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"The Art of Shredding" Parts 1 & 2

by Guitarslinger124

14 Feb 2008
Views: 10695

If you do not have more than a basic understanding of scales and keys I strongly suggest looking at some of the beginner lessons before continuing with this. Also, the term "shredding" in the context of guitar playing connotes playing with sufficient technical ability; if you need help with this, check out the lesson called "Finger Workouts!!".

Getting Started

To be able to shred, you have to a) know who you are as a guitar player b) have sufficient knowledge of guitar playing and c) have precise technical ability.

Assuming you have all three lets first discuss rhythm. While its true that a lot of great classic metal riffs involve simple chords and rhythm sections, it always fun to play a tough riff every now and again. Here is an example of turning a simple, cool sounding riff into something more....shreddy.



Simple Riff

Drop D tuning. Heavy distortion.
(palm mute throughout.) ~~|
E:----------------------------------|
B:----------------------------------|
G:----------------------------------|
D:----------------------------------|
A:-0-3-6-5-0-3-6-5-0-3-6-5-0-3-0----|
D:-0-3-6-5-0-3-6-5-0-3-6-5-0-3-0-ph3|


Here is the same riff played a different way:



Shred Riff

Drop D tuning. Heavy distortion.
(palm mute throughout.) ~~
E:---------------------------------|
B:---------------------------------|
G:---------------------------------|
D:------------6-5------------------|
A:---------------------------------|
D:-0-3-6-5-0-3---0-3-6-5-0-3-0-ph3-|


Moving on with rhythm. Let's say you are a fanatic of the K.I.S.S. formula (keep it simple stupid). Here is a simple way to add flavor and texture to a riff.

Here is a simple, straight forward riff.


Simple Riff

Drop D tuning. Heavy distortion.
E:-------------------------------------------|
B:-------------------------------------------|
G:-------------------------------------------|
D:-------------------------------------------|
A:-5---------5-------7-------8-------3-----3-|
D:-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-7-7-7-7-8-8-8-8-3-3-3-3-|

Simple Riff with Added Flavor

Drop D tuning. Heavy Distortion.
E:---------------------------------------------|
B:---------------------------------------------|
G:---------------------------------------------|
D:---------------------------------------------|
A:-3/5---------5-------7-------8-------3-----3-|
D:-3/5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-7-7-7-7-8-8-8-8-3-3-3-3-|


When writing a riff, ask yourself these questions: Is there another way to play this riff that will sound better? Have I tried playing this in double time? Should I play the riff the same way each time I play it? Pinch Harmonic anywhere? How about bending this note up a half step instead of actually picking the note? What will it sound like an octave higher?

HINT:
Scales are not just for soloing!!! The very chords you play everyday are made from different scales. Try taking a cool lick and playing it a couple octaves lower.

Progressive Metal Riffage




Most progressive metal songs contain many different phrases, no real structure and at least one temp change. Instead of writing boring paragraphs I've gone ahead and tabbed out the first couple minutes of a progressive metal song I came up with last week.

My guitar is tuned to Drop C# standard (low to high: C#, G#, C#, F#, A#, D#) and I'm using lots of distortion and delay. This tune is played at around 170-180bpm.

Techniques to practice for this lesson: Alternate picking and sweep picking.
For this lesson, down strokes will be marked as "d" and upstrokes will be marked as "u".

Section 1 is more or less the intro to the song. It's a pretty simple chugging riff
with a 4/4 time signature, which can fit into a number of keys. However, I had B major in mind.

Section 2 The first main riff in the song and it appears towards the end of song as
well. This riff can be a little tricky because you have to keep it in 4/4.
Which means play the B and G at double the note values of the C#, G# and A.

Section 3 Probably the hardest section because of the sweeps and rhythm change (I
don't want to call it a tempo change because you can still play the same tempo
throughout.) They key to playing this section correct is finger position. I keep
my hand at the 5th position for the sweeping part and the 6th and 7th for the end
of the section.

Section 4 Very simple sliding riffage. Just keep the tempo and keep your hand relaxed and you'll have no problems.

