#1
ok so im trying to stop anchoring, and me ad my friend were at guitar center trying some amps and generally messing around and i played the intro to "with oden on our side" by amon amarth, and my friend looks at me and goes "since when are you one of those guys?" and he did a trem picking motion but used his like whole arm to accentuate what i was doing.

since i began to try to stop anchoring(i sometimes find myself anchoring still from time to time but im working on it still) some things are really wierd. especially fast picking like in this song, and also not specificaly related to this, but more now than ever, its wierd for me to tell when exactly to palm mute and another thing that leads me to beleive im doing it wrong.

1. how can i get my picking back up to speed without anchoring and using my arm?

1b. my friend mentioned circle picking, i dont know if i like the idea of that as of now, but is it something to try?

2. palm muting. when NOT anchoring, when is it ok to mute strings? at mid to high gain, its really wierd to know when to mute certain strings.

2b. also, i feel wierd about muting during some leads. for example, there is a run in evolutionary sleeper that im learning/trying to bring up to speed. it starts on the 6th string on the 10th fret i think(not sure ive been in devin townsend tuning taking a break from that song for a while). its a 3 note per string thing, and it goes all the way upto first string. now, should i approach this like sweep picking? in that i should keep my right hand off of all strings until i go up to the 5th string, and then at this point mute the 6th with my palm? if so, this is what ive been trying and it just feels wierd, as does attempting a 6 string sweep in this manner, or any run in general. i learn alot from paul gilbert and look at his style, it seems he likes to mute the lower strings when doing runs alot and to me it seems he feels the same way and mutes them for that reason haha, but id like to do things like evolutionary sleeper and have it not feel weird(idk my playing maybe doesnt feel... as solid? idk how to describe) any ideas on how to overcome this?

3. one more thing regarding the muting, i dont do a ton of sweeps actually i only do like two of them and ones th duncan hills coffee jingle hahah. but when i do this, i noticed that the sound of me palm muting the previously played string, like just my hand moving across the strings makes a scratching noise i noticed the other day, and then my sweeps dont sound as clean. i mean its not a huge noise but its enough for me to notice it. i can only imagine other times it happens and i dont notice it. really something i might have to record myself to figure out. any ideas on how to fix this? different techniques for muting sweeps?

4. last thing, sorry its so much, but just one more. how do i start on improvising? i want to be able to make my own music, i want to be able to "just play" and jam without anything in particular but a feeling in mind. and i want to be able to go into guitar center and play something other than cover riffs to test an amp lol. i dont care about fast improv yet, but i want to get something going for now at least. leads primarily, but rythym too. please dont recommend blues scales and what not, i dont like the blues. i have maybe a scale or two under my belt, but i dont know where to go from there. technically i shouldnt even need scales right? tons of people improvise without ever knowing any. while i probably will learn scales and whatnot, i want to be able to do other things first.


thanks for reading my wall of text.

tl:dr, i need help with palm muting and stopping anchoring, and how the hell do i improvise?
Gibson SG Special Faded(Super Distortion/PAF Pro)
Carvin V3M
Jet City JCA2112RC
Taylor 114e
Ibanez SR300e

Quote by Delanoir
In 60 years, there will still be Opeth.
You know why?
Death ain't got **** on Mikael.
#2
1- Just keep playing until it feels natural.
1b- Sure. It's not bad, just generally harder to learn than translation picking (side to side with wrist).
2- Don't see why not.
2b - Yes. Mute the lower strings with the palm/side of your thumb.
3- Probably should keep your fretting fingers on the notes after you play them until you absolutely need to move them to hit other notes with a stretch. I'm not that good at it though so best to wait for more answers on this one.
4- Learn the notes on the guitar really well, learn your scales, octave templates, and just jam a lot to backing tracks.
Check out these videos for improvising
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysN31SKkroU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfBKzEXFZDw
#3
now when you say palm/side of thumb that confuses me. i mute with this side of my hand which is definitely not my thumb. is this a problem?

http://www.mrspalmreader.com/userimages/hand-reading-melbourne2.jpg
Gibson SG Special Faded(Super Distortion/PAF Pro)
Carvin V3M
Jet City JCA2112RC
Taylor 114e
Ibanez SR300e

Quote by Delanoir
In 60 years, there will still be Opeth.
You know why?
Death ain't got **** on Mikael.
#4
That's basically what I meant. That's the side of the palm. You can either use that or the side of your thumb-meat, or even the thumb itself; by that I mean the fleshy part between the thumb knuckle and the base of the thumb where it connects to the wrist. Or simply the side of the thumb joint itself.
It's easier to show than tell...
Thumb muting with the side of the joint.
I can't find a picture showing muting with the fleshy part of the thumb but it's just like the joint except lower where it's squishy. You can use the palm-side instead of this, it might feel more comfortable.

Also, you can use the fingers to mute the treble strings...
Example picture.