#1
Listening to the Human Abstract has really inspired me to get better at guitar. But Im not anywhere near their level. Can someone recommend some scales and practice techniques and solo techniques to help me get that good? A song I would love to play by them is Vela, Together We Await the Storm. I have an Ibanez RG with EMGs and a Line 6 Spider III 75 watt.
#2
You're in luck. A.J. Minette is actually my teacher, and he advocates playing short scale fragments in order to build speed quickly (well, at least faster than playing huge six string ideas).

One exercise he has play me is a chromatic sixteenth note pattern on EACH string moving from the first fret to the twelfth, and then back down. This can be very challenging, as it requires a very relaxed wrist and a lot of attention to fretting hand economy of motion.

Overall, I would suggest looking into Petrucci's "Rock Discipline" DVD. A.J. told me he went through a lot of the exercises at the slowest tempo possible until he could burn through them. If you notice in A.J.'s liner notes on the "Nocturne" CD booklet, he even goes as far as to thank Petrucci, hahahaha.
Quote by Junior#1
Gilbert mutes with both hands. Palm muting and left hand muting. As for anchoring, he doesn't. He doesn't need to. After all, he's the creator of life, the universe, and everything.
#3
Get your alternate picking down first. Not all of their songs are hard, try Polaris.