Sections 5 and 6 use the same riff as section 4, however instead of basing the riff the root notes: B, C#, D and E in section 5 I play the 5th's of those notes: F#, G#, A and B. In section 6, however, I play the 5ths of F#, G#, A and B (C#, D#, E and F#, notes from C# Dorian which is in the key of B major) to harmonize the riff.


Section 1
d u d u d u...
D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#:-0-0-0-0-7-7-7-7-10-10-10-10-8-8-8-8-0-0-0-0-7-7-7-7-10-10-10-10-8-8-8-8-
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------

D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#:-0-0-0-0-7-7-7-7-10-10-10-10-8-8-8-8-0-0-6-0-0-6-0-0-6-0-0-5-0-0-5-0-0-5-
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Section 2
d u d u d u d u d u d u...
D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-0-0-0-0-7-7-8-10-6~0-0-0-0-7-7-8-10-6~0-0-0-0-7-7-8-10-6~0-0-5-0-0-3-0-0

D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-0-0-2~------------------------------------------------------------------
Section 3
d u d u d u d u d d d d u d u d u d u d d d d u d u d u d u d d d d d
D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#:--------------------2-3--------------------2-3--------------------2-3----
C#:-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0--0-2-3-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0--0-2-3-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0--0-2-3-0-9
dd uuu d d d u d u d u d u d d d...
D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:--7/10\7-----------------------------------------------------------------
G#:-8------8--7-8--------------------2-3--------------------2-3-------------
C#:---------9-7-8-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0--0-2-3-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0--0-2-3-0-0-0-0-0-0-
(Rhythm Change)>d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d u d
D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:--------------7/10\7-----------------------------------------------------
G#:--------2-3--8------8--7-6-----------------------------------------------
C#:-0-0--0-2-3-9--------9-7-6-0-7-6-0-7-6-0-7-6-0-7-6-7-8-0-7-8-0-7-8-0-7-8
d d...
D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#:-0-0-------------------------------------------------0-0-0---------------
C#:-0-0-0-7-6-0-7-6-0-7-6-0-7-6-0-7-8-0-7-8-0-7-8-0-7-8-0-0-0---------------
Section 4
d d d d d d d d d d d d d...
D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#:-0-0-10/12-0-12/13-0-13\12-0-15\12-0-0-13\12-12/13-0-0-10/12-0-12/13-0-
C#:-0-0-10/12-0-12/13-0-13\12-0-15\12-0-0-13\12-12/13-0-0-10/12-0-12/13-0-

D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#:-13\12-0-15\12-0-0-13\12-12/13-0-0-10/12-0-12/13-0-0-10-12-13-10---------
C#:-13\12-0-15\12-0-0-13\12-12/13-0-0-10/12-0-12/13-0-0-10-12-13-10---------
Section 5
Guitar 1
d d d d d d d d d d d d d...
D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#:-0-0-10/12-0-12/13-0-13\12-0-15\12-0-0-13\12-12/13-0-0-10/12-0-12/13-0-
C#:-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Guitar 2
d d d d d d d d d d d d d...
D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-0-0-10/12-0-12/13-0-13\12-0-15\12-0-0-13\12-12/13-0-0-10/12-0-12/13-0-
G#:-----------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Guitar 1
D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#:-13\12-0-15\12-0-0-13\12-12/13-------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Guitar 2
D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-13\12-0-15\12-0-0-13\12-12/13-------------------------------------------
G#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Section 6
Guitar 1
d d d d d d d d d d d d d...
D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#:-0-0-10/12-0-12/13-0-13\12-0-15\12-0-0-13\12-12/13-0-0-10/12-0-12/13-0-
C#:-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Guitar 2
d d d d d d d d d d d d d...
D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#:-0-0-0/2-0-2/3-0-3\2-0-5\2-0-0-3\2-2/3-0-0-0/2-0-2/3-0-3\2-0-5\2-0-0-3\2-
C#:-0-0-0/2-0-2/3-0-3\2-0-5\2-0-0-3\2-2/3-0-0-0/2-0-2/3-0-3\2-0-5\2-0-0-3\2-

Guitar1
D#:--------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:--------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:--------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:--------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#:-13\12-0-15\12-0-0-13\12-12/13--------------------------------------------
C#:--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Guitar 2
D#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
F#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-------------------------------------------------------------------------
G#:-2/3---------------------------------------------------------------------
C#:-2/3---------------------------------------------------------------------



Ok, this is part two of "The Art of Shredding". In this lesson I will run through 1) the basics of soloing, 2) the sounds of the different modes 3) how to combine modes to create interesting sounds and 4) how to switch keys while soloing.


