I have to admit I’m not what you would call a Shred Guitarist, but I’ve always been curious about the genre and the allure of ripping up and down the fretboard with seemingly effortless technical prowess. I attribute my initial reluctance to venture into the vast world of shred to the fact that I just didn’t know where to begin. Perhaps you’ve been wondering the same… Do I need to learn more scales? Do I start with sweep-picking? Should I invest in a metronome? Should I start pumping iron?! Luckily for us the guys over at shred-machine.com have come up with a fully-structured 18 week course to put us on the path to shred guitar glory.
Let’s Get Technical
It’s no secret that shred guitar is heavily rooted in the technical side of guitar playing but as you’ll see in the video below, mastering the requisite technical skills can be broken down into simple, easy-to-remember steps. What’s more, when you apply these techniques to scales and arpeggios you begin to build up speed, and the great thing about these shapes and patterns is that they’re all movable, allowing you to use them right off the bat in any key you like.
If you’re just starting out with shred guitar you’ll want to get economy picking down. This technique, as oppose to alternate picking, takes advantage of the downward and upward momentum of your picking hand to move quickly across the strings. It’s easy to get the hang of too; if you’re moving from a lower to a higher string (towards the floor) change strings with a downstroke, and if you’re moving in the opposite direction (from higher to lower strings) simply change strings with an upstroke. The advantage here is that your picking is always consistent no matter what you’re playing, plus you don’t have to go around the string as in alternate picking, or play inside two strings where the pick can easily get caught up.
As Rob explains in the video below, economy picking naturally leads to sweep-picking as it’s virtually the same technique, only you won’t have to spend hours in the woodshed as economy picking will eventually take care of sweep-picking, and you’ll have mastered two of the most essential techniques in any self-respecting shred guitarist’s repertoire.
Check out the video and accompanying PDF below, and be sure to visit shred-machine.com for more details on their 18 week course.