I'm currently trying to get my chops up on my shred playing. I'm learning a two-bar lick consisting entirely of 16th note shredding. The typical bpm of the song is 164, and I can play it just barely at 105. I do my fair share of practicing the lick slower, and I can play it pretty neatly at that speed.

Is it a good idea to just jump in at like 120 bpm (for example), and try and push myself to hit that speed? What would you guys say is an effective way to break through that wall, and get faster? It's all good practising something perfectly slower, but I need that way of breaking through.
if you have the lick down then push it faster incremetally. you should be able t play it at 120 if you have it down cold at 105. just go up in steps once you get each new bpm down cold. finger memory should be in place if you have the lick down and you should be able to play it with out really thinking about it. thinking always does you in when it comes to speed.
I personally think speed develops naturally with time, as long as you make sure to emphasize the different aspects of playing that contributes to speed as an end product of. Making sure motions are small, hands are relaxed, playing is accurate etc.

That being said, i personally do a ton of slow practice. 90% of my practice is really, really slow. So i can play one note, relax, play another note, relax etc. And only make sure i am using one finger at a time (some players have the habit of only fretting one note, but engaging the whole hand, meaning wasting a lot of energy). Speed is all about developing these healthy habits and solidifying them.

Outside of that main process, the 10% that i haven't mentioned yet goes to playing it at the top tempo i can manage it (in your case 105), practicing it there for a while and then maybe pushing it up a little. On good days that is pushing it up to 110, on bad days i stay at 105. On average days i may go up to 106. It is only 1bpm, but it still a step forward.

That is really all the advice i can give you in regards to speed. When i went into college for music i couldn't play at fast tempos at all, my max tempo was 16ths at 90bpm. But playing a lot daily with other people and focusing on playing well rather than fast made it grow with time. As weird as it may sound, the barrier disappears when you stop measuring the tempo. Nowadays i can play between 160-190, depending on what it is i am playing, it develops as you work on the technical aspects of your playing.
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Thanks for this advice guys I tend to overthink this kind of stuff, and I've recently rectified some bad habits in my practicing. Hopefully, all these revisions will bare fruit
I usually get stuck when learning a fast solo for a long time. It's almost always at the 70-75% of the normal tempo mark. To break that "wall", I just play at the maximum tempo I can play for a few minutes, sometimes I drop it by 10-15% to get more relaxed, and then after some days I can suddenly reach the 80% mark.

After that it's 2 or 3 days to get to 100%. My problem is almost always at 70-75% for some reason.

With this said, I suppose speed comes naturally.

There are also days where I can't play for shit and even struggle with 55 and 60%.

I guess I can't tell you much more. What Sickz and monwobobbo said above is also true.
Last edited by DanyFS at Jun 10, 2015,
There is something to be said for pushing yourself to a higher speed, but you shouldn't do it if it causes you tension. People who really advocate this say that playing slow for so long actually builds up a mental block on playing much faster so it's not something you should be doing to push yourself beyond what your technique can really handle.

If that doesn't work it's going to be a case of looking at your technique and asking yourself what's stopping you from speeding up more. We can try to help with this but only if you can record yourself playing, on video. It helps to do this and watch it back yourself anyway; you can see, and hear, more when watching yourself than you can when you're also concentrating on playing.
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Iv had success with playing the same lick at one tempo but varying the note divisions.

So, say it's a 16th note pattern I'd play it at 80bpm as 16ths and then play it in 8ths. Do this a fair few times and it gets under my fingers nice and quick which makes upping the tempo a lot easier.
It really is all about developing accurate, minimised motion ... and that comes from extreme concentration on every aspect of your body that may be showing tension or mis-behaviour against what you're trying to practise (e.g. finger raising too high, or slightlly overshooting a string. or pick motion from one string to the next is excessive, etc.).

And the above is only achievable when playing ridiculously slowly (e.g. 40 bpm, one note played per click) ... look for any tension (breathing, neck, shoulders, arms, forearms, wrists, fingers). Look for excessive motion. This sort of practise is mind-numbingly boring unless you include musical pieces that still sound ok at these speeds. But perservere for a couple of weeks, without playing fast at all ... your brain and muscles involved ought to really develop appropriate pathways from this. Then start speeding up slightly (for majority of practise) and try short speed bursts every now and again. The results can be staggering.

But I suggest you never lose track of beng musical as well ... many shredders have little to say if melodic playing with cool phrasing is required. In fact rhythmic awareness (placement of notes in time, and their duration, and use of silence) is where one's own different voice can really be developed. When combined with technique, life gets really interesting!

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jun 10, 2015,
I found that my right hand is the controller of how fast I can shred. My left hand fingers can move lightning fast, but it only matters if my right hand can keep up. To do this, I overexaggerated my right hand technique very slowly and tried to use the same picking technique for upstrokes as I do downstrokes. When I practice I dont sit there with a click track and up the BPM till I start messing up, I dont even use a click. I try to play relatively slowly (about the same pace as the ABC's) making sure everything is even and symmetrical. Play your scales with only upstrokes