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

    Messages:
    151
    Likes Received:
    29
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    (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
    prlgmnr likes this.
  2. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

    Messages:
    5,178
    Likes Received:
    1,418
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Location:
    Gatineau, Quebec
    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

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2017
    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

    Messages:
    151
    Likes Received:
    29
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    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

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Location:
    Surprise az
    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

    Messages:
    4,957
    Likes Received:
    1,226
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    In the shadow of a mountain near SLC UT
    I'm still waiting.....
     
    Jeesan likes this.
  7. xaptronic

    xaptronic SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2017
    Location:
    Canada
    I'm still learning. It doesn't take long to learn how to play scales fast. What is hard, is having a melodic motif behind what you're playing and having ways to begin and end phrases.
     
  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    15,072
    Likes Received:
    2,974
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    When I was pretty new playing, my main goal was to learn how to play "From the Beginning" by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. A couple years later, it was "Erotomania" by Dream Theater, then "Technical Difficulties" by Racer X, and so on and so on. But every time I'd learn a song that would have been capable of impressing the old me, I'd already know of a song that was on another level beyond that in terms of technique, and I think that's just a never-ending process. Even writing my own parts - always trying to digest new techniques and integrate my own take on those in my own playing, but doing so in a context that is musical and still fun to listen to and to play - it's a journey. You never get to the end of that road.
     
  9. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

    Messages:
    3,645
    Likes Received:
    711
    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    Location:
    Auburn, Washington
    I started out in the 70's, learning to records (33rpm, 45rpm) in addition to regular theory lessons. I started learning records more exclusively in the 80's and even after playing for 45+ years, I still practice constantly to maintain my current speed, efficiently, cleanliness, etc...
     
  10. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire git gud scrub

    Messages:
    7,883
    Likes Received:
    4,886
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    I spent years practicing scale runs and legato/other techniques for hours at a time before i felt comfortable playing any shreddy stuff. i'm still a sloppy player compared to a lot of the shreddy guys. the only thing i have going for me is that my ADD actually helped me pick up a bunch of disparate techniques that i've been trying to mold into my own style. the only way to really get good at playing shreddy stuff as far as i'm concerned is to constantly practice and push yourself technique wise.
     

Share This Page