Creative Shred Ideas 01. Scales

I will teach you ways to organize scales in order to be more creative within your soloing or songs. I will also teach you a couple of my ideas on the scales.

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In this 3 part series I will cover scales, arpeggios, and combining those ideas. These lesson are meant to show you my ideas when it comes to my music. In this specific lesson I will show you a couple of ideas to make your scales sound different than how others normally play them. I will also show you 3 different scales that I use to get odd sounds. First we are going to look at a simple pentatonic scale. It will be the 4th pattern of the A minor pentatonic scale which starts on E. Here it is: Ex. 1
e|------------------------------12-15-15-12-------------------------------|
B|------------------------13-15-------------15-13-------------------------|
G|------------------12-14-------------------------14-12-------------------|
D|------------12-14-------------------------------------14-12-------------|
A|------12-15-------------------------------------------------15-12-------|
E|12-15-------------------------------------------------------------15-12-|
It's a pretty basic scale. When most people think of pentatonic scales they instantly think of the blues. As they should, because it is mostly used in blues. However, by switching around the order of the notes we get an entirely different sound that doesn't even sound pentatonic at all. Here is an example of that. It reminds me of Steve Vai. Ex. 2
e|------------------15-12-|
B|------------15-13-------|
G|------14-12-------------|
D|14-12-------------------|
A|------------------------|
E|------------------------|
See? It doesn't sound pentatonic at all. Overall, you can use that idea, but what these lessons are designed to do is to teach you to look for your own patterns. Don't copy another artist's work. You should be creative on your own. You should strive to be special in your guitar playing if you want to go all the way with it. In the end just play what sounds good. Anyone can play an A minor pentatonic scale, but not everyone can come up with a way that's different than anyone else's. Now, let's talk about shred. To most people shred is just mindlessly playing a minor scale up and down as fast as you can. Sure, some people do that, but shred is an art form. Most people sweep up and down arpeggios mindlessly. That's ok sometimes, but most of the time it is extremely boring. You need to add some creativity and melody to it. Or else it's meaningless and you're just another in-bred guitarist. Technique is part of it, but musicality is most important. The scales you use can have a huge impact on your musicality. The second scale we will look at is called the A Minor Japanese Hirojoshi Scale. It originates from Japan. It is like a minor scale, but you take out the 4th, and 7th degrees of the Natural Minor Scale. It is a type of pentatonic scale because it has 5 notes in the scale. It sounds really foreign and it can help to add some spice to your songs. Here is the pattern. We will stretch it over 3 octaves. Ex. 3
e|-------------------------------12-13-13-12--------------------------------|
B|----------------------10-12-13-------------13-12-10-----------------------|
G|-----------------9-10-------------------------------10-9------------------|
D|----------7-9-10-----------------------------------------10-9-7-----------|
A|------7-8-------------------------------------------------------8-7-------|
E|5-7-8---------------------------------------------------------------8-7-5-|
There are so many things you could do with this scale to add some spice to your solos. Being creative within scales is possibly the most important thing in any type of music. Us shredders just do it faster than others. ;) This next scale is an odd sounding one. The name and actual notes. It is my favorite scale of all time. It's called the Lydian b7 scale. It is the fourth mode of the melodic minor scale. Don't worry about the name and the theory behind it. Just worry about getting the sound in your ears. This scale starts on the note D. Here is the pattern: Ex. 4
e|---------------------------------------------12-14-16-16-14-12----------|
B|------------------------------------12-13-15-------------------15-13-12-|
G|---------------------------11-13-14-------------------------------------|
D|------------------10-12-14----------------------------------------------|
A|---------11-12-14-------------------------------------------------------|
E|10-12-14----------------------------------------------------------------|

e|------------------------------------|
B|------------------------------------|
G|14-13-11----------------------------|
D|---------14-12-10-------------------|
A|------------------14-12-11----------|
E|---------------------------14-12-10-|
This scale sounds so amazing. There are so many different melodies and odd sounds you can get within this scale. I am not going to give you any other examples of organizing notes because the point of this lesson is to get you to try new sounds and experiment with your own music. The last scale I will show is possibly the weirdest sounding. It is called the Whole Tone scale. It gets the name because it is comprised of only whole-steps on the fretboard. It has a distinct sound. We will play it over multiple octaves and it is a very straight forward pattern. We will start on the note A. Here it is: Ex. 5
e|-------------------------------------11-13-15-15-13-11------------------|
B|----------------------------10-12-14-------------------14-12-10---------|
G|--------------------8-10-12-------------------------------------12-10-8-|
D|-------------7-9-11-----------------------------------------------------|
A|------6-8-10------------------------------------------------------------|
E|5-7-9-------------------------------------------------------------------|

