After some reading and posting in a currently active political thread here, I feel just a little soiled and would like to cleanse myself a bit by offering something of a more practical and actionable nature.

I have found these two books to be particularly helpful in developing a technically solid picking technique, one “old” and one “new”:

Barry Galbraith #2 - Daily Exercises In Melodic & Harmonic Minor Modes

How to Develop Virtuoso Single Line Technique For Jazz Guitar

Working through these books slowly and patiently really helped my picking technique and tone and time improve.

For a good 15 years or so, I have committed to economy picking - downstrokes when changing strings towards the floor and upstrokes when changing strings towards the sky. But these studies work great for alternate picking, too.

Rafferty makes a suggestion I have found very helpful. Play the exercises very slowly and think of each note as a quarter note in a walking bass line, trying to get the roundest, richest tone you can for each note. Don’t be in a hurry, strive for tone and solid time first.