I know this has probably been asked a million times, but here it goes. I've been playing for around 4 years, and my basic techniqe is solid and consistant. I never got around to learning shred and i'm wanting to get into it more. I've never really played outside of the minor scale and dont know too much theory. I like metal, mainly newer death/thrash/black/core and some old Metallica style stuff as well. I dont really care to learn other guitarists music, but if I have to in order to learn then so be it.

Is this just a matter of practice makes perfect or should I know anything special before trying to learn this stuff? I want to sweep and get into advanced stuff too. What is the best way to get started? I've been told that knowing scales is a must, but that seems like a huge amount of work and time that I just dont have. I can't really afford lessons so a good website with practice tab on it would be ideal. Thanks for your time guys.
Well, I can't give much advice on the technique, but as far as theory goes - knowing lots of scales isn't a must, you just need to know how they feel. You'll never make much good music out of playing scales up and down all the time. Some scales you ought to look into and get the "feel" of, though, are the harmonic minor, double harmonic minor, diminished and augmented. Just try to see how they sound, and try to play some random stuff that sounds like it - it's very easy.

Also, I'd say you ought to check out the arpeggiated solo in the beginning of Dream Theater - The Glass Prison. It's helped me a long way writing leads.
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acually if you learn a few shred songs first...you can see how they use the scales, and also your technique will be a little better...then learn some scales and work from there...
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Thanks for the tips guys im on it. I'm gonna learn Mordecai by Between the Buried and Me from start to finish today and see what comes of it. Has a little bit of everything in it: shred, sweeps, clean shred, etc.
Learn ALL your scales/+modes, then practice with this video and a metranome for at least one hour per day:

John Petrucci's Rock Discipline.

There you have it.