e|--------------------|
B|--------------------|
G|--------------------|
D|11-9-7--------------|
A|-------10-8-6-------|
E|--------------9-7-5-|
This scale sounds pretty awesome too. In this scale I like to just go straight up the scale because it sounds so awesome. You can combine all these scales and come up with your own patterns, runs, or licks. The possibilities are literally endless. Now, onto the subject of inspiration. There are many shred guitarist out there to listen to. Every shred guitarist knows about Yngwie J. Malmsteen, but Malmsteen may not be your cup of tea. You should listen to as many different types of shredders as you can. Whether it is neoclassical or more modern stuff, try to breakdown the scales they use and techniques. It's true that the stuff you listen to makes you write in a similar way. So if you have a wide variety of shred influences then your music will be that much more special. I love Guthrie Govan. He has such a fluid technique. I love his legato, so I try to figure out his legato style. I recommend you check him out. He has a Jazz-fusion kind of style. Another guitarist I love is Paul Wardingham. I'm lucky to have him as a friend on Facebook. I asked him what his secret was to amazing lines that sound so cool. He told me that he wouldn't tell, which made me sad at first, but I realized that he meant to figure it out for myself. I had to go into my own style and not just copy him. That's what you must do. Or else you'll be just another brick in the wall ;). Hopefully, I have conveyed that to you throughout this lesson. In the next lesson we will look at several odd arpeggios that I love to use. It's going to really fun. I hope you enjoyed this lesson and will tune in to the next one. Until then, see ya.

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44 comments sorted by best / new / date

    megaluisdeth
    I already know this! I need to start learning Jazz or Classical to start improving more....
    tony_agc
    Paul Gilbert dude !! I was on the GGE 2012, there was Gilbert, Govan, Macalpine, Scotty Johnson, etc, i got to tell you that Gilbert rocks !! Govan is AMAZING
    Mind_Reader7
    I hate shred, and this sounds terrible, but I would have to rate Rusty as the fastest/more technical shredders of all time.
    The first half is pretty lame.
    Satrianifan281
    Watch this video, this is the outro to The Best of Times by Dream Theater, it's got a lot of technical shred and emotion.
    Skodward714
    God, I love that solo. It's gorgeous.
    Satrianifan281
    This is why I think John Petrucci and virtuoso shredders are underrated. By the way the song is The Best of Times by Dream Theater
    lymanvann
    How can anyone labeled a "Virtuoso Shredder" be considered underrated? I guess Michael Phelps is a slow swimmer too, and Stephen Hawking knows nothing about physics.
    JacobReedShred
    Rusty is fast, but I feel that shredders who just for pure speed are kinda boring. I lean more towards the melodic side of playing and try to inject more feeling into my songs, but speed is always fun
    ridonkulous420
    WOW RUSTY COOLY I FORGOT ABOUT HIM, WOW BAD WOW REALLY REALLY BAD BUT FUNNY.. SO FUNNY XD "TECHNICAL" IS SUCH A SCAPEGOAT OF A TERM BTW.. HE EXCELS AT MANIFESTING AND DISTILLING PURE DOUCHE. GREAT JOB
    gunsnroses#1
    Marty Friedman = The god of combining shred and feel
    megaluisdeth
    Don't forget Jason Becker. Songs like Dweller in the Cellar and Images(Cacophony)really prove that you could combine speed and emotion.
    JacobReedShred
    I really love both guitarists but i personally think Becker is just a bit better. I love Marty also lol. Its a tough contest
    Satrianifan281
    Great lesson, a lot of the virtuosos use this style of playing, Petrucci, Satriani, Vai, etc. Not only that a lot of these scales can be manipulated into sweeping and legato.
    JacobReedShred
    Ya dude! Thanks for all the comments. I loveee satriani too!
    Satrianifan281
    Satriani is who got me into guitar in the first place, his creativity, unique style, variety and ability showed me what real guitar playing is, it also showed me how someone can play fast and still play with feeling
    Mind_Reader7
    If you read my original comment, I said Rusty sounds terrible, but he's easily one of the best IMO. If it was about hard solo's that actually sound good, that's another category.
    link no1
    I don't see why you're even here. You don't like shred and you're trying to force an opinion on people on a topic you don't like (I.E, "I hate shred") with a guitarist you even like ("Rusty sounds terrible") What conclusion are you trying to achieve exactly?
    Mind_Reader7
    I really wish people could read. "I would have to rate Rusty..." This state that it's an opinion, it doesn't say: "Rusty IS the best" And the second comment I wrote has "IMO" which is "In my opinion". Both my comments were opinion. I guess to sum it up, in a nutshell: It's my opinion that Rusty is one of the best shredders, even though I personally dislike shred. Ps: I can appreciate something for it's skill, regardless of whether or not I like it.
    M3AK
    "The second scale we will look at is called the A Minor Japanese Hirojoshi Scale. It originates from Japan" No shit Sherlock.
    JacobReedShred
    I say that because other japanese scales originate from korea
    KrazyKev
    Even though I know most of my scales and all of that fun jazz, this is very useful, thank you for sharing!