Shredding. Part 2 - Speed & Technique

This is the second lesson in a series on shred, the first was the fundamentals, but in this one we are going to delve a little deeper.

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Ultimate Guitar
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Hello my shredders, and welcome to the second lesson in a series on shred. Now before I begin, let me presume, that you have read the previous lesson, and understand the techniques, and have a decent technique, if not, go back and read it first, if so, let's get going. As mentioned above, this lesson is a follow on form the "fundamentals," and I am going to show you guys how to really build up your speed and technique, and end up playing like your heroes. We are going to focus on 6 main techniques:

Which are all vital techniques in learning when becoming a shredder? We will focus on other ones as well, but these will be the main ones. Let's start with some practice licks:

1.Legato

(Easy)
e|------------------------------------------------------------|
B|--------------------------------------------10h12h13s15-17--|
G|------------------------------------9h11h12-----------------|
D|------------------0h2h4h5s7h9h10s12-------------------------|
A|----------0h2h3h5-------------------------------------------|
E|--0h2h3h5---------------------------------------------------|
Repeat this lick in reverse

(Easy/Moderate)
e|------------------------------------------------------------|
B|------------------------------------------------------------|
G|------------------------------------------------------------|
D|------------------------------------------------------------|
A|------------------------------------------------------------|
E|--0h2h3h5p3p2p0-0h3h5h7p5p3p0-0h5h7h8p7p5p0-0h7h8h10p8p7p0--|

e|--------------------|
B|--------------------|
G|--------------------|
D|--------------------|
A|--------------------|
E|--0h8h10h12p10p8p0--|

Repeat this lick in reverse and ignore the time space between the bars.

(Moderate)
e|--------------------------------------------------------------|
B|--------------------------------------------------------------|
G|--------------------------------------------------------------|
D|--------------------------------------------------------------|
A|--0h2p0h3p0h5p0h3p0h2p0-0h3p0h5p0h7p0h5p0h3p0-0h5p0h7p0h8p0h--|
E|--------------------------------------------------------------|

e|------------------------------------------------|
B|------------------------------------------------|
G|------------------------------------------------|
D|------------------------------------------------|
A|--7p0h5p0-0h7p0h8p0h10p0h8p0h7p0-0h8p0h10p0h12--|
E|------------------------------------------------|
Repeat this lick in reverse

(Moderate/Advanced)
e|-------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------------------------------|
G|-------------------------------------------------------------|
D|-------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------|
E|--0h1h2h3h4p3p2p1p0-0h4h5h6h7p6p5p4p0-0h7h8h9h10p9p8p7p0h12--|
Repaet this lick in reverse

(Advanced)
e|--------------------------------------------------------------|
B|--------------------------------------------------------------|
G|------------------------------------------------12-15p14p13p12|
D|--------------------------------12-15p14p13p12----------------|
A|----------------12-15p14p13p12--------------------------------|
E|12-15p14p13p12------------------------------------------------|

e|----------------12-15p14p13p12-----------------------------------|
B|12-15p14p13p12---------------------------------------------------|
G|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
D|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
E|--------------------------------11h12-10h11-9h10-8h9-7h8-6h7-5h6-|

e|---------------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------------|
E|--4h5-3h4-2h3-1h2-2p1p0-8p7p6h7p6p5h6p5p0-8h10p8h11p8h12p8h12--|
Repeat this example in reverse.
Practice tips: when playing Legato, it is important that you can you play each note smoothly and cleanly, if you are doing it properly, the listener should be able to differentiate between the picked and legato notes. When playing Legato, it is important to keep the fingers of your fretting hand in a "box" position, as this will help you exert more power on the strings.

2.Tapping

(Easy, left hand throughout)
e|--t3p0h2h3p2p0-t5p0h3h5p3p0-t7p0h5h7p5p0-t10p0h7h10p7p0-t10s12--|
B|----------------------------------------------------------------|
G|----------------------------------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------------|

(Easy/Moderate, right hand throughout)
e|--12h15t19p12h15t19p15p12-12h15t20p12h15t20p15p12-t24--|
B|-------------------------------------------------------|
G|-------------------------------------------------------|
D|-------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------|

