Ok so I have a bunch of questions because today is one of those days.

1. Ive been playing on and off for a little over a year now and have just started to become alot more serious and committed to my guitar playing. Since its been awhile since I was playing regularly (I started playing again around the first week of June) I was wondering if I should focus on my open chords more or just keep practicing barre chords for the most part. There is a cover of Heart Of Gold by Neil Young in my profile and it would be great if you could tell me if I should continue to work on them more or focus more on barre chords.

Mods: I dont think question number 1 goes against the rule of making "How good am I" threads but if it does I would gladly have that question removed just dont close down the whole thread please.

2. Since Im going to be practicing barre chords like crazy what are some ways that you practice barre chords? Im really just looking for ideas because the only way I have been practicing them is doing them SUPER SLOW with my metronome switching between them.

3. Ok ill admitt it, my technique is crazy sloppy. Songs like Take Five that I have been practicing for weeks I still cant play at half speed decently. And on top of that I have no technique exercises. So some technique exercises would be a god send. I would probably want them to build finger strength and practice alternate picking. Any exercises that are helpful but dont have to do with those two things would also be awesome as well.

4. Speaking of alternate picking, my guitar teacher taught me that you down pick on the down beat and pick up on the up beat. Now I recently started thinking about this and if you have to pick super fast wouldnt that totally throw away the concept if you were doing 16th notes. Could some buddy clear this up for me?

Ok Thanks

Note: Im playing on an acoustic if that makes a difference
Well since your at so low of a level, i suggest you just practice everything more. Practice your open chords so they are perfect, Just go up and down scales to practice alternate picking, and about the 16th note thing its just good habit if you always alternate pick the same way, its good to be able to do both i suppose but the one you talk about is easiest and makes most sense.
Id say the biggest thing you need to to is just Practice, ALOT.
I never did really progress at the speed i wanted but after a month of practicing youll realize how much youve gained. Thats if you practince every day.

Quote by KeepOnRotting
+Infinity. This dude knows good metal.
1.practice what you feel you`re less good at,if its barre chords,then go for it.
2.aint got any fancy tips.. just keep on practicing the shapes,making sure you get a clean sound on every string.
3.do chromatics... nuff said
4.i honestly dont believe in picking rules.. just pick in a way you feel comfortable,and it actually works for you
Ok thanks, does anyone else have any opinions/suggestions?

Also could you explain chromatics?
by saying chromatics,i mean you do the 1-2-3-4 exercises... these are chromatic movements.. therefore are called chromatics..
I agree with LaGrange in that you should practice everything. Barre chords are a real test of your ability to tolerate cramping in your fretting hand. Over the years, after learning chords by the formulas and not by the 'pictures' of the finger placement, its surprising just how rarely I use them. Whatever chord, scale or technique you practise, you should attempt to get it accurate and clean before trying to make it fast.

You might check out http://www.reallylearnguitar.com/chordformulas.htm to see what I mean by 'Chord Formulas'.

The muscle memory in your hands actually 'learns' the mistakes you play while practising. That's why it's real important to concentrate on quality. The speed comes to you really fast if you practice with a metronome starting out as slowly as it takes to get it right. Then, gradually increase the tempo over time.

If you try to play faster than you can execute the exercise properly, you'll wind up being a really fast, sloppy player. Muscle memory 'learned mistakes' are almost impossible to un-learn.

Alternate picking is just that. No one says you have to always do it while playing. However, you'll probably always struggle with your speed and accuracy if you don't get good at it first.
Jam On!
i have been playin for a year and a half..i have a fender strat bass..my buddy is a god of the guitar but also likes to take pills...he got me interested and only played twice with me....i taught my self completly from ultimate guitar and bass tabs...crazy indeed..i just never stopped tryin and one day i figured out that chords worked best for me after i figured out what the chords on my guitar was..last night we got together and freakin rocked out he had no clue that all the practice i had put in to it had payed off..i never go a complete day without playin something..good luck and dont give up