times to help your fingers develop strength and calluses while at the same time not over burn yourself and reach a point where your fingers start screaming.
I personally don't recommend playing just once a week since that's not enough to develop calluses. An ideal practice schedule would allow you to play daily, every second day or every third day (this depends on how busy you are and what your schedule allows). During every practice session play until your fingers hurt then take ten minutes off and go at it again.
Again, don't be so eager to learn that you end up hurting yourself. It's good to remember that you're going to be learning for the rest of your life (even professional and session guitarists NEVER stop learning!), so take it at a comfortable pace.
How often to practice depends largely on your amount of free time. People often complain about the fact that they don't have time to practice. Well, if your schedule doesn't allow for a regular dedicated practice sessions, redeem your free time by using it to play guitar. By this I mean that you should snatch the ten minutes or twenty minutes you sometimes have free in between your appointments/activities/routines etc.
The best way to do this, is to buy a guitar stand and always have your guitar ready to be picked up and played. This makes quite a difference from having to get your gear from a gig bag, set up and tuned (which by itself can take ten minutes).
Q: When starting out with the guitar, how often should I practice?