Shredding. Part 1 - Fundamentals

author: Spanner date: 04/12/2005 category: guitar techniques
rating: 9.3 / votes: 154 
In this lesson I am going to teach you guys how to really build your speed and technique, and end up playing like your heroes (Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, whoever you are in to). This is the first in a series of lessons (they are all too long to put as one). Introduction. Shredding is a guitar style that most players like to refer to as literally taking the guitar up and playing as fast as you can (with proper guitar playing of course not just random notes and random times), and since I have been playing/listening to it for the last 25 years of my guitar playing life, I have been led to believe the same thing. If you people do not know I am talking about when I talk of a "shredder," take Zakk Wylde for example or Kirk Hammet or Steve Vai. Still lost? Well simply put, they literally pick their instruments up and let them scream! In this lesson (series of lessons), I am going to teach you all how to become great shredders like the men mentioned above, lets get started. There are many different styles that can be applied to shred as a musical style (guitar style) itself, but we will just spend these first few lessons building up your speed and technique. There are hundreds, of techniques used in shredding, and to list them all would probably take up a full page on your Microsoft word, so let's just stick with the main ones for now. The main techniques used in shredding include: 1) Legato 2) Tapping 3) Alternate picking 4) Sweep picking 5) Economy picking 6) String skipping You have all undoubtedly dealt with these techniques before, so here is just a quick recap/revision 1. Legato - Legato is simply a technique where you play notes "smoothly" (Legato means smooth) which means hammering on and pulling off. When playing legato make sure you keep your fretting hand in a boxed position and make sure you can not differentiate between the picked and legato notes. Check Legato Lesson out if you want a better intro. Legato as I mentioned above is to try to emulate smooth notes in your guitar playing, or very fast position shifting. Legato is good with the fact that it is one handed (in some cases) as it means you can tap with your right hand while simultaneously tapping with your left hand, which can produce some cool sounds - we will look into this in future lessons. 2. Tapping - Tapping is a form of legato. Left hand tapping could be described as legato if you don't pick any notes as you tap them. However right hand tapping, means fretting notes with the fingers of your picking hand. When performing tapping licks, tap with the side of your finger and then draw it back into your hand, and if possible use the other fingers of your tapping hand to mute unwanted noise. Check Tapping Lesson out if you want a better intro. Tapping could be described as a technique used to emulate wide intervals or just simply notes going all over the place Eddie Van Halen. There are a lot of cool things you can do with tapping, but we will stick with the fundamentals for now. 3. Alternate Picking - This is a technique where you simply (instead of picking towards the floor constantly) you down pick towards the floor, and then when bringing it back up, pick the string again. When alternate picking, make sure you keep your picking hand loose, as if you try too fast, you will be slowed down, and make sure you have good control of the pick - hold it tight, but not too tight. Check Alternate Picking Lesson out if you want a better intro. This technique could be used to emulate a fiery and aggressive style Dick Dale - Pulp Fiction theme or to emulate a long sustained note Jimi Hendrix. 4. Sweep Picking - This is a technique where you play the notes by "sweeping" across the strings. If you finger a chord and just play the notes contained in it (play each string separately) you are sweep picking. When sweep picking, again keep your wrist loose (use a wrist action when performing sweep and alternate picking), and when sweeping down towards the floor, tilt it slightly to increase your speed. Check Sweep Picking Lesson out if you want a better intro. Sweep picking is again mainly used to emulate wide intervals or just arpeggios themselves. 5. Economy Picking - This is a technique which combines the ideas of sweep and alternate picking (taking the most direct route to each new string). If you alternate pick any standard scale fingering, while playing your next notes on other strings, you are economy picking. When you economy pick you are basically combining the ideas of sweep and alternate picking, so make sure you keep your wrist loose and try not to tense up, and when switching strings make sure the pick is ready to (it is moving in the correct direction). Economy Picking is the method most shredders use to beef up their playing and double their speed. 6. String Skipping - This is simply a technique where you use the ideas of sweep picking and "skip" strings, while sweeping. When string skipping, you are using again the ideas of sweep and alternate picking, except you have to think of it as going over ramps (the strings you have to avoid are the ramps). Check String Skipping Lesson out if you want a better intro. This is also a technique used to emulate wide intervals (or vice versa - depending where you start). Shred tunes. Did you think I was only going to leave you with the fundamentals? Oh come on, I am not that evil. When I am teaching my students complex techniques or styles such as this, I try to put it in a fun sort of a matter (must be why I am a genius), so I am going to leave you with a tune to practice the techniques I mentioned above. Some of you may have heard of this tune, some may have not; it is called "Colorado Bulldog," by Mr. Big. Now this tune will take an awful lot of time effort and practice but it will pay off and prepare you for the hard lessons coming up. Since this is a long tune and would take up a lot of space, I am only going to transcribe licks I feel you do good learning.
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
G|--------4-7-9------7-9-12---------9-12-14---------12-14-16---------|
D|-2h5h7-------5h7h9-------7h9h12----------9h12h14----------12h14h17-|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

