Now that I have the attention of the experts I'm 27, been playing for 14 of those years, and would now rate myself an intermediate player. I would say that I can play faster lead lines, improvise, and contribute creatively to my band. To use a well-known ability reference, I would say that I could belt out the solo from Stairway to Heaven pretty much dead on live... However, I really want to start getting serious about taking my playing to the next level. I think one of my biggest problems is that I got into the habit early on of using hamer-ons and pull-offs for lead lines. While most of the time this sounds okay and I can spout out some faster stuff, it's not really proper technique. Also, I have been recording stuff alot more, and I notice that the hammered-on and pulled-off notes aren't coming through as cleanly as I speed up. I've really started focusing on my alternating picking technique, and have built up what I would consider a fast right-handed picking attack on one string at a time. BUT...When I try to play those same lead lines with proper technique, i.e. without hammer-ons and such, I am having some trouble. I know there is no substitute for practicing hard, but do any of you veterens/teachers/experts have advice on picking out faster lead lines without relying on hammer-ons and pull-offs???? You know, pick placement, exercises, good books/videos??? I don't want to be the next Yngwie, but I would like to be able to play improvised solos at faster speeds in a clean, fluid fashion. Or should I just shut up and practice for 14 more years???