So to get straight to the point, I recently decided to pick up playing again. I never played much in the past, just messed around. I recently decided to dedicate myself, and I've seen leaps and bounds of progress but other areas I'm not happy with.

So I'd like you lovely people to give me suggestions for practice! Whether its scales, songs that focus on my weak areas, or whatever else you could think of that's essential!

I've been playing generally 3-4 hours a day, and once every week or two I only play for an hour. Despite all this, I'm lacking in a few areas such as Palm muting. I enjoy metal, and while I'm much faster than when I started, I still obviously can't keep up with some songs. I'm also lacking in chord transitions. Last month it could take me a full minute to find my next chord in a progression, but now it's closer to 2-5 seconds. I also slightly struggle with finger picking.

I spend time working on playing in time with a metronome, working on chord transitions, songs that use alternate picking, or songs that use finger picking like dust in the wind or a few metallica songs.

I've only used this site for tabs, but now that I'm registered I see nifty lessons that I'm planing on investigating but I would like input from the knowledgeable community here!

For those of you who didn't care to read my rambling garbage, I want suggestions for tabs, scales, or things you consider essential to practice. I could use improvement on finger picking, Palm muting, chord transitions etc.

I mainly enjoy classic rock and metal, but I'm happy to branch out and learn things from other genres. If this is in the wrong section, I'll be happy to post in the correct one!

You don't need to take the effort to find me links or anything like that, id just like ideas or a general direction on things that focus on my areas that are lacking. (I'm sure i suck at much more than what I said, but those areas are the ones im seeing that arent progressing as fast as the others)
Last edited by Ankhs_Pentagram at Oct 4, 2016,
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single most useful principle for technique is to never use more physical effort than is necessary to get the notes to sound the way you want them to sound. palm muting? don't mash your palm onto the bridge, just touch it. fretting a quick passage? use your fingers and your thumb, and leave your wrist and rest of the arm out of it. huge bends? hold your fingers down just enough to fret the string and let your wrist do the rest of the work. alternate picking? relax your picking hand as much as possible in between the upstrokes and downstrokes.
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It's ok not excel in every technical department all at once. You are establishing your own style, so to speak. Of course, you want to get the basics down, but some things are going to take much longer than others. For example, I've been playing for decades, but my alternate picking is always a work-in-progress and my fingerpicking is straight up garbage. Instead of jumping around from one style to another, I think it's important to focus on 1 or 2 songs and really get them down pat - every lick, chord change, technique and expression down to a T. Then move onto a new song. Yes, it can be boring but it forces you to practice every section with full focus and discipline. At least that's how it works for me.
Ankhs_Pentagram The best thing to do if you are frustrated about technical skills is study some theory. Learn the patterns for major and minor scales, from there, pentatonic, whole tone, octatonic, chromatic etc. Learn where octaves are on the fretboard, fifths, fourths, thirds. etc. Learn why chords are shaped the way they are.
I hit a wall like a year ago and stopped playing for about 8 months but learning theory rejuvenated my interest.
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I'd say put some effort into legato. Generally, if you're good enough at it, you can use it to fake all the techniques you're NOT good at yet. It's brilliant.

Hey Ankh,

From reading your OP, I would highly suggest working on the chord transitioning first.
That is a pretty essential skill that you should definitely get down before moving into things like palm muting or fingerstyle. (These are more stylistic techniques).

A few key things to know for chord switching is that you should know the chords that you're transitioning to pretty well. If you're having trouble with grabbing any particular chord, I would work on memorizing it or trying to grab it faster on it's own.
Then work with the tough chord in context and see if you can transition to it and then on to the chord after it.
Make sure when you transition to a chord, it's already in your mind what the next chord is while you're playing. Thinking ahead relieves a lot of the mental energy you use by having to react right before the switch.
Then work on the timing, you can play along with the song as a way to make sure you stay in time.

I would tackle each skill you want to learn one by one until you're more comfortable with them. If you hop around, you might get the temptation to just jump to another subject once it gets tough. Like everyone else Sayonara said, you don't have to excel at everything at once. We all learned by picking up one thing at a time and we're all still learning.

If you need specific advice on anything let us know and we'll be glad to help.
Hope this helps!
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Yeah, you want to start out slow and develop good habits foremost before speed which comes as a biproduct of muscle memory. Just go slow and slowly raise tempo incrementally as you become fluent.

As for scales.. i'd learn the major scale positions and some Pentatonic positions. Then play then backwards and forwards. The A Minor pentatonic is where I learned to do alternate picking and palm muting. It's good to practice controlling it over the scale. For example starting out palm muting and slowly releasing pressure as you traverse the scale to the end where you aren't even applying palm muting then as yo come back down to the starting note reapplying it. That worked for me at least.

On chord transitioning. I learned this trick from an instructor which really helps. Using a hammer-on kind of approach to hammer-on the chord repeatedly. It sounds wonky but it really helps develop the muscle memory you need to quickly bring your fingers right back there from any position.