#1
I am kind of curious and the more I practice it really seems like if i got really solid scales I should be able to do just about anything on the guitar.. eventually. haha

Because if I get my scales really fluid, I am also building a better ear. And because I will become familiar with the scales I will be able to play faster.

And because I have theory down to a pretty good extent I can make my own shred licks.

So to get good at shredding is really to know your scales and play it fast right?
#2
Well you need the notes and they can come from scales but you need the technical skills to be able to shred developed before you can do it!

If you wonder how to develop those get a copy of Speed Mechanics by Troy Stetina and get serious.
#3
Quote by davidsanjenis
I am kind of curious and the more I practice it really seems like if i got really solid scales I should be able to do just about anything on the guitar.. eventually. haha

Because if I get my scales really fluid, I am also building a better ear. And because I will become familiar with the scales I will be able to play faster.

And because I have theory down to a pretty good extent I can make my own shred licks.

So to get good at shredding is really to know your scales and play it fast right?


Basically true. All shred licks are arrangements of scale notes.

Paul Gilbert's Intense Rock I is just him playing the major scale sequences at high speed.
#4
Bad shredding is just scales.

Scales =/= music
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#5
Scales tend to get a bad rap as simply something to be zapped up and down at speed. They can be that, but their number one purpose is to provide a choice of notes ( a "sound" palette") from which to create music with a given flavour (and to which non-scale notes can then be added). The fun and art comes in how you make these choices.

cheers, Jerry
#6
Quote by Virgman
Basically true. All shred licks are arrangements of scale notes.


You could argue that most Western music is arrangement of scale notes though.

Quote by steven seagull
Bad shredding is just scales.


See, I don't really like this sort of thing because it ignores a number of factors. Think of it this way? What is a shredder trying to achieve? Many times in certain types of music such as thrash and technical death metal there are times when the sound of playing guitar fast, which includes the sound of the pick hitting the strings, is the most desirable thing. Basically you are trying to play as many notes as fast as you can because you want the sound of playing as many notes as fast as you can.

Overall the effect creates a very frantic, energetic, and sometimes chaotic feel.

Think of it as being similar to making a college out of magazine bits. Each little piece doesn't have to be carefully selected, thought out, or color matched. The goal is creating an overall effect where certain aesthetics are more important (having a number of mismatched and assorted little bits) is more important than anything else.

You're not trying for photorealism. You're not trying to make it look like a painting. The artist is really after a college effect where the whole is important and the individual parts are completely insignificant on their own, with each one being somewhat interchangeable with other pieces and completely replaceable.

And so often shredding is used as a means to an analogous end.
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#7
Then it becomes a circular argument, because at times a shredder will simply be trying to achieve "shredding", and only they themselves will really know what they mean by it.

For me, because of my musical preferences and also because of my age, "shred" is purely a late 80's/90's phenomenon that's embodied by the Mke Varney Shrapnel era - razor-sharp technical skills, certainly self-indulgent but with an eye on melody and actually playing something that goes somewhere. they could rip up and down a scale if they wanted to of course, but they typically played with a bit more substance and thought. Admittedly there was some god-awful stuff back then too, but that's always going to be the case - hacks will be hacks whatever the decade.

So for me the likes of Paul Gilbert, Jason Becker, Michael Lee-Firkins, Nuno Bettencourt etc epitomise the concept of shred - not only do they fit my pre-conceived ideas about what shred is supposed to sound like, they're also artists who were active when the term first came into major usage. I wouldn't expect somebody who wasn't even born when those Shrapnel recordings were made to have the same pre-conceptions about the "genre" ( I don't know if you can really call it a genre) or even the word.

Speed as a texture is an interesting angle on it which I've never really thought about in all honesty. For me as a listener though, I have no interest in listening to someone play just because they can play "something" fast, they have to put a bit more effort in that simply blindly running up scales or arpeggios. Crafting something melodic and musical at those high speeds, for me that's the appeal of shred as I understand it - it's no doubt different for others.
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#8
A lot of the common fast "shred" licks in popular rock/metal songs these days are just a playing up and down a suitable scale in a certain pattern/grouping of notes, or playing an arpeggio.

There is nothing wrong with licks like this, but remember most good songs containing these licks also contain a lot of melody and non scalar playing. What Steven said is right.
#9
the obsession with speed is an obstacle to many guitarists..some have no interest in music at all..but they sure can play fast..I found it almost amusing that one super fast player could not jam on a 12 bar blues..he didn't know the changes..

