How to Shred on a Guitar


The guitar-playing style known as shredding involves incredible speed and intricate and complicated fingering. Also known as neoclassical shred guitar, this style definitely is not easy. You need serious guitar chops to become a master shredder, which means lots of time and a lot of practice. Those who are serious about shredding like their guitar heroes also should seek professional training from a qualified guitar teacher.

Things You'll Need

  • Guitar
  • Amp
  • Metronome
  • Guitar tabs
  • Professional guitar teacher
  • Start by learning some basic guitar chords, such as power chords and barre chords. Play around with these chords to get comfortable with how they feel. Pick up a book of guitar tabs and learn a few simple songs.

  • Practice guitar scales to improve your technique and coordination. Focus on melodic and harmonic minor scales, such as the E natural minor scale, the E harmonic minor scale, the E melodic minor scale and the phrygian-dominant scale, which are regularly used in neoclassical shred music.

  • Use a metronome while you play scales to learn tempo and pace. Start slow and gradually increase the metronome speed as you get more confident in your abilities. Guitar shredding is all about speed, so push yourself to play as fast as you can.

  • Take guitar lessons with a professional teacher in order to learn more complicated licks and techniques. Study classical and neoclassical guitar and work on your speed and accuracy. Learn to read sheet music.

  • Learn to use alternate picking, which involves using both down strokes and up strokes alternately instead of only picking downward. This is a classic shredding technique. Study other shredding techniques such as tapping, legato, sweep picking, economy picking and string skipping.

  • Experiment with how you hold your pick and guitar in order to increase your speed. Try holding the neck closer to your head and hold the pick at an angle. Using a harder pick also may help you play faster.

  • Study the masters of guitar shredding, such as Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen and Kirk Hammett, who is from Metallica. Watch videos of them playing to observe their technique. Learn to play some of their songs.

  • Continue taking guitar lessons, practice and study on your own every day. To be a master shredder, you continually must hone your skills.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try to practice for at least 20 minutes a day.
  • Remember that guitar shredding also is about attitude and stage presence. Play with confidence.
  • Don't overdo it when practicing. Stop if your wrists start to hurt.

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  • Photo Credit Guitar player #1 image by Warren Millar from
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