How long did it take you to learn to shred?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by nkri, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. nkri

    nkri SS.org Regular

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    I've been playing for 6.5 years, and my goal for the last 3 has been to advance my picking technique to the level of Petrucci et al, but I only started really practicing and working on technique in July, when I started to devote 4+ hours per day to practice. I've seen steady improvement since then, and now I can comfortably alternate pick 16ths at ~120bpm (after starting ~75-80). My long-term goal as of right now is to be able to play 16ths somewhere around 200, but I've been focusing on much smaller/easier short-term goals.

    So, for those of you who can shred, how long did it take you to learn accuracy and precision at high speeds and how much time did/do you practice every day? I've been amazed at how much I've been able to accomplish in the last few months but I'm trying to gauge how far along I'll be in, say, a year from now.
     
  2. Maniacal

    Maniacal SS.org Regular

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    I worked on my picking for 2 hours a day for about to 2 years before I got it to a stage I was fairly happy with.

    I don't think it is about time, it is about good use of time. My routines were very intense and always pushing my limits. Doing the same thing every day won't get you very far.
     
  3. James_E

    James_E Hacker, at best

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    I'm glad you posted this as I'm curious too. Have you read Malcom Gladwell's book "outliers" where it talks about "ten thousand hours"?

    Most people who are "talented" (as perceived by those who don't play an instrument) are those that have worked VERY hard to get where it "looks easy". This is the same in ANY human endeavour.

    I'm currently trying to put in the hours and work to get to where I want to be as far as "shred" goes. I've got a long way to go. I'd love to hear about how much work others have put in and what it has got them.

    Here's a relevant video in the meantime:

     
  4. deathjazz89

    deathjazz89 SS.org Regular

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    I used a knife all my life until I found a grater. That is the day I learned to shred.
     
  5. MrPepperoniNipples

    MrPepperoniNipples SS.org Regular

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    I think it was 4 years before my technique actually developed into something that I could really be proud of

    and I mean raelly be proud of, not just play sloppy and fast in my bedroom and pretend I'm Rusty Cooley.
     
  6. TristanTTN

    TristanTTN SS.org Regular

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    I've been playing for about 2 and a half years now and I'm pretty good at economy picking. I can play some pretty fast stuff with that technique, but I still can't alternate pick that well.

    Have to practice more!
     
  7. Stealthdjentstic

    Stealthdjentstic Banned

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    I still cant play worth shit
     
  8. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I think for the majority of players this is a difficult question to answer, because most people (including professional musicians) don't continually build and build and build on their techniques, but instead take some time off in between. 4 hours a day of practicing speed picking isn't really sustainable long term without burning out. So I think most people get really proficient, then work on other things, or slack off some, then revisit it later. I know that's the case for myself, and a lot of touring musicians say the same thing. I think if you're doing what you're doing you'll quickly become proficient at shredding, as you want, and will then move to something else, technique and practice wise. And honestly, at the rate you're going you're going to get really good really fast, so we'll probably be coming to you!
    Personally, I scrapped my technique (circular picking) back in 2008 and forced myself to start over, and develop good, strict wrist technique. Then I moved to cleaning up my sweeps. And now I've been such a slacker I'm working on speed again for, like, the umpteen millionth time in my life. It's the first thing to go when you slack off for a couple of months.

    EDIT: PS, I'm going to guess you're not dating anyone right now. Having a girlfriend screws up the practice schedule like nothing else. :lol:
     
  9. mindwalker

    mindwalker SS.org Regular

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    I've played for like 6 years but only seriously the last 3 or 4. By seriously I mean 1 hour per day at best. I have invested in a few fancy guitars but I still play like shit. Reason being that I always play the same stuff and I don't have much time for more. Of course time is what you make of it but once you have a girlfriend, a full day job and a house to keep.. you start running out of time.

    On a plus side joining YouTube guitar compos forced me to push the envelope.. but I'm still very sloppy and wouldn't play live for anyone
     
  10. CRaul87

    CRaul87 SS.org Regular

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    can you elaborate more on that pls?
     
  11. Sam MJ

    Sam MJ Tries to be helpful

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    You have to push past your boundaries and out of your comfort zone, if you do the same thing everyday and just play what you can already play then you aren't learning.

    Choose a short lick (2 bars or so) that you like the sound of, play it slowly untill you've learnt the fingerings for it then practise that as fast as you can WITHOUT tensing up AT ALL, make a concious effort to stay relaxed and check every few minutes to make sure.

    It's fine if you make a few mistakes, just take that section and play it a bit slower for a few minutes before going back to the full lick.

    do that a bit everyday untill you can play it comfortably then choose another lick using the same techniques (or the next part if it's a song)
     
    mdeeRocks and MrPepperoniNipples like this.
  12. CRaul87

    CRaul87 SS.org Regular

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    well I do play the same thing every day for the most part but that's just because I can't play it up to speed yet....
     
  13. Sam MJ

    Sam MJ Tries to be helpful

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    That's fine, just make sure you're pushing yourself a bit more everyday :) (but not so much that you tense up)
     
  14. kaaka

    kaaka SS.org Regular

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    I can shred decently - there are certainly a lot of better people on the forum. Sometimes I practice hard for periods, other times I just practice technique for a few minutes a couple times a week to not lose it all. I have played guitar now for 12 years but let's say I didn't practice much in the first years.

