I've been playing for maybe four years, and I feel like I'm hitting a wall. I typically play just blues, rock and death metal stuff, but lately I auditioned into the top jazz band at my high school. I've gotten a lot more accustomed to that sort of playing, and I thought the ingrained knowledge of chords and scale patterns from jazz would transfer over to my other playing, but it hasn't really.

I think I'm just too caught up in old bad habits. For instance, I always play with my pinky finger a good inch and a half off of the fret board. I use it all the time, but whenever it's not being used it just sticks up in the air and it makes it really difficult to use quickly, like for shredding or really complex metal licks.

My other problem is my alternate picking. I just realized a few weeks ago that I've never really learned how to economy pick, and I think it's really getting in the way of my development as a guitarist. For an example, the big, famous descending lick in the bridge / outro of Pantera's Cowboys from Hell almost demands economy picking, but I just can't do it. I can physically move fast enough and accurately enough, but I get all sorts of excess string noise from brushing up against strings as I pass over them with the pick. I just can't teach myself to get into economy mode.

Can anyone give me some advice on how to unlearn these habits? It really sucks when you know what the problem is but you can't do anything about it...
Quote by Powerhouse
I was in a nu-metal band when I was 15. I hated the top 3 strings (G,B, and E). I wondered why guitars even had them.
I personally haven't had any bad habits, and i'm not really sure of the advice that you are asking, but it sounds like you just really need to concentrate on how you are playing with you pinky to find a good position, and try looking on this websites lessons for picking skills
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Slow down and play carefully, making sure you're not using your bad habits, as you get better you can speed up gradually.

I used to anchor my pinky on the 1st string, I've managed to stop now
Quote by Ben Godden
I personally haven't had any bad habits

Um... lol...okay.... I guess you're a fortunate one.

Well, I've had lots of them and corrected lots of them. Basically it's as simple as:
don't practice your bad habits and do enough of that.

If your pinky is sticking up, you'll have to slow your playing down to the point where
you can watch it and control it. This may be painfully slow at first. Figure out what
it is that's causing it to raise (usually tension). Then watch it like a hawk and
make sure it doesn't. With repetition your body begins to get the idea and it will
get easier, until at some point, you won't have to think about it any more.