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Easy Neo-Classical Shred (for non-shredders)

I really admire players that can do all that neo-classical shred, sweep-picking and whatnot because if there’s one thing I can’t and will probably never be able to do on a guitar, it’s neo-classical shredding. I’m quite content to watch other players who are brilliant at it and marvel at their skill, though once in a while I do get inspired to do something that sounds a bit like neo-classical shred to satify the urge, without resorting to tapping.

I recently came up with the following idea that allows you to get a fast shred-type sound without having to sweep-pick, tap or learn any other high-wire techniques. When I hear neo-classical shred, I hear harmonic minor, phrygian dominant and a lot of diminished type runs, so we’ll use the harmonic minor scale in A to demonstrate this.


The following patterns are fragments from the A harmonic minor scale and follow the 2-1-2-1-2-1 sequence, that is, two notes on one string then one on the next, and so on. This enables me (you) to get across the fretboard fairly quickly by using either alternate picking or economy picking with hammer-ons (pull-offs when you come back down). I’ve also deliberately chosen patterns that do not involve and kind of finger-roll (two notes on the same fret on adjacent strings), which also slows me (you) up.

Check the patterns out below, there’s one starting on every note of the A harmonic minor scale, so you can whip these out over an Am chord. The fingerings should be obvious except for the penultimate pattern where they’re included in the diagram.

You’ll find that each one brings out a slightly different flavor of the harmonic minor scale (and its modes) and because of the 2-1-2-1-2-1 fingering pattern, you should be able to get these going at a fairly quick pace in no time at all.

neo-classical shred guitar

Feel free to try this with any other scales you know. The only rule you have to follow is the 2-1-2-1-2-1 sequence (or you could invert it) in order make it easier to play fast because who plays neo-classical shred slowly, right?


Published in Shred Guitar Yngwie Malmsteen

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