Becoming A Shedder!


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Ron2xRon2x
06-05-2006, 08:56 AM
Welcome to the first of my 'Becoming A Shredder' lessons. I've written this lesson because so many that I have seen are just 'here are some examples, use a metronome and play them over and over again' but they never go into that much detail. Over 4 lessons, I'm going to cover the main aspects of shredding; alternate picking, sweep picking, legato and string skipping and try show you how to actually improve your playing instead of just giving you licks to learn.
Alternate Picking
First things first, to actually build up some speed, you need to make sure your picking the strings the right way. Most guitarists use movement in their wrist only, and this is what I'd advise. Some move their entire fore-arm at the elbow joint which works, but can lead to muscle problems down the line, and it's harder to stay relaxed when picking faster. Another way is to just move the fingers holding the pick, but that's just damn hard so I'd recommend using your wrist.
Set your metronome to 90bpm and play the following lick looping for 3 minutes non-stop. If you make any mistakes at all, then it's too fast. Slow it down by 5bpm and try again until you reach a speed you can comfortably play without tensing up. Similarly, if it's too easy, increase the speed by 5pm until you find the right speed for you. Remember, any mistakes and you'll just be teaching your hands to make mistakes, so don't be afraid to slow it right down. The lick is made up of two triplets, and needs to be played twice for one bar (one cycle of four beats). Start on a down stroke.
Lick 1
|------------------------|
|------------------------|
|------------------------|
|--------------9---------|
|--9--10--12-----12--10--|
|------------------------|
Write the lick down as it's one you'll need to add to your 'shred practice' routine. Now that you have found a rough speed you can play triplets at, you can start to practice other licks.
Two terms you may have come across are 'inside' and 'outside' picking. This basically refers to how you pick when changing onto different strings. If you you played a downstroke on the D string then an upstroke on the G string, this would be outside picking. The lick above uses outside picking, which most people find easier. Lick 2 below uses outside picking and helps to coordinate all your fretting fingers with your picking hand for ascending runs. Lick 3 is exactly the same, but uses inside picking and a descending pattern. Start both licks with a downstroke, with each set of three notes as a triplet. Use the same method as before with the metronome, but don't be afraid to slow the tempo down if you make mistakes, the focus at the moment is clarity, not speed.
Lick 2
|----------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------|
|------------4--5--7-----------4--6--7---|
|---4--5--7-----------4--6--7------------|
|----------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------|

Lick 3
|----------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------|
|---7--5--4-----------7--6--4------------|
|------------7--5--4-----------7--6--4---|
|----------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------|
Now that you have established a comfortable speed for these licks, you have your starting point. What you need to do now for your practice schedule is play lick 1 as described for 3 minutes using a metronome, then take a break of 2 minutes, NO NOODLING, then do the same for lick two, then lick three. I can't stress how important it is to make sure you play cleanly with no mistakes, even if it means swallowing some pride and admitting you have to play slower than Busted. Remember to completely relax your hands between each lick to avoid muscle damage.
I try and do a cycle of these licks at least 6/7 times a day, EVERY day, just slipping them into my normal practice routine. After two weeks solid of playing them at this tempo, increase it by 5pm and do the same for another two weeks, and so on. It does take time, but you'll end up with a flawless technique. After you've built up some speed, try creating other short licks that might incorporate techniques that you're not so comfortable with. I personally had problems with descending runs, so I made as many variations of lick 3 I could to try and tackle this.
Unfortunately, these exercises don't sound amazing on their own in a solo, so the trick is to take this approach and use it on longer 'solo' licks. By building a vocabulary of your favorite one's you can start to incorporate them into your improvising, which should already be a part of your practicing schedule. Believe me now when I say it will take years to reach the level where you can completely improvise at high speeds using just scales etc. A lot of the time when you hear shredders on the radio or whatever, they're solo's are made up of lots of different bits they're made up or stolen from other guitarists. That's ok to do! That's basically it for this lesson. As mentioned above, you should practice all your licks (in fact anything you can't play well) in this way.
:peace:

KurrptSenate
06-05-2006, 09:02 AM
eh...

ss311
06-05-2006, 09:04 AM
good lesson

Acoustix
06-05-2006, 09:21 AM
gd lesson... Guess practice is key eh...

Resiliance
06-05-2006, 09:26 AM
Wrong forum.

TheHeartbreaker
06-05-2006, 11:08 AM
Yeah, this has nothing to do with Blues/Jazz...

Good lesson, though. :p:

Falcatarius
06-05-2006, 03:10 PM
A fine lesson, good job. :)

I think a mod needs to move this though. It'll never die out otherwise.

Cheers
-Falcatarius

Scorzerci
06-10-2006, 07:17 AM
Shred forum dude....