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Todd Simpson - Shred Journey

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Todd Simpson
Todd Simpson


Lesson Series by Todd Simpson


In this course, I'll be showing you how to get started with "Alternate Picking". In this lesson, I will try to assume nothing. We will start at the very beginning and work out way up. The goal of this series is to take you from 0 to 60 BPM (Beats Per Minute) and beyond. Once you can keep your alternate your picking steady and go across strings, you are ready to begin working up your speed. All it takes is practice.


Quick Vocabulary: "Beats Per Minute" (Per: Wikipedia.org)

Beats Per Minute is a unit typically used as either a measure of tempo in music, or a measure of one's heart rate. A rate of 60 bpm means that one beat will occur every second. One bpm is equal to 1/60 Hz.

The BPM tempo of a piece of music is conventionally shown in its score as a metronome mark, as illustrated to the right. This indicates that there should be 120 crotchet beats (quarter notes) per minute. In simple time signatures it is conventional to show the tempo in terms of the note duration on the bottom. So a 4/4 would show a crotchet (or quarter note), as above, while a 2/2 would show a minim (or half note).

In compound time signatures the beat consists of three note durations (so there are 3 quavers (eighth notes) per beat in a 6/8 time signature), so a dotted form of the next note duration up is used. The most common compound signatures: 6/8, 9/8, and 12/8, therefore use a dotted crotchet (dotted quarter note) to indicate their BPM.

Exotic time and particularly slow time signatures may indicate their BPM tempo using other note durations.

BPM Related External links:

Music sample:

120 BPM tempo, Example of a basic 4/4, 120 BPM tempo - Play sound


It is very important that you learn to work with a “Metronome”. What is a metronome you ask? Good question. Here is a good definition from Wikipedia

A metronome is any device that produces a regulated aural, visual or tactile pulse to establish a steady tempo in the performance of music. It is a useful practice tool for musicians that dates back to the early 19th century.
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metronome )

Metronomes now exist in software form, either as stand alone applications or often in music sequencing and audio multitrack software packages. In recording studio applications, such as film scoring, a software metronome is often used to generate a click track to synchronize musicians. So your metronome can be a physical device used to count time or a computer program that runs in software. Either way is fine. The important thing here is that you get used to playing in sync with a timed rhythm. It will make your picking more even and stable and help you work out the synchronization between your right and left hand. In addition, you will be able to measure your progress as you increase the speed of the metronome pulse. So whether you buy a stand alone metronome, like the one pictured below, or download one for your PC, Mac, or iPhone, just make sure to have one handy. We are going to be working with a metronome in later lessons.


As we go through these lessons, I really do hope that you will feel free to participate and share your attempts at the lessons with me for review and feedback. I'll check in to answer questions and provide feedback on a regular basis, so if you have questions as you go, please ask user posted image If you have a camera/web cam of your own, think about recording your lessons and posting them to a site like YouTube.com. It's free and it's a great way to track your progress and for me to be able to see you play and provide feedback and further instruction. Also, it's a great way to get used to playing under pressure so to speak. Eventually, as you play in front of audiences, you will get your "Stage Legs". This just means that you won't as nervous playing in front of people as you may initially be. With video, it's a good way to start heading that direction. You may find that something you could play very well, suddenly seems harder once there is a camera on you. This is not true for everyone, but it is a common theme. If you can get used to playing in front of a camera and learn to summon your talent at will, it can serve as a great way to get used to playing at your best level despite being filmed, watched, critiqued, applauded, or even heckled. So start recording yourself playing and start posting it to a video sharing site. It's a great way to connect with other players as well as to track your own progress. After a while, you will be able to look back on your older videos and see how much you've improved and that is a great feeling.

Before we begin, let's talk a bit about time and practice. Life is a busy thing and the only way to get better is to take control of your time and carve out time to practice each day. It is not easy in our hectic lives to find that time, but it is critical that you manage your time in such a way as to allow for daily practice, seven days a week if at all possible. Five days a week at a minimum. If you can, try to spend an hour each day with your instrument.

Before playing, always try to do some gentle stretches with your hands and wrists. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the bane of any musician. Avoid it by stretching lightly before and after playing. Also, do the usual things to help maintain yourself like getting enough sleep, and not over doing it when going out when friends. Learning an instrument can be made much easier by taking care of yourself so that your mind is clear and focused when you sit down to practice and learn.

I'm looking forward to teaching you how to get from 0 to 60 and beyond!