(Moderate - left and right hand)
e|---------------------------------------------------|
B|-t19p15p12---------------t20p15p12-------------24--|
G|---------------t19p15p12--------------t20p15p12----|
D|---------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------|
this exercise requires you to alternate your tapping finger, use your little for the B string, and your ring for the G (or whichever you like)
(Moderate/Advanced)
e|-----------------------------------|
B|--t17p8p5-t15p8p5-t14p8p5-t12p8p5--|
G|-----------------------------------|
D|-----------------------------------|
A|-----------------------------------|
E|-----------------------------------|
This lick (like the one above) requires all 4 fingers of your tapping hand, choose which fingers you are most comfortable with. 
(Advanced - left and right handed)
e|t12h15t19p15p12---------------------------------------------------|
B|----------------t12h15t19p15pThe12--------------------------------|
G|-----------------------------------t12h15h18p15p12----------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------t12h15h18p15p12|
A|------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|------------------------------------------------------------------|
This exercise requires excellent coordination and will take a lot of practice.

Practice tips: when tapping, as with legato, make sure all the notes are played smoothly and evenly, as it will sound an awful better. Tap with the side of your finger and draw it back into your hand, as this is what would happen if you performed a pull off anyway.
(Find more information about tapping at UG Wiki)

3.Alternate Picking

(Easy)
e|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
G|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
D|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|--0-0-0-0-2-2-0-0-0-0-3-3-0-0-0-0-5-5-0-0-0-0-3-3-0-0-0-0-2-2-0-0--|

(Moderate, tremolo picked throughout)
e|--12-14-15--17-19-21-22-24-22-21-19-17--15-14-12--|
B|--------------------------------------------------|
G|--------------------------------------------------|
D|--------------------------------------------------|
A|--------------------------------------------------|
E|--------------------------------------------------|

(Advanced)
e|--0-0-0-0-12-12-0-0-0-0-10-10-0-0-0-0-8-8-0-0-0-0|
B|-------------------------------------------------|
G|-------------------------------------------------|
D|-------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------|

e|-7-7-0-0-0-0-5-5-3-3-0--|
B|------------------------|
G|------------------------|
D|------------------------|
A|------------------------|
E|------------------------|

Practice tips: make sure you keep your picking hand loose when speed picking and try not to tense up at all, as if you do you will end up with some serious arm problems.
(Find more information about alternate picking at UG Wiki)

4. Sweep Picking

(Easy)
e|------------3------------------0-------------------0--|
B|----------3---3--------------0---0---------------0----|
G|--------0-------0-----------2------2-----------0------|
D|------0-----------0-------2----------2-------2--------|
A|----2---------------2---0--------------0---2----------|
E|--3-------------------3------------------0------------|

(Moderate)
e|15p12----------12-19p15-----------15-22p19---------19-22b(24)--|
B|--------12---12-------------17----17-------------20---20-------|
G|-----------12-------------------16--------------------21-------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------------|

3(Advanced)
e|12p7---------------------7-15p12---------------------------------12|
B|-----8-----------------8---------12----------------------------12--|
G|-------9-------------9--------------12----------------------12-----|
D|---------9---------9-------------------14----------------14--------|
A|-----------10-7h10------------------------14----------14-----------|
E|---------------------------------------------15p12h15--------------|

e|--19p15------------------------------15h19-24--|
B|--------17-------------------------17----------|
G|-----------16------------------16--------------|
D|--------------17------------17-----------------|
A|------------------19-14h19---------------------|
E|-----------------------------------------------|
Practice tips: when sweep picking, make sure you keep a wrist action as much as possible and try to "glide" as smoothly as possible over the string. When using this technique, timing is a major issue, resist speeding up when picking towards the floor, and start slowly and in time, then speed up. 

5. Economy Picking

(Easy, constant down-up-down-up picking)
e|-------------------------------------|
B|-----------------------------7-9-10--|
G|----------------------6-7-9----------|
D|-----------4-6-7-7-9-----------------|
A|----4-5-7----------------------------|
E|5-7----------------------------------|

(Moderate, constant up and down picking)
e|-----------------------------------------------|
B|10-9-7---7-------------------------------------|
G|--------10--10-8-7-10-8-7----------------------|
D|----------------------------9-7-9--------------|
A|-----------------------------------------------|
E|-----------------------------------12-13-14-15-|

e|--------------------------|
B|--------------------------|
G|--------------------------|
D|----------------12-13-14--|
A|--12-13-14-15-------------|
E|--------------------------|

(Advanced, constant up and down picking)
e|----7---7--7--7--7---7--7---7---------5-8-9-10-7----------------|
B|-5---3----------------------3---5-----5--------------8----------|
G|----------5--4------4--5------------5------------------7--------|
D|-----------------7------------------7---------------------9-----|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------10-|
E|----------------------------------------------------------------|

Practice tips: as economy picking means taking the most direct (economical way) to the next string, make sure you keep your wristloose, and try to use a wrist action as much as possible. Start slow on this technique, and build up your speed gradually. 