Basics of Soloing


When you are ready to write or improvise a solo, it is important to 1) know the chord progression and what key you are in and 2) know what you want your solo to sound like. I'm going to assume that if you are reading this you already know how to figure out what key you're in. So I'm just going to jump right into this with a few quick examples because i feel this is the least important part of this lesson, but is a necessary step.

We are going to use a simple four chord progression of: A5-F5-E5-D5-E5-F5. All examples will be played in Drop D tuning. Ok, here is the rhythm part:



A5 A5 F5 F5 E5 E5 D5 D5 E5 E5 F5 F5
E:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
B:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
G:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
D:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A:-7---------7-------3-----3-----2-----2-----0---------0-----2-----2-----3-----3-
D:-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-3-3-3-3-2-2-2-2-2-2-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-2-2-2-2-3-3-3-3-3-3-


Now that you have your rhythm established, it's time to solo! Ok, so now you have to decide how you want your solo to sound. Do you want it to simple harmonize with the rhythm, do you want it to sound sad, happy? These are things you should be asking yourself.

Harmonizing your leads with your rhythm

This is where knowing the different intervals within a scale come into play. But you're gonna ask, well which scale? Since the chord progression involves, A F E and D, and it starts with A, I'm going to use the A natural minor scale as my starting point. I chose this scale because in the key of A minor you have the notes A B C D E F G. A minor seemed fairly obvious to me.
For this solo, I am going to harmonize with the rhythm using thirds. In other words, I am taking the root note of the rhythm chord, and while staying with the A natural minor scale, I am going to count two intervals up and play that note to Harmonize. Ok, here we go:




Rhythm Guitar:
E:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
B:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
G:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
D:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A:-7---------7-------3-----3-----2-----2-----0---------0-----2-----2-----3-----3-
D:-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-3-3-3-3-2-2-2-2-2-2-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-2-2-2-2-3-3-3-3-3-3-

Lead Guitar:
E:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
B:---13--13--13--13----10------8---8-------------6---------6---------------------
G:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
D:-10--10--10--10----7-----7-5---5-----5-3---3---------3-----5-----5-7---7-----7-
A:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
D:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Of course you don't have to play that exactly as I do. That was just to give you an idea of what I am talking about.

Creating "Sad" Textures

There are certain modes that sound sad. A natural minor a.k.a. A aeolian is one of those sad sounding scales. Another sad scale would be, B Locrian or D Dorian. I am not going to tab out an example of how you can apply these scales, because there are a zillion different licks to play. You should look the scales up and practice with them yourself.

Creating "Happy" Textures

Just as there are "sad" sounding scales, there are also happy sounding scales. You could play C Ionian, E Phrygian or G Mixolydian. I am not going to tab out an example of how you can apply these scales, because there are a zillion different licks to play. You should look the scales up and practice with them yourself.


The Sounds of Different Modes



Here is a table to help you. Not everyone will agree, and how a scale sounds has a lot to do with how you play it.



Mode---------------Happy--Sad---
Ionian (major) | (x)| | |
Dorian | | | (x)|
Phrygian | (x)| | |
Lydian | | | (x)|
Mixolydian | (x)| | |
Aeolian (minor) | | | (x)|
Locrian | | | (x)|



All right dudes...and dudettes...we are halfway through! Go for a smoke, grab a beer or whatever floats your boat. Me, I've already got myself settled in with a cold Miller Light and a pack of Camel Filters. (I don't condone underage drinking, call me a hypocrite, and smoking is bad-once again, call me a hypocrite.)