    I also realised that for passing a certain level of speed It's not about time practiced for me but more about improve technique by reevaluating how to optimize what you currently got... Which means to really analyse your playing in term of how to hold the pick, optimize movements, stay relaxed and carefully listen to the outcome of what you play. With this approach you can do really good improvements in quite little time when you felt stuck at a certain tempo and felt you couldn't go faster.
     
  15. nkri

    nkri SS.org Regular

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    I tend to find the slap chop gets the job done :shrug:

    haha nope, in addition to practicing several hours a day, I'm also a full-time undergrad and work 35-hour weeks so I don't have time for a girlfriend right now lol, it'll be a lot easier when I'm out of college...

    Yup I've been finding the same thing...as with anything speed-related, improvement is more about efficiency and optimization than anything else.
     
  16. JosephAOI

    JosephAOI Thinks Jazz = Metal

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    :agreed:
     
  17. Experimorph

    Experimorph SS.org Regular

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    Like many have pointed out, it's not all about the years spent playing. I've been playing for some 6 years now, and I still feel like I simply can't shred.

    The problems stem from many roots, which I've acknowledged along the way. I was self taught for two or three years into playing, and like Hollowway, I developed a circular picking technique, mostly using my thumb and index finger for the moving the pick. This led to two problems: I plateaued and felt that I wasn't progressing after a certain point; it also led to semi-constant pain in the middle joint of my index finger - no wonder given the fact that a lot of pressure is forwarded into that single joint when moving swiftly and hitting the strings hard, with an open hand as well.

    It took me quite some time to get accustomed to playing with a closed hand after that, and I really had to concentrate on loosening the grip on the pick. However, after the adaptation phase, I felt like I was progressing again.

    When I started playing, I was madly into the shred scene. So, I figured, I had to learn to play fast. I actually had a goal: to sweep like Jason Becker before I was 20 years old. Quite ambitious, that.

    My perversion for getting better made me play hours on end every day, though. I was constantly pushing myself, and you could easily see the results; you could say that I spent the time learning well, but I made one crucial mistake: I wasn't playing to a click.

    At that time, I sucked at playing anything rhythm. Around the time I somersaulted the way I pick, I also started to play to songs or with a metronome. These two factors then supported learning to play rhythmic stuff (read: never leaving the low F# and B strings now, haha).

    These days, even though I'm spending quite a lot of time with the guitar, I keep noticing myself drifting away from any sort of strict practice. I'm more inclined to write songs and create soundscapes than actually learn anything. So, again, I find that I'm not really making any progress technique-wise. Sucks, but I have no one to blame for it but myself.

    TL;DR: I really lost my point somewhere along those lines, but I guess I'm trying to say that getting better in a certain span of time is subjective. And that applies to pretty much anything, not just playing instruments.

    P.S. I've been lurking the forums for I don't know how long and I finally registered. Proud owner of ERG's salutes you all!
     
  18. TheOddGoat

    TheOddGoat SS.org Regular

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  19. Jackson kelly

    Jackson kelly SS.org Regular

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    Dide... You could do it in months..i know tjat a bold statement, but ive always excelled fast at guitar ...an its not cause im gifted or that my brain is. Extraordinary. Lol. I jist took on economy picking a few weeks ago and i have made alot of progress already. I plan on being prerty proficient in about two months...maybe sooner. Heres some tips......study and understand the theory and technique behind. The skill your trying to learn. Know enough to actually train yourself. Learn one run that tales you all tje way across the fret board and back down ..that is picked and tied togetjer in tje most fluid way that it can be. Play it slow and play it play it alot.learn some. Speed picking. Excersises that make you use all of your fingers in weird order.petrucci has a few that will male yoi want to smash your guotar...but they help alot.play your scales behind a chord movement that ot works with it of you can.it helps bring what your doing to life. Anyways...sinister gates from avenge seven fold learned sweeping amd gast picking in like half a year or somethimg. Its doable. Jist do it man. You got this. Thier is no pre determined time frame. Everyones different an its up to you.
     
  20. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    If you have the right picking and fingering techniques, you can get to a high-level plateau fairly quickly, but getting into each successive upper echelon of 'shred mastery' will require larger amounts of time... also know as 'diminishing returns'. And like any professional athlete, you will have to keep working to maintain whatever top end of speed you have reached. Unless you are planning to devote your life into being the next Petrucci or Malmsteen, at some point you will probably want to determine where the 'cutoff' or 'good enough' point is and focus on integrating what you have learned into music.

    Many years ago I decided I wasn't blessed with the genetic makeup to get to that level of shred with any reasonable amount of time investment, and it wasn't really going to help me meet my goal of being a good writer/composer and recordist anyhow. There are so many amazing shredders out there that I'll never have a competitive advantage in that arena. So I ended up shifting my focus from ripping scales and arpeggios up and down to learning a wider range of techniques like chicken-pickin', jazz comping, funk, chord melody, sweep picking, improvising over complex chord changes, soloing in-and-out-of-the-box ect. For me, that was the right decision, but everyone has to determine for themselves where to spend their limited time on earth.

    As long as you are enjoying the journey though, that's the most important part!! Good luck!!!
     

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