6. String Skipping

(Easy)
e|15-14-12--------------------------------------------------------|
B|----------------15-13-12----------------------------------------|
G|--------16-14-12-----------------16-14-12-----------------------|
D|------------------------16-14-12------------------15-14-12------|
A|-----------------------------------------15-14-12---------------|
E|-----------------------------------------------------------15-12|

2(Advanced)
e|12--------------8-10-------------10-5----------------5-7---------|
B|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
G|---10-------10-------9--------9-------------4-5----------5-7-----|
D|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------8-12--------------7-10----------3-5------5-7-----------7-8|
E|-----------------------------------------------------------------|

Practice tips: when string skipping, as I stated in the previous lesson, you have to think of yourself in a battle field, and the strings you don't want to play are the mines or think of them as ramps, and you are in a car. Make sure you keep your wrist loose when sweeping and don't tense at all.

Last notes on techniques: it is important when practicing these techniques, to start slowly, and build up your speed gradually, as the proverb says "you can not run before you walk," so just be patient and it will pay off. Also, try to note your weaknesses, and pay special attention to these. When playing slow also try to keep your timing in count, as when you speed up it will sound an awful lot better.

Shred Licks - let's steal some greatlicks:
1. A Dimebag Darrel style "sonic shape"
e|--------------------------------------------------------------|
B|--------------------------------------------------------------|
G|------------------------------------------------------11-12-15|
D|------------------------------------11-12-15-11h12h15---------|
A|------------------11-12-15-11h12h15---------------------------|
E|11-12-15-11h12h15---------------------------------------------|

e|---------------------------------------11-12-15-11h12h15b(17)-|
B|-------------11-12-15-11h12h15--------------------------------|
G|11h12h15------------------------------------------------------|
D|--------------------------------------------------------------|
A|--------------------------------------------------------------|
E|--------------------------------------------------------------|

2. A Steve Vai style Legato lick
e|8p5h7h8p7p5-----------------------------------------------|
B|------------8p5h6h8p6p5-----------------------------------|
G|------------------------7p5p4h7-5h7p5p4h5h7-7p3p5-7-3-5-0-|
D|----------------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------|

3. A Paul Gilbert style picking lick
e|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
G|------------14---------------------14--------------------16------16-|
D|14-16-17----17-16-14-16-17----16-14-16-17-19---19-17-16-16-17-19----|
A|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|--------------------------------------------------------------------|

4. An Yngwie Malmsteen style picking lick
e|14-16-17-16-14-21-14-16-17-16-14-21-14-16-17-16-14-21-14-16-17-16--|
B|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
G|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
D|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

5. An Eddie Van Halen style tapping lick
e|--------------------------------------------------------|
B|t12p5h8-t12p5h8-t2p5h8t12p5h8-t13p5h8t13p5h8-t13p5h8p5--|
G|--------------------------------------------------------|
D|--------------------------------------------------------|
A|--------------------------------------------------------|
E|--------------------------------------------------------|

6. A Paul Gilbert style string skip lick
e|---------5------8p5--5-----------|
B|---------------------------------|
G|---5h9---9p5-----9---9p5---------|
D|7-----------------------------7--|
A|---------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------|

7.
e|12p8---------8-13p10----------10-12p8--------8-10p7------7-------|
B|------10--10-----------12----12----------10--10---------8---9----|
G|---------9------------------13-----------------9--------------10-|
D|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-----------------------------------------------------------------|

8. Kirk Hammet style picking lick
e|15-14-12-17-15-14-19-17-15-20-19-17-22-19-17-24--|
B|-------------------------------------------------|
G|-------------------------------------------------|
D|-------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------|
And for a metronome (for increasing your speed and working on your timing) click www.guitarknowledgenet.com. Hope you enjoyed it and I will see you in part three.

