How To Shred On Guitar

How To Shred (Part I)

Well, first of all, we need to figure out what kind of "shredder" you want to be!

Which of these statements do you find most agreeable?

A. I like leather pants and songs about dragons, rainbows, and castle maidens. Thinking about vikings, bronze underwear, and armed conflict turn me on.

B. I like classical music and heavy metal about the same and I also think that champagne goes well with corn dogs and cotton candy.

C. I want to specialize in one technique that will make me go as fast as I can even though it will make me sound repetitive and predictable. I may or may not be okay with a day job.

D. I like random note generators, calculus, and the word "jazz." I'm okay with either a day job or homelessness.

E. I could look good in motorcycle racing outfits and I like jazz.

F. I'm down with producing terrifying sound art that freaks people out, living in abject poverty, and dying young.

G. I (a) love myself and think I am the center of the universe or (b) I hate myself and hate you so that I can love myself in my self-hating projection.


If you chose A, you need to check out neoclassical rockers like Yngwie and hone those alternate picking skills and maybe a little legato. Eat as much as possible and keep your pimp hand strong.

If you chose B, you need to check out guys like Paul Gilbert and work on alternate picking. Invest in ear plugs. No, seriously. Oh, and a cordless drill could come in handy.

If you chose C, you need to check out Joe Satriani (legato) or the king of the zig-zag arpeggio sequences of doom, Frank Gambale (sweep picking). You'll also need to invest in hair replacement solutions very soon. Do you like hats?

If you chose D, take lessons from any fusion dude you find living in a cardboard box in NYC or Boston. Main technique is, apparently, rolling your guitar down a flight of stairs over the changes to "Giant Steps."

If you chose E, you need to check out my main man, Burnin' Vernon Reid. You'll need  an effects system that makes the NASA control room seem like a Hasbro Lite Brite by comparison.

If you chose F, Shawn Lane is your dude and you should just give up now. However, even if you cannot play like Lane you might emulate his chain smoking habit and comrade hat style. Kicking the habit? Arthur Rhames is your man and you should just kill yourself now.

IF you chose G, your models are either Steve Vai or Al Di "Mute them all and let god sort them out" ola. You'll need either a mirror + a bad horsie (you naughty, naughty boy) or psychoanalysis and an Italian sports car (and put a shirt on for crying out loud!)

Stay Tuned for Part II where we'll work on those specific techniques you'll need to shred your way into the hearts and minds of young white competitive males everywhere.