How long did it take you to learn to shred?

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

  1. mdeeRocks

    mdeeRocks SS.org Regular

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    (When I was about 19) It took me about 4 months of about 1 hour practice a day to learn Paul Gilbert's famous picking lick to play it totally effortlessly at high speed. Took me about a month to have very good control of dynamics of it. I had very good left hand technique and I could tremolo pick forever with zero fatigue and minimum movements (that took me about 4 years or so, I have started "late"), 4 months were spent on string crossing and dynamics.

    Now, I didn't do any of this metronome 5 bmp per day nonsense, or I'd be still playing this lick at 90bpm. I basically figured it out first how to play it fast (mostly by short high speed bursts and going by the feeling of tension), then slowed down to get it in control, then did some metronome practice. The technique is different when playing at mid/slow speeds. The major thing was playing what felt (no tension) and sounded right. Playing funk rhythms at moderat/high speed with a drummer or metronome helped a ton to loosen up/get good sense of accents.

    From real live observation, a person with good, minimum tension medium speed basic technique, good ears and rhythm sense, will probably learn high speed playing in about 3-4 years of 1-2 hours a day dedicated, focused practice. The trick is that many, many people never figure out what is the right fast playing technique for them and they get stuck (you can't do it with metronome 5 bpm per day thing - try sprinting very slowly, see what happens :) ). it's extremely hard to teach and explain, but some people get it right away, usually by accident.

    Maintenance is another story. Paul Gilbert once said that fast picking is like tropical fishes. They look pretty but require a lot of constant effort or they die.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
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  2. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I can't help but ask "why"? I've always thought of myself as being a pretty solid guitar player, but I don't "shred". IMO it's unrealistic to set goals that high - to only aim for the best. To each their own, but for me that's not the point of playing- and even if it was, only very few people are ever going to be "the best". I don't want to be the best, I just want to be good enough to enjoy it and be able to express some stuff. I hear about people practicing picking techniques for hours a day so they can be the best sweep picker in town, and I guess I just don't care enough about my playing to go that far. I've got better things to do. :lol:

    No knocking people who do practice that much, or who set high goals, but it does strike me as an odd mindset.
     
  3. Jackson kelly

    Jackson kelly SS.org Regular

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    Bitchin insight man.i really hope i can learn it faster than 4 years. Ive been putting 2 to 3 hours in a day on week days an 6 hours a day ( not in a row ) on weekends. It hets to a point during practice that i peak an also a point where i start to lose it, so i take a break from it. So frustrating though man. So repetitive. Anyways...thanks for the info.
     
  4. mdeeRocks

    mdeeRocks SS.org Regular

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    I'd not rush it. You need time to internalize, sometimes a day of break is a good thing. If you feel it's repetitive change something - play 15-12-14-15-14-12 instead of 12-15-14-12-14-15 etc. Assuming you are aware and control the tension, you should see steady progress nonetheless and this will reinforce your learning. The confidence that you will get there (because you already figured out how to play fast or have a good idea what technique will get you there - I'll repeat it again, tension is the key here, fast playing with good technique doesn't feel any different than playing an E major chord) should give you a lot of patience.
    I am still learning myself, even after all years, I don't feel as comfortable as I want to with 2 nps alternate picked patterns for instance.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
  5. donniekak

    donniekak SS.org Regular

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    Early on I spent 6-10 hours a day on picking. After about 2 years I guess I could shred.

    I'm still not perfectly happy and spend a few hours a week on technique. I always thought my alternate picking was solid, but after watching the Troy Grady stuff and slowing down some video of myself I found out I wasn't doing what I thought I was. Lots of economy picking was mixed in and some swiping.
     
  6. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

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    I'm still waiting.....
     

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