#1
Okay so I love shred guitar. Especially neoclassical. But, I'm stuck in a pentatonic rut and my alt. picking and legato techniques are pretty much at 0. I have been practicing for hours daily and seeing some great improvement but as far as direction goes i'm at a loss. Right now all I can play is Zeppelin style solos, but I wanna start learning what it takes to be an amazing shred guitarist. Could someone please direct me to some good lessons for skill improvement for shred and virtuoso guitar? I would greatly appreciate it. I just need some techniques to get me started. Thanks. -Josh
#2
Keep at it. If you have a good grasp of technique, especially a clean alternate-picking style with minimal tension, you'll get there. Mostly, speed is a byproduct of accuracy and tenacity.

To do a lot of shred-style stuff, you'll need to become very clean with a broad number of techniques at high speed. Common techniques are:

-Alternate picking: this is arguably the most important skill for any guitarist to have, especially a shredder. Fast, clean picking requires a great deal of practice to achieve. Practice with minimal tension in your wrist and use a metronome while you practice for chrissakes.

-Legato: be it like Alan Holdsworth or the normal hammer-on pull-off deal, legato is a fluid sounding technique that gives you a smoother sound than straight up alternate picking. Alan Holdsworth and Joe Satriani are good examples of players who use legato liberally and cleanly.

-Tapping:an extension of legato. It's most often seen in the three note variety, generally a triad. However, a number of musicians, Michael Romeo and Chris Broderick especially, go much further with tapping than just three notes at a time.

-Sweep picking: the "holy grail" of shred guitar. Sweep picking is usually used to facilitate playing arpeggios at high speed with minimal difficulty. Sweeping can involve a single arpeggio or a series of arpeggios connected to form a fast, complex melody. Jason Becker and Paul Waggoner are two well-known players who utilize sweeping in the latter manner.

Added to that is any other technique you want to throw in. Zakk Wylde is (in)famous for using chickin' picking in his playing. John 5 is heavily influenced by country guitarists. Jimmy Page (not really a shredder, but this is an awesome example) is known to use a violin bow to play the guitar in some songs. The above is by no means a complete compendium of every technique you need to know.

Additionally, a good knowledge of diatonic music theory is often recommended, especially if you intend to learn by ear and/or write your own music.

All of the stuff I just mentioned can be researched here on UG, though I'd recommend finding a teacher to really drive that stuff home. There is a huge sticky that's full of exercises to practice these techniques.
#4
Check the giant sticky at the top of the forum and get practising.


Also, baby shredders are wise to start with some Satriani or a fun Gilbert tune or two. You don't have to nail the death licks, but do make an effort!