#1
I have noticed that I have not been able to increase my picking speed for perhaps the past year.

I can play increasingly complex songs, but the speed in which I can play them has not increased.

Whenever I try and play faster and faster, I start to tense up, which instantly leads to fatigue and sloppiness.

For example, I can play along with Killswitch Engage's Rose of Sharyn at 85% speed with no issues, however increasing it to 100% and I start to tense up and play sloppy.

Any ideas of good exercises I practice with to increase this? I really like playing metal, and this is severely limiting the songs I can learn if I want to play at full speed.

Washburn X50PRO FE (GuitarHeads active bridge pickup)
Dean Vendetta XM
Jet City JCA20H head, w Eminence Texas Heat 12"
Danelectro Transparent Overdrive
Ibanez TS7
DigiTech RP-255
Behringer VD1 (Big Muff PI clone)
#2
Give up playing fast and start playing blues influenced pentatonic riffs. Find different sources of natural distortion by using dissonant tones. Then branch out into alternative Red Hot Chili Peppers esque songs using mainly clean tones. Occasionally kick up the gain only to be frustrated at the fact that your high gain tone is still not at all what you want, and that you still haven't gotten any better at sweep picking. Then put down the guitar and go watch music videos. Then remember you have homework, and take a shower and go to sleep.

At least thats what I've done.
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#3
relax and play with tiny, easy movements. start out slow again while keeping this in mind. you may have to reevaluate your whole playing technique.
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#5
If you're hurting from playing, check your technique. You can get plenty of speed without wrecking your wrist.
#6
Get a metronome and build speed with it. Find a tempo you can play it perfectly at and then bump up the bpm by like 5 or something and work at it until you get it perfect at that tempo. Then just keep bumping it up until you reach your target tempo.
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Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
#7
for me to get the speed of trivium down, i had to play their songs for about a month till i got the hang of it, i was uber sloppy at first but now i've gotten used to their fast right hand picking, so i would suggest not to give up on playing the songs. I also noticed that when i play with another guitarist my speed bumps up by 10% naturally lol.
#8
Quote by tronester
I have noticed that I have not been able to increase my picking speed for perhaps the past year.

I can play increasingly complex songs, but the speed in which I can play them has not increased.

Whenever I try and play faster and faster, I start to tense up, which instantly leads to fatigue and sloppiness.

For example, I can play along with Killswitch Engage's Rose of Sharyn at 85% speed with no issues, however increasing it to 100% and I start to tense up and play sloppy.

Any ideas of good exercises I practice with to increase this? I really like playing metal, and this is severely limiting the songs I can learn if I want to play at full speed.

The reason players hit "walls" in their playing is because they don't have sufficient economy of motion to perform the picking movement at the speed they want.

The way to get past this is to slow down your picking and focus on making your picking motion as small and economical as possible. When you practice really slowly, make sure that your picking motions are clean, fluent, and optimally small. Gradually increase your speed and make sure that you're still using small, pick strokes even at higher tempos. You'll notice a pretty dramatic increase in speed doing this, especially if your picking motions are currently large and forceful as opposed to small and optimize their energy use.

Paul Gilbert had a great line about this to the effect of "It doesn't matter how softly you pick because you can always just turn the volume knob a little higher to make up for smaller, less forceful strokes". If you watch the guys from Meshuggah, their pick movements are tiny and very comfortable, but they're getting a tremendous sound regardless.
#9
Quote by tronester
I have noticed that I have not been able to increase my picking speed for perhaps the past year.

I can play increasingly complex songs, but the speed in which I can play them has not increased.

Whenever I try and play faster and faster, I start to tense up, which instantly leads to fatigue and sloppiness.

For example, I can play along with Killswitch Engage's Rose of Sharyn at 85% speed with no issues, however increasing it to 100% and I start to tense up and play sloppy.

Any ideas of good exercises I practice with to increase this? I really like playing metal, and this is severely limiting the songs I can learn if I want to play at full speed.

Do the following, it always works for me

Go from 85% to 100% and over that to maybe 115% of even 125%. Make sure to be warmed up, primed mentally and focused while doing this drill.

Do this for 3 - 4 days in a row. Then after that period notice how much easier 85% will feel. This will train your brain and body that there are speed it is capable of above the 85% you are stuck at.

Hope this helps