I've been practicing sweeping and shredding, but I don't seem to improve at all.

Granted I can play the master of puppets solo that i couldn't play before. And my alternate picking has gotten better. But when I try to go really fast it sounds terrible, like my left hand can't keep up. Or I don't sweep evenly (fast down slow up or vise versa).

So my question is this... am I just being a whiny bitch who doesn't practice enough? Or are there techniques that I'm not taking full advantage of?

When I hold the pick the tip's about half a centimeter away from the edge of my finger... is this ok? When I try to play the Dyer's Eve solo the strings sound REALLY twangy...

anyway! any help would be great, thank you in advance.
your not being a whiny bitch who doesn't practice enough, but you might just be expecting results too soon. Be patient.
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Jus keep practiceing and your playing will get better (remember to use a metronome). You will not see instant improvements but in the long run you will improve greatly (given that you practice everyday). As for fast alternate picking try changing picks to Dunlop Jazz III's (a lot of shredders end to use these). They are much smaller and much easier to handle at fast speeds.
The way to do it is to play it slowly at first. Then, once you can play it flawlessly, do it a little quicker. And so on and so forth till you get to the desired speed. It aslo helps if you use a metronome.

Trying to play fast right away is pointless.
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Well, firstly always start slow. If you try sweepin too fast at the beginning you tend to play very slopply and not evenly. Start slowly and make sure u can do all the notes evenly before gettin any quicker. a metronome would really help.
If you don't like the sound your getting out of your picking technique then try any of the following:

1) Watch your right hand. Try to consolidate movement. You want to keep your back-and-forth motion as small as possible.

2) Slow down and build up. Don't tighten up your right arm (especially your forearm) Not only can you develop tendonitis, but if you keep a loose wrist and forearm you will be a hundred times faster. Always

3) Move your right hand around. The closer you pick towards the neck/neck pick up, the louder your plectrum will sound. If you try picking closer to the bridge (keep your pick less than an inch away from where the string meets the bridge) you'll reduce picking noise and you may even be able to pick slightly faster. It will defintely sound cleaner.

In the same regard, make use of your electronics. Use your neck pick up for a more hollowed out sound, and your bridge pick up for a more trebly sound.

If none of that stuff helps you at all then you need to work on your technique to some degree. If you're not fretting notes right that's a huge problem. Basic things to know are placing your finger just above the silver fret divider, not applying too much pressure (if you push too hard the note will go sharp) and taking your time. If you try to make your fingers fly and you've only been playing for so long, you will sound like a fool.

As far as sweep picking is concernced, the trickiest part is the coordination. Get your left hand fingers into chord shapes that are easy to sweep, and then get them used to picking up as you sweep/strum. Start with three or four note arpeggios at a slow speed and then work your way up.

Your alternate/tremolo picking will develop the more you play and the more you use it. When I first started alternate picking, it was very difficult for me to alternate pick across and between strings. I would suggest starting by playing triplets on one string while alternate picking. Then try a scale up and down one string while tremolo/alternate picking. Do this as fast and as clean as you can without tensing up. Once you start to get good, try running some (six string) scales. You'll eventually find that you'll be able to hop across strings easily and you'll be able to play anything much faster.
Yea I have a similair problem but its my left hand not working fast enough. My right is pretty atuned to rythms and such but recently after starting work with a teacher I found a flaw in my technique--whenever I soloed I would use my pointer as a bar which I attribute to learning guys like Hammet and Clapton on my own cause they tend to stay in one box for extended periods of time. It's gonna take a while to get use to but it'll be worth it. I'll have only been playin 2 years on my bday but one thing I've learned thus far is you need to practice practice practice. So far I only go about 3 hours a day (cuz I don't want to hurt my fretting hand) but the more the better.
I just got it one day.

All of these pointers help, but you are ultimately just programming your brain to execute certain movements.

Do you know how to type? Imagine if you could play guitar as fast as you type! (64 words per minute, say..)

Same set of neurons firing, I think. Practicing slow allows your brain to get all of the little voltages right that make the right muscles move. The brain is really amazing at doing that. The brain/human hand combo is one of the true marvels of nature.

You have an incredibly strong machine capable of crushing stone (if you worked at it you could do it), doing battle, breaking through hard wood, swinging tools, lifting heavy objects...AND it is capable of fine art, music, surgery.

Shredding is simply a matter of using what you've got...what "God gave you" if you want to put it that way. Design/Evolution, whatever, the point is you've got it and it's a phenomenal tool.

To improve speed and speed alone, try working simple exercises like this:


...making sure to get the string jump over the high e.

There will be a tendency to want to cheat and go "down-up-down-down" which is called efficiency picking, but it is much more difficult to control and is a technique that you should work on later. It's more advanced and will allow for absolutely punishing speed once you have mastered alternate picking.

Efficiency picking is the fastest picking you can physically achieve. So why waste it at 180bpm?

Nail 180 with alternate...push it to 200..220..240?

When you reach a speed like that, 16ths at 220, then incorporate some efficiency picking for a little extra firepower. Until then, work on mastering alternate.

I did a whole lesson on this here: http://www.sinktothetop.org/Lessons/speed.html
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208 is still extrememly fast think about it
at 120 your doin 8 nps in 16ths 180 your doing 12nps so youll be lucky if you can go faster than 208 bpm
Quote by friedxrice
Dude, you won't get to 208 at 16th anytime soon, so don't worry about it.
i reached 208 yesterday morning. but i'm no good at going to a lower speed and playing double for every tick... what do i do? ;_; is there a better metronome online? or do i just have to .... spend money.... >>

and excuse me for being bad at theory still, but what's sixteenth mean in this case?
^16th notes signifies playing four notes per one click.

To be honest, you're better of learning to play in 8th notes and 16th notes as opposed to going out and buying a metronome because you're too lazy to learn.