I realize shred in its many flavors is almost a religion to its practitioners and fans..but its not just about speed..as there are many "fast" players in jazz..even flamenco and yes - country..but it seems to be the backround music for a lifestyle..and that's fine with me..if the piano was the focus instrument of this style of music I wonder how different it might be expressed and perceived

play well

wolf
#10
^^^ +1
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#11
Quote by steven seagull
[...]


I'll explain my background to give you some perspective. I'm mainly a bluegrass, country, tech death, and black metal girl. "Shred" in those genres...

Think about bluegrass fiddle for a minute. Straight 8th notes, up and down, all day, everyday. Especially when playing faster pieces over 300 bpm. Think of it like this: When playing a melody, melodies are rarely all 8th notes. There tend to be longer note durations, particularly at the end of a line where you might have a half note and then a rest for a measure. Something like that.

But because it's part of the music to juts play continuous streams of 8th notes for the majority of a break, you need to fill in that space between the melody notes. And so the notes you play to get from "Point A" to "Point B" don't really matter that much. As long as you start and end on the right notes and the notes you play are in the correct key, or at least in an appropriate modal tonality, then it doesn't matter what you play, as long as you play something.

And this can be applied to other genres as well. Something like this for example.

There are little up-and-down scales fills and arpeggios between the melody notes. The individual notes in those fills really don't matter at all. It's more the overall sound of a bunch of fast notes with a the neck pickup to create a particular texture for aesthetic purposes rather than careful note choice.

Does that all make sense?

Quote by wolflen
I found it almost amusing that one super fast player could not jam on a 12 bar blues..he didn't know the changes..


Okay... why is this always a thing? Like why do guitarists feel that the 12 bar blues changes should be important in determining anything about a musician? It's pretty much ignoring the fact that... stay with me for a second... the 12 bar progression is completely irrelevant to many styles of music. Really, it's not even particularly relevant outside of blues, jazz, rock'n'roll, classic rock, and rockabilly. Maybe occasionally used in a couple of country songs, but by no means is it particularly common.

So... why is it that you should be able to expect guitarists to all know how to play something that really doesn't have a place in the music they play? Would you think it's fair if I found it amusing that you can play something trivial like the 12 bar blues and yet you don't even know basic things that are fundamental to the type of music that I play like tremolo picking and alternating bass rhythms?
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#12
Quote by theogonia777
Okay... why is this always a thing? Like why do guitarists feel that the 12 bar blues changes should be important in determining anything about a musician?


I have always wondered the same thing.
#13
Quote by theogonia777
I'll explain my background to give you some perspective. I'm mainly a bluegrass, country, tech death, and black metal girl. "Shred" in those genres...

Really, it's not even particularly relevant outside of blues, jazz, rock'n'roll, classic rock, and rockabilly. Maybe occasionally used in a couple of country songs, but by no means is it particularly common.



perhaps you answered your own question-its a basic form--usually three basic chords.. from the major scale..and minor scale for minor blues..my point was this particular player did not know how to form the basic chords-regardless of the blues form..I just wonder how he achieved such speed and bypassed learning basic chord forms..I'll agree with you on point-you don't have to know blues progressions-but how about just the chord forms--I am NOT implying that "shred" musicians do not know theory..many do..from my post-the point I was making about "speed" is that in some cases it is an obstacle instead of a goal

wolf
#14
My take on it is that if you can play fast then more than half of the hard work is done because playing really fast with good technique is the hardest thing to do on guitar , I Also think using scale runs and patterns are important and do sound good when used right, its also where I started to learn to play fast by alt picking scales and patterns , These things are all Paul Gilbert but what sets him apart from just doing that is he can also play sounds that are made up in his mind and can express them on to the guitar .
#15
I think shred is lots of patterns, scales and also arpeggios as well. If you learn theory well enough, and practice hard enough, absolutely you could shred just from that.

But, imo, the beauty of music is not just following some theoretical plan, whatever it may be. So, I don't think you could just say "I just need to learn theory, and then I could do anything."

Art is not that way. It is personal expression. It's not some recipe you can learn and practice.

Shredding can often be this way. It can often be just running through some patterns really quickly, which is why it often gets a bad rep.

When it's a pattern, or an algorithm, or some recipe or what have you, that is dictating what you do, for me, the magic of it, the art of it, is missing, and it comes off cold and lifeless to me.

I find the patterns, the scales, and the arpeggios, are tools, so that you can have the mastery you need to express yourself honestly on your instrument.

So, sure, all you need to do is put in some time, some practice and learn some patterns, and you can shred. But that doesn't mean you will be able to make beautiful music. But this would not be uncommon for people that shred, which is why they are often perceived negatively by other musicians.

