Hey guys, new to this site, and glad I finally joined... you are going to shoot me after you read this.

I bought a guitar about 8 years ago when I was a freshman in high school. I bought it mainly to play punk and real easy stuff, and did NOT bother to practice like I should (what a shame, hindsight is 20/20).

I am trying to start practicing everyday rather than just fooling around and playing songs, and wanted some advice.

The worst thing about my playing is I have plateaued with my picking, I really can't pick fast at all. Other than the 1-2-3-4 (and variations of that) what else would you suggest I look into? I have a metronome and have started using that daily.

I think this is where I want to start first. With all the other fancy stuff (tapping, hammer ons, pulloffs, etc.) I can find things to help my technique.

Thanks much!

Just try to play along to things that you like. Playing is the main way to improve your 'everything' on guitar. As long as you are playing, you are practicing anyway.
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i think the way i've progressed the most technique-wise is still just by playing songs that i like, rather than any kind of exercise. so make sure that when you're listening to music you keep an eye out for any technical-sounding songs that you think you have any chance at all of being able to play in the near future, but even more importantly sounds awesome. you can start keeping a list of songs you'd like to eventually learn and that'll be like your lesson plan.
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One thing that really helped me to improve was improvisation:after my usual warmup routine(1234 2341,and so on)i used to launch some blues backing tracks(back then i only knew the minor pentatonic)and fired away...it sounded ****ty at first for some time,but by playing i think you get the hang of phrasing and bending notes in tune...so it's a good thing to practice some improvisation,maybe even over the songs you like
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Well, I would LOVE to play eruption... does that count?

hah sure it counts, if you think you're that good. but if you don't think you're ready yet or you're really struggling, that'd be a good song to put away in a list for now while you find other easier songs that you find technically challenging but still possible to play at your level.
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It was a joke! At any rate, I have really been trying to practice left hand independence, etc.

I have been playing major scales up and down the fretboard and realized I plateau around 112BMP with 4 notes a beat. Nothing great, but at least I know where to start...

Any suggestions on songs? I think I am starting myself too high (VH Panama, ATBL, etc.)
Hmm. I understand yer problem here. I was very lazy in pushing myself harder in order to learn more, but in the recent years I've improved my ability to play more intricately through just pushing myself to my limits.

First and foremost - in my opinion - build the strength in your fingers. Play as fast as you can, going through scales and different note progressions. Mix some hammer-ons and pull offs in there, with chord changes as well in between. Fast isn't always good - but it helps build strength. I personally don't think learning songs is necessarily the best way to learn - just jam. That way it helps with your improvisation and doesn't make you feel like crap because you can't play what you want to play.

Probably not your type of music, but I found Death, Black Sabbath and Slayer helped me out with my playing abilities. A lot of their songs are pretty 'basic', fun to play and helps with rhythm, string skipping etc. Don't bother trying to learn solos yet. Go for rhythm. Weirdly enough, however, I knew a guy who could play Eruption note for note using a pedal for the whammy bar, but couldn't play ANYTHING else at all. It was bizarre.
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Last edited by Talonwolf at Jul 5, 2009,
im not much of a guitar pro myself but what i found that helped my picking alot was just trying to learn some scales and then play them at random places around the neck both acending and then decending. there are also alot of handy finger exercises out there, could prob find loads on this site to be honest.

good luck
I have been doing the major scales, pentatonic scales, and chromatic scales. I usually just sit down and do all of that ~30 min a day. I have noticed some improvement already, so heres to hoping I am on the up and up!!