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Shredding is certainly one of the most challenging guitar techniques to master, and it may take years before you can perform it perfectly. While it is such a complicated technique to master, it is also one of the most pointless because people hate it! That’s true, and it’s not only musicians that hate it. Non-musicians might be impressed with the speed at which you are playing, but they certainly aren’t going to listen to songs with shred guitar for long.
Shredding popularity over the years
Sure, shredding was extremely popular during the 80s, 90s, and into the 2000s, especially when rock was still at the height of its popularity. While it is still a popular guitar technique that is difficult to master and impressive to watch, it does not convey the same spectacular image as it did back then.
Over the years, several guitar players or virtuosos, such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, and Joe Satriani, were praised for their fantastic guitar skills, mainly how they were able to play at such a fast tempo. However, today the music scene is entirely different, and the public’s perception of shred guitar has changed dramatically.
The way that music has changed over the years, whether we want to debate if it was for the better or worse, remains one of the main reasons why people hate shredding. But more reasons explain why shredding has suddenly become unpopular.
4 Reasons why people hate shredding
1. Music is not about speed
As a musician, speed, or tempo, is one of the main foundations of music, and it is an important concept to grasp. But is music really about speed? While it is an impressive feat to play several notes in a matter of seconds, that alone isn’t music. Music is much more than speed, and a great musician is not the one that plays the fastest or the most complex techniques but the one that plays the right notes at the right tempo.
This is another reason why people hate shredding because after a while, it gets boring, and the bottom line is that playing a sequence of notes at a ridiculously fast speed is not music in itself, it’s just doodling very fast.
2. Shred guitar is a way to show off
Another reason why shredding has become overrated is that most guitar players use shredding as a way to show off their skills. Yes, many of us learn how to shred just so we can impress ourselves and others with our ability. In the meantime, we forget that learning to shred one or two licks or even a scale is not what music learning should be about.
Instead, practicing to become better at melodic solos or developing our knowledge of chord progressions becomes a much more important step to becoming a better musician. Shredding or playing fast has its place, but it should not be the sole focus of your guitar learning process.
3. Music requires silence
As crucial as notes are to music, silence is also vital, and unfortunately, it is often overlooked. This is another reason why people hate shredding and why it has suddenly become less and less popular. Music needs silence, and playing hundreds of notes in a few minutes is not what music is about.
There’s a time and place to play fast, but music requires silence, and this is something that few guitar players understand.
4. Shredding random notes sounds awful
Yes, believe it or not, but shredding the same lick repeatedly does not sound good at all, and it gets to the point that it is similar to a buzzing bee or flies going around in your ears. While it might be impressive for a few seconds, it quickly becomes an unfathomable collection of notes that do not seem to end.
5. Guitar players pay more attention to it than the public
Finally, one of the reasons why most people hate shred guitar is that shred guitar is a lot more impressive to other guitar players than it is to the general public. The regular music enthusiast will listen to it and be impressed for 5 seconds, and after a while it gets bored. While guitar players, especially beginners, will listen to shred guitar for hours and hours because of the way they admire the technical capabilities of the artist, but not so much his music.
A musician’s goal should be to create and perform music for the general public and not for other guitar players and musicians. Play music that inspires and moves others instead of trying to show all of your skills.
Shred is still important
While this may seem like an opinionated article bashing shredding, it is not, and it should not be perceived in this way. Shredding is cool, and it will always be an impressive technique that I will incorporate into my playing. But the key here is to incorporate shredding naturally into your music and performance.
Avoid making your whole musical persona the guy that shreds, and instead, make it about the guy that creates impressive solos while also being able to shred. Instead of desperately trying to learn how to shred, start by learning to solo and improvise with your feel and touch.
As you get better and you start being more comfortable with playing and soloing, you will notice that the speed at which you play will naturally increase just with practice.
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.