How can I best use your book/CD methods in my practice routine?
The core method books of my series already incorporate a fair amount of variety and balance -- two of my main themes. I believe the best and most efficient learning happens when you strike a good balance between theory and practical application, so I made sure there was quite a bit of music in the Metal Rhythm Guitar and Metal Lead Guitar methods. But I'd still suggest you learn more music from outside the books as you work through them. Remember, itís all about music and inspiration, and you can't underestimate that. You should be learning everything that really turns you on. Variety is good -- just don't get so scattered that you forget to come back and finish the books!
Exactly how you should incorporate these books into your practice depends more than anything upon your level, so Iíll briefly outline how I see it, for three different groups: beginners, intermediates, and advanced players.
For absolute beginners: As a general guideline, try a few examples (riffs/licks/exercises, whatever it is) and repeat them until you can pull it off. If you are using, say, Metal Rhythm 1 and Metal Lead Primer, maybe you learn a half page out of one book and a half page out of the other.Each day or so, you add a few new examples. And as you progress, you tend to lay off some of the earlier examples that you've become very comfortable with. You can still pick a couple favorites out of the 'old examples', or choose a few at random, as a warm up each day. At first youíll be spending 100% of your practice time in the books, but as soon as possible start learning outside songs, too. For extra variety, you can also add various supplement books, like my "Guitar Lessons" series if that interests you.
For intermediate-level players (already playing for a year or more): Similar to above, but a little faster paced. Go through Metal Rhythm Guitar Volumes 1 & 2 and Metal Lead Guitar Volumes 1 & 2 together. After you're nearing the end of the volume 1s, add one or two of the more advanced technique books such as Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar, Secrets to Writing Killer Songs, or whatever, depending on your interests. Yet, even with using several books simultaneously, you can still spend maybe 1/3 or even 1/2 your practice time on learning outside songs and solos, composing your own tunes, and so forth. Youíll have a veritable smorgasbord of things to practice! And thatíll make both you and I very happy.
For more advanced players: You may find it useful to go through at least portions of the core methods (most likely the volume 2s of Rhythm and Lead), because although you probably already have many techniques down, some important ideas or even entire areas may be overlooked. Speed Mechanics is perhaps the most appropriate. Not only does it get quite advanced, it is something that one is unlikely to ever "outgrow." You can use, apply and perfect the principles on an ongoing basis. Advanced players will have well-developed practice routines already, of course. Just follow your own instincts. BTW, you might also benefit by the Ultimate Scale and Barre Chord books, as they cover all the shapes and fretboard patterns you're likely to ever need.
More important than anything else though, just keep an eye on yourself as you practice, noting what bores you and what you really get into. Common sense, really. And practice primarily what you are drawn to. This is always (say it with me now) the final, paramount, ultimate, crowning rule, that shall not be broken, forsaken, abandoned, renounced, or otherwise ignored...so help me God! What do I mean by that? Well, for example, Iím telling you to go through the lead and rhythm guitar methods together. Thatís the general guideline. But letís say youíre just foaming at the mouth to learn lead guitar, and couldnít care less about rhythm right now. Then go for it! Inspiration takes precedence. Itís not like anyone will be calling the guitar police on you or anything.
For more specific advice about developing a practice routine, check out the posted info on that subject under the "Tips & Advice" menu tab.
Use a few books together with a lot of songs and anything else that interests you. The idea is that you should have as many interesting things to practice as you possibly can. Remember, class, we always follow our own sick preferences. Thatís why weíre musicians, right?