#1
When a guitarist reaches shred level, are they able to shred everything, or just certain things? for example, say i get really fast with my G major scale up and down. Would i be able to play at that speed for all the major scales (and by definition all the other modes as well) or only G? and if thats the case, then what exercises do they do in order to get their speed up to that level for everything? I practice at least 2 hours a day warming up, running scales, and playing along with songs, but there has to be a secret ingredient in there that gets you to speed up faster. I can play 16ths at about 120, which is fast enough for most of the stuff i play, but i do want to be able to just shred my balls off.
#2
If you can do G major at 120 bpm, you should be fine playing any other major/minor scale at the same tempo without problems.

If you want to be able to play faster, there's really nothing more to it than practise. Do it with a metronome.
E:-6
B:-0
G:-5
D:-6
A:-0
E:-3
#3
With 'Shred Speed' as you call it, you're on the right path. Indeed, if you are able to get your major and minor scales to an ungodly speed, you'll be ahead, as you'll see, or hear a song, and just go 'AHA. That's what's going on.' And just like that, you'll have it. However, most shredders do not simply run up and down scales. You'll notice that while Yngwie's style is characterised by his Harmonic Minor scale runs that appear in most of his songs, he will also use different licks that aren't straight scale runs, and he'll use sweeps and taps sometimes. Despite the hatred that he seems to get, even Herman Li doesn't run up and down scales constantly, there is reason for most professional 'Shred' solos, and there is a lot of thought put into them, so if you are only accustomed to running up and down scales, you may run into trouble. The good thing is, though, is that this'll give you the coordination and finger speed to go onto these songs, so if you work on building up speed with scales while working on building up a solid Legato and Sweep Picking technique, you'll be laughing in time.

By the way, sorry if this is rude to say, but compared to most shredders, 16th notes at 120BPM isn't that fast. Keep building that speed up when you can, most Power Metal solos feature 16th note runs at speeds between 155BPM and 200BPM, and Dragonforce songs regularly exceed 200BPM, I'm almost certain that one of their more difficult songs is around 240BPM and has 16th notes being hit. Of course, this is the most extreme end of the spectrum, but there are always things to shoot for, right?
#4
You're forgetting one important thing...even shredders play music.

They can rip through scales at high speed because they're very good guitarists, not the other way round. Focussing on running up and down scales just to get fast at them teaches you one thing, how to run up and down scales, and that ain't playing the guitar. To get good at playing the guitar you have to have a methodical approach and cast your net as wide as possible in terms of influences. Your guitar skills stack, some things you learn lead onto others and it all builds on top of itself. If you take shortcuts or skip the basics because they're "boring" and you want to "get good fast" then you've got no foundation to build on and it all goes tits up pretty quickly.

You get good by practicing a hell of a lot and being brutally self-critical, it's got nothing to do with what you practice and everything to do with HOW you practice. Great guitarists pay attention to small details and work hard to perfect EVERYTHING they do, not just the showboating stuff. If you do that you'll do well, if you just sit there grinding through scales just so you can say you can play something fast well, you won't amount to much.
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#5
Quote by CelestialGuitar
Despite the hatred that he seems to get, even Herman Li doesn't run up and down scales constantly,
Dragonforce songs regularly exceed 200BPM, I'm almost certain that one of their more difficult songs is around 240BPM and has 16th notes being hit. Of course, this is the most extreme end of the spectrum, but there are always things to shoot for, right?

You mention Dragonforce and Herman Li without thought of consequence, I admire you. I enjoy Dragonforce as well (but don't tell anyone.)
OT: Learning to play say a three note-per-string scale in any position would usually enable you to be able to play the same pattern within 5-6 frets of the initial one. However, in order to achieve your "shred speed" I would reccomend playing a simple "shred run" at a slow tempo, but instead of increasing the tempo, just change the note value (quarter, 8th, 16th). I see this as a much better approach than raising the tempo speed, you will be more focused on fluency and technique if you double the speed of the riff. Also, after you're able to play it in quarters and eighths, try incorporating them together in the same run. This will vary the rhythm in your "shred solos" and sound slightly more interesting than playing the same note value in a consecutive run.
Just something that's helped me out when developing speed.
#6
Generally speaking, good guitarists have a few different "gears" -

Pure improv - The speed at which they can perfectly picture and play each individual note

Patterned improv - The speed at which they can picture and play improvisation based on patterns (ie, sequences, arpeggios, appoggiatura patterns)

Pure patterns - The speed at which they can play stuff that's completely prebaked and they've practised thousands of time at home.


So, if you get really good at going up and down G major, you probably would be very quick running just up and down G major.

If you practised the scale all over the fretboard and broke it down into patterns that you can sequence all over the neck, you'd definitely get better at playing quickly in every single key and in many more musical contexts.

If you also internalised the sound and structure of the scale, and related the understanding of the notes to their sound and musical effect, then you would probably get faster when you were purely improvising - you would be able to play well (if not necessarily very fast) while playing completely off the cuff.

So basically, there's more to speed than just your "top speed". You should always strive for technical flexibility and musicality. Do this and you'll be bloody fast and sound good.