E|---------------------------------------10-12-15-----------12-15-17-|
B|-----------------------12-15-17----------------10h12h15------------|
G|-14-16-19----------------12h14h16----------------------------------|
D|---------14h17h19--------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

E|-19p17p15-----------17p15p12------------15p12p10-------------------|
B|------------17-15-12-------------15-12-10-----------------17p15p12-|
G|----------------------------------------------------16-14-12-------|
D|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|------15p12p10-----------------------------------------------------|
G|-14-12-9--------------16p14p12------14p12p9------12p9p7------------|
D|----------------17-14-12--------14-12-9-------12-9-7-----9-7-5-----|
A|-----------------------------------------------------------------s7|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

E|---------------------------------8-10-12-15p14p12------------------|
B|------------------------8h10h12--------------------15-13-12-15b(17)|
G|------------------5-7-9--------------------------------------------|
D|------------5h7h9--------------------------------------------------|
A|------3-5-7--------------------------------------------------------|
E|3h5h7--------------------------------------------------------------|

E|19-17-15-----------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------19-17-15--------------------------------------------------|
G|------------------16-14-12-----------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------16-14-12--------------------------------|
A|------------------------------------14-12-10-----------------7-9-10|
E|---------------------------------------------14-12-10-7-8-10-------|

E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------------------------17-------19-|
G|-------17---------19p17-19-19p17--17-------17h19---20p17---20p17---|
D|-17-1919p17-19----------------19---17h19--------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

E|-------------------17---------------17-----------------------------|
B|---20p17--17-2020p19-20b(22)--20-19h20p19p17--17-19p17---17-20-19-|
G|-20--------------------------------------------20----------20------|
D|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-h20p19p17-20-20p19p17--17-----------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------20---20-19p17--19-17-----------------14-|
D|------------------------------------------19-----19-19--14-16-17---|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
G|----------------14----------------14----------------14----------16-|
D|-17-16-14-16-17--17-16-14-16-17-17-16-14-16-17-17-16-17-19---19----|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
G|----------------16------------------16-------------------16--------|
D|-17-16-17-19----19-17-16-17-19----19-17-16-17-19----19-17-17-19-21-|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------------------17-------------------|
G|---------17----------------17----17h19h20--20-19-17-19-20-17-19-20-|
D|-21-19-17-19-21--21-19-17-19-21------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

  Tremolo picked-----------|
E|----------17--------------17-19-20-22b(24)--12-13-14-15-16-12-16---|
B|17-19-20---20-19-17-19-20-----------------11-13-14-15-16-----------|
G|-----------------------------------------------11-12-13-14-1513-16|
D|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
G|---7h8-t(9)-7h8-t(9)-7h8-t(9)-7h8-t(9)-7h8-t(9)-7h8-t(9)-7h8-t(9)--|
D|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

E|-------10-t(14)p10p9--t(14)12-t(14)p12p10p9-t(14)p10p9-------------|
B|9h10h12-------------12----------------------12--------12-t(14)p10p9|
G|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
D|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
Well that is the end of your first lesson in series on shredding; I hope you enjoyed it, and any feedback/questions would be much appreciated.
More Spanner lessons:
+ Shredding. Part 2 - Speed & Technique Guitar Techniques 07/01/2005
Comments
Your captcha is incorrect