#1
I am not taking lessons right now. I've picked up copies of Troy Stetina's Thrash and Speed Metal Guitar, Metal Rhythm Guitar, Metal Lead Guitar, and Speed Mechanics and I'm trying to learn from books for the first time.

I'm starting on Thrash and Speed Metal Guitar. How do you guys work through these types of books?

I have been working through this book one exercise at a time, trying to play the exercise at the same tempo as the example mp3s. Some of the mp3s are really fast, I have to practice for a while to get them up to speed. But once I can play it as fast as the mp3, I move on to the next exercise and never come back to it. Then repeat until I have done all the exercises in the book.

Does this sound right? How long does it take you guys to get through these books? Do you leave them for a while and come back to them? I am planning to go through the above Stetina books, along with the Rock Discipline video, and if I have time Speed Kills. I have a feeling that is more than a year's worth of work...

Another question about practice routine - about how much time do you spend learning songs for your repertoire? I currently spend about 2/3 of the time I spend practicing on learning songs. I try to learn songs that will stretch my abilities, and I try to work on about 3-4 songs at a time.

It's really weird with learning songs - some songs I want to learn all the way through including solos, some songs I am satisfied with just knowing the main riff. So when I'm asked how many songs I know, sometimes I say hundreds, but really if I count the number of songs I can play - including solos - at the correct tempo, it is less than 20.
#2
For practicing that stuff I'd say don't get hung up on any one exercise. Practice it
until you think you've gotten as much as you can out of it for the time. When you
come back to it later, you'll almost always find it easier.

About songs... hm. I've been playing about 30 years. I probably "know" maybe
a few songs. But, I mostly practice improvising, so I'd like to think I can just
take whatever chord progression or song and just start playing over it. All depends
what you want to do...