After reading a lot on this site and the forum I decided to buy a stiffer pick. I had an old flexible one. I bought (amongst others) a Dunlop Jazz III (red) which is something like 1,38 mm thick.
I had lots of problems with Troy Stetina's exercise 25 from Speed Mechanics: I couldn't do it faster than 110. The book says you have to do it at 132 before you proceed... My plectrum frequently got stuck behind a string. Whe I tried to play it at 120 it was a mess. Specially the thicker strings...
When i came home I stumbled accross the page on this site about 'slant' (edit: http://www.guitarprinciples.com/Guit...ique/Slant.htm)
. I never heard of that before! I thought: I have to try this!
I picked up my guitar and played the exercise. I had to get used a bit to the thicker pick and the slant position, but after a VERY short while I suddenly had a nice, steady pick! I also paid close attention to any tension I noticed. I've read a lot about it on this site, but haven't got the book (yet) so I don't know ALL about it, but, well, there's quit some info here if you look well! Anyway, I noticed (indeed) that my shoulders were tense. And both my arms. Specially my pick arm, when I tried to pick quick.
But after paying attention to it all, I suddenly had a nice, light but still very pick-sounding pick. The exercise went quit well.
I wondered how fast I was playing.
I took the metronome and set it to 120 immediately: I felt I was doing better than yesterday, so...
I started to play with the speed I just played in and to my surprise I was faster than the metronome. So I went to 130... and I still played the exercise well. Although not quit good on the tick strings.
I had to go away for the evening. When I came back I thought: was it really true...? So I picked up my guitar and played th eexercise at 120. Easy! Smooth! I went to 130: pretty nice!
How fast can I get, I thought, so I went to 140. And even that went well. Just as 'well' as 130 was earlier on.
So... I thought, what will happen when I try 160...? Believe it or not (I hardly believed it) but it went well on the thin strings! And when I went back to 140 that went even better than before!
So thanks to a harder pick AND slant (I really notice a big difference when I go back to my old position) I've made great progress!
But what also surprised me a lot: until today, even yesterday, my right arm sort of froze when I tried to play at 120. I could play the exercise on two or three strings, but then I couldn't do it anymore, because of the stiffness and pain. My arm would just block.
But today, by just paying attention to play it all VERY relaxed and allowing no tension AT ALL in my arms, I could play the complete exercise over and over! Without ANY pain ANYWHERE! Really, I'm not kidding!
I already said: I don't even have the book, I didn't even follow a lesson, but if only this can give me such a progress, I can only say, without having seen it: this method MUST be great!
Just as my new pick and the 'slant'!
I'll go on tomorrow with doing the exercise at a slower pace, because it's not perfect yet. And also my coordination isn't very good yet (this exercise focuses mainly on the right hand: I can't play 160 yet with both hands having to work hard...!), but I know now I will get there!
I don't think I will be able to make such a progress in such a short time anymore, even though it's a progress in just a small part of my guitar plpaying (the picking speed)... Going from 110 to 130/140 and even 160 here and there is incredible.
I'm a happy man!