I have been playing for 3 years, but I am having trouble with; bar chords, playing fast (like really fast), and finger independence.

With bar chords, I can bar classical guitars and some electrics. I cannot bar a steel string acoustic (which I need to know how to)

With playing fast... I can play some stuff fast[ish] but on things like thunder struck and eruption I cannot maintain a fast speed. Probably my biggest problem is the down up picking on the smaller strings (e, b, g, d)

And as far as finger independence... I have trouble using my pinky finger.

If you have any tips for any of my problems.. Thank you!
For bar chords you must grow balls.
The only advice they gave to me is not to over-stress the hand while doing bar chords, finding the right amount of pressure on the finger doing the bar, and sightly less on the other fingers, however that right amount of pressure is your homework to figure it out by practicing.
For fast playing you first have to learn to play precise and accurate slowing down the tempo, maybe with a metronome, and again, don't over stress and try to do the minimal movement while playing so you wont need to freak out with complicated moves once you try to play faster.
You just need to practice. Don't worry about speed, it will come. You can do some finger independence exercises but you need to do then slow and with a metronome. You need to be able to pick it clean before you increase the speed, never play faster than you can.

Always alternate pick. But again, if you can't do it really quickly you need to practice slower. If you play too fast that it sounds sloppy you'll never get it clean, so slow it down and only increase it to the speed that you can play it at.

Personally I would say just learn songs, learn lead guitar, learn stuff like Hendrix which has loads of cool solos. Learn the minor and major pentatonic in all 5 positions and look at the major scale.

So, always play at a speed that you can play it clean at, which may mean playing some very slow.

Play more lead guitar.

Learn scales so you can understand that lead guitar.

Practice. Just playing will stop the issues you have with barring. Try to play without tension too, you shouldn't be breaking your wrist to play. Again, playing slower will help.

I hope this helps!
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Last edited by Mephaphil at Jan 17, 2013,
Don't work on your speed in particular. Common beginner mistake. It will only slow down your general progress

Focus on:
Economy of motion
Correct posture
Fluidity in playing
Accuracy; correct execution of notes

When you have all of those down, speed will come naturally.
Always keep this in your head: "SPEED IS A BYPRODUCT OF ACCURACY!"

About the bar chords thingy; I STRONGLY advise you not to push yourself with the steel string guitar. Not that you shouldn't play with it, because it's a great instrument! You shouldn't push yourself in a way that you are exceeding your limits (Know your boundaries!). Doing will only result in build up of tension, which will result in bad sounding playing and injuries.

In this case, I'm talking about the high action of the guitar
-use your thumb to force your fingers to bar the chord: the thumb is for balance, not for pressure. Only use the thumb for force when doing stuff that requires additional pressure (like bends).
-expect to see giant leaps of improvements over night. Learn to walk before running. This applies to pretty much everything about guitar and life in general. Don't let this disencourage you - it's normal.