35 - I'm 48 and so thankful that I bumped into Pebber, my playing has changed drastically since following his path, in my case it brings me back to where i started out and strayed a bit from over the years.
Hi, in order to get the most out of the hour and not get distracted I would map time slots to activities in blocks of 10 minutes and carefully focus for that entire time for example trills are very beneficial and one of pebbers recommendations is to start with about 2 minutes of time per string. I think spiders and ladders are good for warming up and ensuring that you have correct teqnique do 10 minutes of those. Then do 30 minutes of scales in G in all positions repeat 5x with no mistakes including intervals - this will extend the ladders but also be musical for example using 6ths the sequence would be 16,27,38 etc all the way up and down the position. Do some arpeggios, do some chord work, the point is to make sure that you have a plan for what you need to improve and not get distracted 1/2 through by flaking out and playing hendrix. Then save some time at the end to jam with a backing track while you are hot - that is your reward.
The point is to have a plan, and stick to it what is in that plan is really up to you and your teacher.
Also do not play too fast, set the metronome and play everything correctly at whatever speed you can handle so that you an concentrate on what you are doing. Use the trills to develop speed and strength until you know the fretboard.
Learning songs is important too, use some tabs to help you focus and pick 2 songs per week to work on 10 minutes each per day repeating 5 - 10 times playing correctly.
If you do these things you will improve on what it is that you practice.
Set you goals for the week and make a video as if it is a lesson with your teacher where you play everything that you have been practicing, you can use these to review your progress in the future.
I started working on a couple of simple patterns that are creating a big impact, I'm showing them based on the scale just start from whatever string position you are at.
1. ascending 21,32,43,54,65,76 ... descending 78,67,56,45,34,23,12 I used to always play this starting on 1 in this form 13,24,35,46 etc but I switched it around and start in the first position in G on G with starting on an up stroke so it goes 17,21,32 and it amazed me how changing the emphasis to an upstroke made a huge difference.
2. ascending 321,432,543,654,765 ... descending 678,567,456,345,234,123 this one just felt wierd since I have always started my scales in ascending patterns, I'm starting to mix ascending with descending phrases and it is helping break some habits
There is a question that will help you find the answers, that is do I understand theory? If you are still learning the notes of the diatonic scale, that is major scale and you are still working on learning which is the root, third, fifth etc then your theory skills should take the front seat for now. Finding the root of a key is equal to finding the first note or one of that major scale in G it is G, for the rest of the notes of the key you simply count from there GABCDEF#. Finding the root of a chord is very similar for example the root note of a C Major chord is C. Here is the interesting part, the C Major chord is the fourth chord in the key of G Major, G is still the root of the key of G and C is the root of the C Major chord, see how each chord has it's own root note, for bass players this is often the note that is played in support of the rest of the band. Now to relate this to modes - the modes are based off of names for each position within the key, in our example the mode that describes the C Major is Lydian - it is based off of the fourth position within the key, now with modes you can also see an entire scale, the root of the lydian in this case is C and the key is G, so the lydian scale is CDEF#GAB, you can also think of it as starting the G scale from the fourth note in that scale.
Check out this wiki page for more details, I presented the example in G but for most theory work the key of C is preferred since it is easier to learn on the piano (all white keys)
Yeah those basses are really nice, I was thinking of getting one for a beater I have a Marcus Miller which is made in Japan. Check out this setup from John East - it is really sick I'm thinking of getting it for mine, it has the blender.
thanks for that link Ed some way cool options out there, I have been buying fralin pickups, got one harness from ebay for 200 and I also got one complete HSS setup from http://www.guitar-mod.com/rg_pw_3hss.html I'm really happy with the setup, I got the 11 way combo dial a tap with a pull inductor circuit and a neck on switch, it was a bit pricey but I got it loaded with fralin blues and an unbuckler humbucker, they stand behind their work too.
I'm not a fan of Behringer but thought this deal was pretty interesting - it's basically an entry level guitar/amp combo package for about $135 and the guitar has built in USB out. In light of the cable discussion I think it would be interesting to see if there is a difference in sound between the 1/4 inch and USB outs.