Before 'Shredding'

This is basically a way to get the best out of your shredding, increasing your accuracy and speed. All you need is a guitar, pick and some time to practise. Practise Makes Perfect.

Ultimate Guitar
Basically this is a series exercises aimed at speeding you up and getting your accuracy spot on. Try to remember all exercises by heart, this is help for the last exercise.

Exercise 1 part 1



That's the first step to becoming faster. Remember to use alternate picking to get faster. The next exercise is the same but backwards.

Exercise 1 part 2


Repeat 4 times. That should also be done in alternate fact it should all be done in alternate picking. Join those to together. And remember, accuracy comes before speed.

Exercise 2


Repeat 4 times and insted of starting from the first note when you finished, do the scale backwards to get really good. Up and Down the scale 4 times

Exercise 3

This is the Blues scale.

4 times up and down as before. (alternate picking)

Exercise 4

This is maybe the hardest and therefore ill take you through the fingerings aswell.


The idea is one finger per fret.

1st finger (pointing finger) - 4th fret
2nd finger (Middle Finger) - 5th fret
3rd finger (Ring finger) - 6th fret
4th finger (little finger) - 7th fret

you may think 'I can't be bothered with fingerings' but in the long run it will help a huge amount with this scale. Repeat up and down 4 times. Now the final exercise.

Exercise 5

This exercise, the big finale is going to take most of your time, but it's worth it.
play each exercise 4 times as intructed. Start at a steady pace you're comfy with.
when youve finished one exercise move directly onto the next one. (this is where remember the scales comes in) Continue, play the next exercise 4 times and move on. You'll notice a slight pain in your hand(s) ignore it, carry on.

Once you have finished all 4 exercises count 4 beats then start again. Do this twice then leave it, do it again the next day. Take as long as you need learning the scales, it may help to learn the patterns of each scale. Learn them whatever way is easiest for you. You will find that practising this for about a week or two should speed you up and your accuracy will get better. don't Rush! as said before, Accuracy then Speed.

Now, More advanced players:

Play the same scales but play each and every fret. For exercise 4 you may want to start on fret 2 or 3 as playing on fret 1 becomes awkward.

I hope this helped you all, sorry about the mass of writing at the end but it's all helpful. Thanks!

118 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'm glad the lesson's still helping people! Can't believe it's been 4 years since I posted it...I should probably start doing these exercises again, getting sloppy
    MetallicaBeast wrote: whats the first full song a begginer should play?
    Mine was smells like teen spirit
    Great lesson. I just started playing again and have to play it on a crap acoustic because someone stole my `68 Les Paul Custom. I quit playing for around a year and if I can ever win the lottery and buy an electric I will be able to ROCK!!!!! Thanks
    Thanks for the great lesson. I`m having to practice with a horrible acoustic. I actually quit playing after my `68 Les Paul Custom got ripped off, so getting back to playing feels so painful yet great. If I ever hit the lottery and can buy another electric I should be ready to ROCK!!!!!
    Great lesson thanx i've only just finished the first part and i can already feel a difference in my speed and control
    Hey man i really thank you for this awesome lesson. Special thanks because thanks to you i started taking guitar seriously. I have had guitar for 5 years now but I still can't really play it well but thanks to you I play now everyday 2-6 hours and it really helps me. So i thank you again and something else to YOU RULE MAN THANKS FOR GREAT LESSON!!!!!
    This is a great lesson. The 4th scale looks like something that I learned from the pentatonic scale before. I guess it does help to have that too. Thanks for the lesson though!
    MetallicaBeast wrote: whats the first full song a begginer should play?
    I agree with acoustielectric, I think Smells Like Teen Spirit is a good song to start with. But maybe try something such as the intro section of Nothing Else Matters - Metallica.
    A note on alternate picking: Ive been doing it ever since i first started playing, and i think that's because i started out playing chords... If you practice an up/down stroke with chords, it helps make it feel alot more natural when playing individual notes. I don't know if that'll help anyone, but i thought I'd throw in my 2 cents =]
    Just a note to everyone who has mentioned me saying
    You'll notice a slight pain in your hand(s)
    I meant, a slight ache not pain, sorry for the misunderstanding.
    this is useful (even for me and i play bass!) it's the secret to become the second coming of cliff burton!! Note: Slight pain=Being shot in hand!!!>_< (But i still got a couple of weeks to pratice it!
    This was a big help. I still cant play the scales to fast but I will get there. Keep the great lessons flowing!
    Had to register just to thank you for coming up with such a great lesson. I noticed this a few days ago and finally started learning it today. I went all the way from Exercise 1 to 5 today and when I went back to playing tabs, I've already noticed an increase in my accuracy and speed. I can't wait to see how much more this helps me out over the next couple of weeks! Thanks again!
    nice Me too man haha...the second part is easy after the dual but the first is tricky
    omgiplayguitar wrote: im trying to learn the after-life solo messing up a lot on the 1st part and excercise 4 really helped
    Strauss86 wrote: bytheway have you or are you going to make a shredding lesson?
    I have recently written a lesson on soloing techniques, after that has been accepted to the website I shall start working on a shredding lesson. A problem with UG is they seem to take months to put new lessons up. I am not sure whether it just happens to me or it happens to everyone, if anyone has any info on that I'd be grateful. But yes there should hopefully be a 'Shredding' lesson in the future, I would like to get it up on here around March time. Thanks for your interest. And I would like to add that I'm glad that the lesson has helped so many of you.
    been doing this exercise for over a week now and its really paid off, i've always been pretty lazy when it came to alternate picking but this is the perfect way to practice it, thank you very much i'll be a shreddin' in no time bytheway have you or are you going to make a shredding lesson?
    i finger pick and strum acoustic and wanted to fill it out that bit more,had a book for a present that teaches(learn the scales everywhere)found your tutorial and though i've just given it a bash tonight,my left hand has become reborn.My semi's out(acoustic that is)and my index nail plec is alternating like it's done it for years,so this isnt just for shredders great work and cheers.
    Yeah it takes about 5 minutes per scale, depending on the speed you play them at. But you could mix them up for example play down one scale then go back up playing a different scale. So you could play exercise 1 followed by exercise 2 or 3 to help mix it up.
    Sorry, badly worded. The root note of each scale (the note you start on) should increase. So, for example, play the first exercise starting at the first fret, play it through, then play the same scale starting at the second fret and so on. Hope that's clearer
    Yeah, what he said ^ My control over the english language was appalling when I wrote this sorry aha
    When writing "Count 4 beats", do you then mean: "Wait 4 beats, and then start over", or: "add 4 beats on your metronome" ?
    Gib-Gib-son-son wrote: I'm glad the lesson's still helping people! Can't believe it's been 4 years since I posted it...I should probably start doing these exercises again, getting sloppy
    PLEASE DO!!!!! Chuck Norris approves! As do I, but who really cares about my opinion? Lol
    MetallicaBeast wrote: whats the first full song a begginer should play?
    Mine was sunshine of your love - cream. Very easy to sing and play it at the same time. I'd suggest you get to be pretty decent at "feeling" the music b4 you play the solo for people though. Great lesson btw
    these are the most useful exercises i have ever played bro. so glad i found them. within one week i think i have improved my speed by 50%
    this actually improved my speed a little in a few hours. thanks man, i'm going to do this daily for a while. i cant wait to see the results
    All i can say is, you my friend, your my saving grace. I thought i really suck because ive been playing for 3 years almost 4 and 2 of those years ive hardly improved speed wise. But this lesson plus wow.. just wow. Thanks so much!