This is for those who might be just starting out or in a rut and might have had the same issues!! Hey Everyone! It has been a goal of mine to increase my alternate picking. YES, I know speed isn't everything, but for someone who plays guitar as a hobby, goals must be set and reached at some point! I've finally manage to increase my picking speed to the likes of Alexi Laiho and such; NOW I just need to learn a little theory and/or how to improvise. Anywho, a few things that I have discovered along this 7-year journey: Speed in General: Comes with time! I was one of those impatient guitarist who bugged and pestered ANYONE who was faster than me. I could never understand how they got so fast, so clean and articulated, and thought that it was something they were born with. While that may be the case for a few individuals out there, the truth, as you all know, is that it takes TIME+PRACTICE+PATIENCE! HOLY MOLY did I not understand this, or, want to believe that this is the truth, but it truly is. The time you put in yields results... and the more time you put in, the faster the results come. Also, focused practices are much better than meaningless noodling; that is if you are actually trying to improve. Having fun is always the best route as well Picking tips: So, I've made several picking hand adjustments over the last 2 years. I started out with anchoring my pinky on the body of the guitar; not wrong per se, as MANY a great guitarist do this, but for me, I got to a speed wall and couldn't pass it to say my life! After doing that for 5 years, I found a video of a guy who changed his anchoring to the 'curled-fingers-in' approach; like that of Paul Gilbert and Robert Marcello. So I make a fist of sorts; this took a little bit to adjust to, but over time, I got it and my speed increased. But even then, another wall greeted me :/ I noticed that I held my pick a little awkward; I held the pick at the bend/crease of my thumb and side of my index finger... this created an excess in picking motion, and a LOT of the pick was exposed. This was actually pointed out to some friends of mine. All this time I was using a Jazz III pick btw. So, I shifted the pick to the middle pad of my thumb, but took Paul Gilbert's advice, and "pulled" my thumb in... this yielded some speed and fluidity gains, but I was gripping the pick like I was holding a $1000 bill in the wind! This caused my fingers some pain, and my hand got really tired after playing for a while. I did this for a few months, while increasing speed; after a while, I noticed that it was hard for me to transition from the 'G' string to the 'B' string, but a focused, slow practice alleviated that issue. Even so, I met another speed/accuracy barrier. Well, I accepted my dilemma for a bit until I watched a video by a guy on youtube named Nielsvejlyt! He has a lot of good material and is awesome on guitar. I watched his vids but didn't notice anything right away. I found myself at Guitar Center, testing out some amps, and had to use one of their pics. It was a very SOFT plastic pick that sucked! In using it, I had to adjusting my picking approach: I couldn't hold it firmly like I had accustomed myself to, so I had a very VERY loose grip, and when I started playing, I realized how SMOOTH my picking was. I was instantly faster, more accurate, and my fingers weren't stressed and it just felt so good! So went home and grabbed my guitar, Jazz III pick (black) and watched Niels on guitar. Well, I noticed when he was picking, the pick had a little bit of 'give' to the strings and a lose grip as well... BOOM! I realized that this was maybe the missing piece of I was looking for. I had already discovered it at Guitar Center, but needed to try this approach and adjust to using it with this smaller pick. Needless to say, I'm a LOT faster than I've ever been, and it's great!!! I wish I had had this stuff shown or revealed to me when I first started out, but, hey, anything is rarely handed to you, and sometimes it takes some time, experience, and definitely trial and error along with observation to figure things out. Since I have these newly acquired skills, I need to learn how to actually use it constructively and with purpose! I guess I need to find some instruction on improvisation! Anywho, if you took the time to read this, THANKS! I'll have to post some vids of my progress at some later time. In a nutshell, when it comes to picking and increasing speed: Find some 3-note-per-string scales and learn them slowly to a metronome. When it comes to increasing speed, go up about 4 beats-per-minute, then 2, then 4 and so forth and so on; do this until you reach a speed that you can't keep up with. When you reach that wall, increase the metronome to 10-15 bpm and try it.... it will be sloppy, but after trying this for a minute or so, retry that speed you had trouble with previously, and your problems should be solved. (all of this is courtesy of Trypios - thanks buddy!). Record yourself; get some friends to watch your playing and critique your technique. This is what I did, and I was able to see what they saw after they pointed it out! And when I say friends, I mean those who are better than you or have solid technique, haha. Slow things down RIDICULOUSLY slow!!! Analyze your technique and look at ways you can improve, i.e. can I minimize my picking motion? Am I using my wrist or my whole arm? Do I need a harder/bigger/softer pick? When it comes to minimizing picking motion, this is TRULY a good and efficient way to increase speed and accuracy. As it is said a LOT, less is more! The smaller your movements (well, Syu is the exception!), the faster you can pick. Try speed bursting exercises.... this is how I was able to gain speed a little bit quicker. Take a 3-note, 2-string sequence like 17-15-13 on the e and B strings, set the metronome to something slow like, 70 or 80 bpm and descend or ascend (13-15-17) doing 8th notes of the 6 notes, then do a blasted speed run of 16th notes of the 6 notes descending/ascending; do this as you increase the metronome 4-8 bpm. You can also change this up with a run that starts on the e string on the 13th fret, descending to the B string 17-15-13-15-17 back up to 13 on the 3 string and repeat... this stuff really helps with accuracy! You can do something similar starting on the A string and descend down to the low E string and back up! I had to learn how to pick consistently across all strings as well; which I pick uniform across them all now Well, again, I hope you got something from this and can appreciate a little bit of my personal experiences. Take care!