Combining Modes




Ok, moving right along. Personally i find that if i stick with one scale for the entirety of a solo, I get kinda bored. So I say to myself, "F*** it! If I'm playing in A minor, than no matter what mode I'm using, all the notes will be the same!"
Ok, so we all know what modes are right? Well in case you don't, they are scales. Simple as that. I'm not going to go into it because this lesson is not about modes. Here is an example of combing two modes to create an awkward sound...somewhere between happy and sad, where both modes will kind of neutralize each other. I'm going to use A Aeolian and B Locrian for this example...



B Locrian------------------------|B Locrian
E:---------------------------------------------------------------
B:--------------------------------------------------------ph10---
G:------------------------------------------------9/10\9\7-------
D:---------------------7-9-10-7/9-10-12-10-9-ph10----------------
A:-5-7-8-7-5-ph7--5-7-8------------------------------------------
D:---------------------------------------------------------------
A Aeolian-------------| A Aeolian


Most guitar players do something like this without even realizing what they are doing. This is just to give you an idea of what I mean. If you do this already great! Good for you! The bakery down the street is giving away free cookies! But if you are one of those dudes who just plays in one mode for an entire solo, try to step out of the box a little.
Here is a lick that traverses through all seven modes:



E:--------------------------7-8-10-----------------------------------------
B:---------------------5-6-8------8-10-12----------------------------------
G:----------------4-5-7------------------9-10-12---------------------------
D:-----------2-3-5------------------------------10-12-14----------------19-
A:------2-3-5-------------------------------------------12-14-15-----------
D:-2-3-5--------------------------------------------------------14-15-17---



Have fun with that one. It's a pretty cool lick and is great to warm up with.


Switching Keys



This can be tricky at first. But shouldn't take long for you to get the hang of. First thing we are gonna do is take each of the chords in our progression (A5 F5 E5 and D5) by themselves. Also, for the sake of heavy metal...we are gonna stay in the Natural Minor key for each Chord.


Chord - Natural Minor Scale
A5 A B C D E F G
F5 F G G# A# C C# D#
E5 E F# G A B C D
D5 D E F G A A# C


Now, theoretically, switching keys is kinda like solving equations. One basic rule, what you do to one side you must do to the other. So when you switch the key you are soloing in, you must also switch your chord to match and visa versa. One way to do this smoothly, is to find common notes amongst your scales, which is why i made the above table. For example, if you are going from A natural minor to F natural minor, you don't want to go from D to G#...that wont sound so hot because there is no G# in the A natural minor scale and it will be fairly obvious that you are switching scales. However, the A natural minor and the F natural minor do share the F G and C notes. OK, enough with the jibber jabber. Here is the rhythm part, and for the lead, I am going to switch from A natural minor to F natural minor to E natural minor to D natural minor and back again....obviously its not going to be a great solo...but you'll hopefully get the idea.



Rhythm Guitar:
E:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
B:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
G:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
D:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A:-7---------7-------3-----3-----2-----2-----0---------0-----2-----2-----3-----3-
D:-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-3-3-3-3-2-2-2-2-2-2-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-2-2-2-2-3-3-3-3-3-3-

Lead Guitar:
A minor-----------|F minor|E minor-----|D minor-----------|E minor|F minor---|
~~~~
E:--------------------------------------------------------3-4-5/8-7----------9---
B:-5/6-8---------------------------------------------3-4-6---------8-------10----
G:------7-4/5-7---------2-4-5-----4-5-7---------2-3-5--------------------12------
D:-------------5-----2-4-----4-5-7-----ph5-2-3-5--------------------10/11--------
A:--------------2-3-5------------------------------------------------------------
D:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


That concludes this lesson. Hopefully you learned a bit. There is one more lesson on way in which i will discuss chromatics and other fun topics!


Request:

How To Shred

by GuitarBoy666

Can someone make a lesson on how to shred like crazy?
Like they did way back when in the 80\'s, as GuitarSlinger124 said, that\'s what the 80\'s were all about. I wanna play like that too. Please someone make a lesson.

Thanks





Comments:

01
01.09.2009
  guitarmastergod

good lesson, and speaking of every1 shreding in the 80s, has any1 seen vinnie moore in that pepsi commercial

02
01.09.2009
  BodomBeachTerror

this is a great lesson, now im try other stuff with my riffs

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