I would like to share an extremely simple yet highly effective way to increase your picking speed.
All you have to do is to set up your metronome few (5-10) beats per minute higher than you can normally play straight sixteenth notes. Then play 8th notes and include short bursts of 16th. Then go back to 8th notes without pausing. Try it for at least 10 minutes a day. You will most likely see results after first session.
That’s it! As simple as it sounds!
Since we are working on picking hand speed, I would recommend to hold on only one note with your fretting hand so you can pay all of your attention to picking.
Example of simple practice routine using this method: set metronome to 140bmp and play straight 8th notes for three bars followed by one bar of 16th notes and repeat it.
There are two ways you can progress after it becomes fairly easy:
1. Increase number of 16th notes (i.e. every second bar or three bars of four)
2. Increase tempo.
You should keep in mind that the better you get, the more difficult it is to progress further. It is much easier to improve from 120bmp to 160bmp than from 200bmp to 210bmp. Do not get distracted if your progress slows down.
You can experiment with triplets and sextuplets or any other combination that you prefer. The idea is to play at comfortable speed for a while followed by a burst of faster notes.
Have fun and let me know how much have you improved during first session.
May your guitars roar,