166 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Shreddy
    First I think! I looked through the lesson, looks like some pretty good exercises.
    pink_guitarist
    Great lesson! really help me and derrel is darrell (hes my hero so i need to protect is name loll)
    I_Dont_Know
    FadingRoots wrote: Just out of curiosity, is it even possible to shred without a pick? I mostly fingerpick and I can do just about everything with my fingers that others do with picks, but... im not sure about shredding, eh?
    it's easier for me, because you can access teh skip sttring thing easier but not for picking fast sadly i reccomend a thumb pick, if you fingerpick
    I_Dont_Know
    economy is advanced..? taht was the first thing my brother taught me on the guitar and it was really easy same thing with alternative picking =| all you beginners who are reading these thigns, tried to learn the sweep, economy and alternative now, it'll be usefull for picked songs and shredding.
    riffmasta
    these lessons are really good! Is there gonna be another one? If so Hurry up cause this is too good to wait for. Well done man Rm
    Lead guitarist
    Could someone help me out on the "0h2h4h5s7h9h10s12" Is that all 1 pick?? and what fingers should i use on the slides. Great lesson.
    LongLiveRock628
    awesome. im a better shredder but still not even close to the greats like yngwie malmsteem, kirk hammett, herman li, etc
    huitnlaaa
    Kirk Hammet is good but he is also super overrated. Out of tune bends on the early albums, 95% of the songs are based in Eminor (E phrygian), and with hundreds of songs?.. common
    zappa5150
    the only problem i have with this is ive mastered all of this in my 2 years of playing. but i mean it wasnt all eazy the picking was a tad hard because my right hand still isnt on the same page as my left its like a chapter away
    logan141
    the first lick the 0h2h4h5 if u play a couple time it sounds like the theme song to the adams family.
    guitarsolo_17
    u said sumthin was a van halen style tap lick that was actually a transposed version of the randy rhoads crazy train solo
    Spanner
    ^ your probably right, but I just meant it was "EVH" style, as he plays tapping with arpeggios as the example suggests
    Jbetter_thanu
    sweet lesson, u HAVE to do more now, and ya, put some Randy Rhoads on there, i dont economy pickin though, is it like just alternate pickin, but being able to change string w/o slowing?
    el conrado
    Hey good lesson but on the ecnomy picking is the advanced excersise supposed to be constant up-down picking? cos if it is, i really dont get it
    alaub1491
    Great lesson but im not even close to handling this, maybe in a year or two.
    Insomniac707
    hmm for some reason I found the "easy exercises harder than the most difficult.. odd. anyways do you play 0h2h4h5s7h9h10s12 with slide from 5 to 7 with the first finger? seems kinda awkward for me.
    Adam*The Chaos*
    Wow some more lessons eh lol keep up the great work buddy I wanna challenge you on guitar and see whos wins Me of course *smug look* lol I dont know im bored Awsome effin lessons brosif cant wait for the next batch
    Guitargod12345
    I would think an easy legato would go like this e-----5h7h8-- b-----5h6h8----- g-----4h5h7----- d----- 5h7----- a-----5h7h8----- e-5h7h8----- that would seem more lake an easy one
    Guitargod12345
    Thanks for it after lookin' through all the stuff, I reveiwed all this alot. And it made me better of a shredder.
    Old_Slow_Hands
    So... Is this the end? Where is lesson number three? Come on now! It's been over a year... Some teacher.. Fine then abandon your students...
    howfreeisthis
    ProPlayer wrote: Let's just get this straight, Kirk Hammet is NOT a shredder.
    no he isn't but he is writtes creative licks. nice dimebag lick (cowboys from hell) and where is marty friedman?
    6xreaperx6
    It'd probably be a good idea to teach the theory behind the exersizes...like what key it's in, etc. Otherwise people might just play random fast notes hoping it sounds good. Well played though.
    notoriousnumber
    I really like the way you included lots of different skill levels of exercises, a very accessible lesson
    sephirothnick
    economy picking wouldnt be a steady down up down motion generally. its usually for doing 3 notes on one string and then moving to another string and kind of sweeping between. generally your hands should be going down-up-down-up-down-down-up-down-down-up-etc.