Art is not like doing your taxes, it's not just "knowing what to do". It's being the source of creation, and harnessing ideas, and physically mastering a tool that allows you to show those ideas to others.

Your mind is the mp3, the patterns and practice is the computer/software that decodes it, and the guitar is the speaker that plays it.

If you skip step one, it sounds bland and robotic, like if a computer made it, especially in shred, where timing is so rigid and monotonous.
#16
For me it's a little more then just scales, I see it like a mix of this :

- Scales
- Triads/Arpeggios
- Pentatonic and blues scales
- Intervals
- Patterns and musical phrases

Shredding is when you speed up the tempo and things become really fast, for me the perfect balance is when you are able to play fast but still getting a sense of melody in your playing.

Cheers,

Hans
Last edited by hansvaneven at Jan 17, 2015,
#17
Quote by theogonia777
I'll explain my background to give you some perspective. I'm mainly a bluegrass, country, tech death, and black metal girl. "Shred" in those genres...

Think about bluegrass fiddle for a minute. Straight 8th notes, up and down, all day, everyday. Especially when playing faster pieces over 300 bpm. Think of it like this: When playing a melody, melodies are rarely all 8th notes. There tend to be longer note durations, particularly at the end of a line where you might have a half note and then a rest for a measure. Something like that.

But because it's part of the music to juts play continuous streams of 8th notes for the majority of a break, you need to fill in that space between the melody notes. And so the notes you play to get from "Point A" to "Point B" don't really matter that much. As long as you start and end on the right notes and the notes you play are in the correct key, or at least in an appropriate modal tonality, then it doesn't matter what you play, as long as you play something.

And this can be applied to other genres as well. Something like this for example.

There are little up-and-down scales fills and arpeggios between the melody notes. The individual notes in those fills really don't matter at all. It's more the overall sound of a bunch of fast notes with a the neck pickup to create a particular texture for aesthetic purposes rather than careful note choice.

Does that all make sense?
I know what you mean, and I really do think that timing/ rhythm is in fact more important than the notes themselves, but really, when it comes down to it, I think everything is important. Even minor little differences in timing. It all comes together as a whole to create the final product.


Okay... why is this always a thing? Like why do guitarists feel that the 12 bar blues changes should be important in determining anything about a musician? It's pretty much ignoring the fact that... stay with me for a second... the 12 bar progression is completely irrelevant to many styles of music. Really, it's not even particularly relevant outside of blues, jazz, rock'n'roll, classic rock, and rockabilly. Maybe occasionally used in a couple of country songs, but by no means is it particularly common.

So... why is it that you should be able to expect guitarists to all know how to play something that really doesn't have a place in the music they play? Would you think it's fair if I found it amusing that you can play something trivial like the 12 bar blues and yet you don't even know basic things that are fundamental to the type of music that I play like tremolo picking and alternating bass rhythms?


The blues is a very simple progression, consisting of the strongest degree chords in the major key. It is incredibly flexible, and recognizable of a sound to anyone. I think it is a great way to assess anyone's skill on any instrument. A good freestyle instrumentalist should be able to cope with any style, as long as the piece is predictable. Now, someone might play blues every night, and learned a bunch of cool licks from repetition whereas a non-blues guy, not so much, but you should still be able to sense the feel and phrasing of the musician.

Your example you gave is exactly right, but that is more to do with technique. Blues however is generally quite slow, and doesn't really require any sort of unique technique that you don't find in other styles of music. Shredding on the other hand, requires a lot of practice and dexterity using specific techniques.

I could play to any sort of style of music, but I fingerpick acoustic. That just couldn't do metal. I could play to any metal song, but it wouldn't really be metal. But I could play blues with an acoustic, I could play blues with distortion, using whatever techniques. I could play blues with literally any object that I can control sound at a sufficient degree with.

So, it's a bit different. But blues is not necessary for me to be able to identify whether I think an artist is great or not. But I think I could recognize the talent of any great freestyle instrumentalist playing the blues.

I find It's not just "can you play the blues or can't you" on/off sort of thing. It's specifically what you say with your instrument.
#18
Knowing the scale is a multicolored topic, and a place for argument. The way I see it there is the major scale, that contained all notes. And there is every other scale that is missing one or more notes. What I have found with respect to shredding, is knowing which D. To use. D occurs the most times and although technically there is middle low and high only. There are actually 7 all sounding slightly different. D occurs the most times so it is most significant when choosing which to use. Knowing where in the scale The various repeated notes belong is one thing I see as key. And of course which D you are using also determines position. Hope this helps.