As discussed in the forum, alternate picking is one of the most important techniques to learn, because you can alternate pick almost anything; the same, however, does not apply to other techniques like bends and slides.
Here is a simple exercise you can do, using the intro of Mighty to Save:
Some alternate picking tips:
- Keep your tempo constant, use a metronome, for example this free one which you can download into your mobile phone. As you master the riff at a certain tempo, increase the speed gradually.
- Keep your fretting fingers close to the fretboard, because excessive movement slows you down.
- Keep movement on your picking hand small: there should be more wrist movement, rather than arm movement (which is used more when strumming). Also, only the very edge of the tip of your pick touches the string. If you play unplugged you should barely hear a sound from the strings.
- You're not going to improve if you practice once or twice a month only. Its just like building muscles or stamina - as an athlete needs regular, intense training, so does a musician need regular, intense, practice. However, do not overstrain yourself - I've sustained wrist and finger strains before, and it isn't pleasant.
All you have to do is to keep repeating
You can, of course, invent your own exercise, all on the same string for a start. Cook up 'finger twisters' (as opposed to tongue twisters) like (no video):
Note that these are mainly stationary exercises, meaning that you can keep your left hand stationary. I'll probably post exercises where you left hand has to move up or down in the future.