Shredding is one of the most impressive guitar techniques, but how do guitar players shred? How do you learn shred on guitar?
These are some of the most common questions guitar students have, and we have the answers!
In this guide, we will go over the steps you need to take to learn to shred on guitar.
What does shredding mean in guitar playing?
Shredding is a term used in guitar playing that refers to playing with speed and precision. It involves playing melodic licks at a very fast speed.
To shred guitar players make extremely small and detailed movements with their picking hand, and the pick hits the string in alternate movements from up-down, and then down-up.
Shredding is considered a skill that takes a lot of practice to master, and is admired by many guitarists for its ability to create complex sounds. It is one of the ways to really sound like a guitar virtuoso.
Shredding can be used to create a fast and aggressive sound or to show off your technical abilities.
Can anybody learn to shred guitar?
Any guitar player can learn how to shred, however, it takes a lot of practice and dedication to be able to shred on guitar. You will have to practice for a lot of hours, and repeat the same movement constantly.
Playing guitar has a physical aspect that in many ways is similar to sports. A 100m Olympic runner has to practice for years in order to achieve their best time on the track. In the same way, a guitar player will have to practice for countless hours to make all of these small movements with his fingers on the strings faster and faster.
If you put in the required effort and practice on a daily basis you will be able to shred on guitar.
How do I start learning shred guitar?
Before you even start learning how to shred on the guitar you need to make sure you have a solid foundation. Guitar shredding involves different techniques like alternate picking and economy picking, and therefore you need to master these in order to start learning to shred.
Here are some steps to help you start learning how to shred on guitar:
How to shred on guitar for beginners
- Get a metronome
A metronome should always be present with you when you are practicing guitar and especially shredding. You need to make sure you play in tempo, otherwise shredding with no rhythm simple sounds like a bee.
You also want to set your metronome to a low speed, so you can practice every little movement slowly at first. Remember that even practicing at a low speed for countless hours will help you play faster. You don’t always have to practice at a high speed to be able to shred.
- Choose a simple lick
The best way is to take a simple lick and practice it over and over again. Choose a string and pick a lick that starts with your index finger, and use the middle finger and pinky. You can take for example the G major scale and play just the high e string.
Just play that simple lick a few times in starting on any fret you want, and make sure you do it like this:
Use alternate picking, to make sure each stroke on the string is down then up then down then up. A downstroke should always be followed by an upstroke. This will help you build your alternate picking speed, and will make you practice this movement.
- Repeat it and slowly increase the speed
Once you have started to pick up this simple lick, you should try to repeat it over and over again. If you get comfortable at a certain speed you can always increase your metronome speed, but make sure you do it slowly.
This will create the foundation to play faster and faster every time. You can then start playing different licks.
What you need to learn to shred on a guitar
To learn to shred guitar, one must develop a strong technical foundation. This includes a few techniques that are essential to be able to shred.
Here is what you need to learn to shred on guitar:
- Alternate picking
- String skipping
- Economy picking
- Consistent practice
- The right pick
As we mentioned alternate picking is a guitar technique that is used to play faster. When alternate picking, the guitarist alternates between downstrokes and upstrokes, which makes it possible to play more notes in a shorter amount of time.
Practicing alternate picking can be done with a single note, and it will make your picking hand movements faster and faster.
The technique is based on the principle that most of the notes in a chord can be played by using just two or three fingers. When you are shredding on the guitar you want to avoid looking for notes that are very far away from each other.
This defeats the purpose of playing fast because you won’t be able to play notes that are far apart from each other very fast. This is why economy picking is such an important technique to learn, in order to master shredding.
Economy picking is an advanced guitar technique that can take some time to master, just like alternate picking.
The most important thing to learning how to shred on guitar is constantly practicing. You will not be able to shred without practicing for hours and hours. The reason is that shred involves simple movements that can be complicated to perform at very high speeds.
In order to do so, you will have to constantly practice the same movement until you become faster.
With string skipping, you can avoid the harsh sound that can be created when two strings are played together. You will need to master this technique to be able to shred on the guitar, especially to make melodic and complex licks.
One of the most important things that a musician can do in order to improve their playing is to practice with a metronome. The same applies to shredding. If you try to practice shredding without a metronome you will end up playing fast but out of tempo.
It is essential that whenever you practice shredding you use a metronome.
The right pick
A guitar player that knows how to shred will be able to do it with pretty much any pick. However, for shredding beginners, it is important to choose a pick that helps you shred. Our advice is to get a Dunlop Big Stubby, and here is why the Dunlop Big Stubby 2mm is the best shredding pick.
Is it hard to shred guitar?
Yes, shredding is one of the most difficult guitar techniques to master, however, that does not mean that it can’t be done. When you are learning how to shred it is important to focus on your practice routine. Make sure you start practicing only one lick and practice it over and over again.
At some point, you will notice that you become faster and faster. Learning how to shred is all about precision. Incredibly small movements with your picking hand are what actually allow you to shred. This precision on each movement can only be achieved if you repeat the same movement thousands of times.
What scale is used for shredding?
Shredding can be played using pretty much any scale, or any lick that you want to play. However, there are some scales that work better than others depending on the music genre you want to play.
Shredding is one of the most impressive guitar techniques, and it is difficult to master. It takes a lot of dedication and commitment to be able to play extremely fast.
You should not be discouraged if you are just starting to learn how to shred. Just remember to keep practicing constantly, and you will be able to become faster and faster.
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I have been playing guitar for the past 15 years, and my knowledge and passion for guitars prompted me to start Guitaresque to share my knowledge, tips, and tricks with other guitar players. The sole purpose of this website is to help and inspire guitar players worldwide, to improve their playing and their love for guitars.