The Lessons

LESSON #1 - Getting Started With Alternate Picking
LESSON #2 - Adding Notes
LESSON #3 - Reversing Patterns /Changing Strings
LESSON #4 - Right Hand / Left Hand Synchronization
LESSON #5 - Back and Forth
LESSON #6 - Pedal Point/Tone
LESSON #7 - Back and Forth Revisted from lower to higher strings
LESSON #8 - Different shapes on different strings
LESSON #9 - Building speed
LESSON #10 - Incorporating Inversions
LESSON #11 - Inverting Inversions
LESSON #12 - Sliding
LESSON #13 - Using Full Scales and Inversions
LESSON #14 - Building Speed on Open Strings
LESSON #15 - Introduction to "Economic Picking / Directional Picking"
LESSON #16 - Triad Shapes Across 3 Strings
LESSON #17 - Using "Back and Forth" techniques in full scales
LESSON #18 - Integrating Solo/Lead Playing
LESSON #19 - Mini Clinic (Tapping/Hammering)
LESSON #20 - Pentatonic Finger Torture
LESSON #21 - Blitzkrieg Guitar Rythms / Lead as Rhythm
LESSON #22 - Extreme Legato / Shredding With One Hand
LESSON #23 - Extended Scale Runs
LESSON #24 - Building Left Hand Strength, Stretch and Speed
LESSON #25 - Combining Alternate Picking and Economic Picking
LESSON #26 - Asymmetrical Patterns on Symmetrical Shapes (Alternate Picking/Economic Picking)
LESSON #27 - Symmetrical Patterns on Symmetrical Shapes (Alternate Picking/Economic Picking Continued)
LESSON #28 - Scale Patterns (Alternate Picking/Economic Picking Continued)
LESSON #29 - Turning these lessons into licks/chops for use in guitar solos
LESSON #30 - Turning these lessons in to licks/chops for use in guitar solos Part II
LESSON #31 - Turning these lessons in to licks/chops for use in guitar solos Part III
LESSON #32 - Turning these lessons in to licks/chops for use in guitar solos Part IV
LESSON #33 - Working your stretch
LESSON #34 - Working your stretch, strengthening your left hand and increasing your speed
LESSON #35 - Developing Licks and Solos from Patterns and Scales
LESSON #36 - Shredding the Ionian Mode
LESSON #37 - Advanced Shredding in the Ionian/Major Mode
LESSON #38 - Alternate Picking/Economic Picking
LESSON #39 - Strict Alternate Picking (Focused on Difficult Finger Combinations)
LESSON #40 - Combining Inversions / Techniques
LESSON #41 - Pentatonic Finger Torture Part III
LESSON #42 - Alternate Picking / Economic Picking / Soloing in D Minor
LESSON #43 - Alternate Picking With Ascending and Descending Inversions
LESSON #44 - Alternate Picking/Economic Picking and Legato Phrasing in Musical Context
LESSON #45 - Hammer On / Pull Off / Alternate Pick
LESSON #46 - Alternate Picking in Context (Open String Work vs Fretted Work)
LESSON #47 - Working Your Stretch and Playing Without Your Thumb!
LESSON #48 - Exploring Various Methods of Shred
LESSON #49 - Taking it one step further
LESSON #50 - Alternate/Economic/Hybrid Picking & Playing without Picking or the Left Thumb
LESSON #51 - Shredding Whole Tone Scales
LESSON #52 - Shredding The Harmonic Minor Scale
LESSON #53 - Open String Pentatonics
LESSON #54 - Expanding Harmonic Minor
LESSON #55 - Building Long Scale Runs
LESSON #56 - Shred in Context / Solo Work
LESSON #57 - Shred in Context Part II
LESSON #58 - Shred in Context Part III
LESSON #59 - Triple picking and triads
LESSON #60 - Playing the impossible continued (Playing Full Solos With One Hand)
LESSON #61 - Inside / Outside Picking and Working Your Stretch!
LESSON #62 - Quadruple Picking!
LESSON #63 - Economic Picking In Context
LESSON #64 - Mixing and Matching (Alternate Picking and Economic Picking)
LESSON #65 - Pushing Past The “Barrier”
LESSON #66 - Neo Classical Approaches
LESSON #67 - Sweet Spots, Dirty Spots
LESSON #68 - Building A Solo
LESSON #69 - Building A Solo, Employing Previous Techniques
LESSON #70 - Endurance Intensive
LESSON #71 - Doxologia Minor Part II
LESSON #72 - The Magic Pinky (The Secret Sauce of Spooky Technique)
LESSON #73 - The Magic Pinky Part II (The Secret Sauce of Spooky Technique)
LESSON #74 - Spooky speed and symmetry
LESSON #75 - Love Me Lesson
LESSON #76 - Ninja Guitar E.G. Ben Higgins Influence Strikes Again!
LESSON #77 - Playing without gaps and keeping up
LESSON #78 - Shredding the blues
LESSON #79 - Thumbs akimbo!
LESSON #80 - Alternate Picking (Straight Line Speed VS Cornering Speed)
LESSON #81 - Spooky Rhythms and Riffs
LESSON #82 - Reverse and Inverse
LESSON #83 - Solo deconstruction/reconstruction
LESSON #84 - Extended Pentashred Licks
LESSON #85 - Funktified
LESSON #86 - Extremes of reach and speed
LESSON #87 - Neo classical
LESSON #88 - AP/Eco/Shred and the Zen of Picking
LESSON #89 - Tripeggios (Is it an arpeggio? A Triad? It's a Tripeggio!)
LESSON #90 - 2011 Final Lesson! (Last chance to work our pinky!)
LESSON #91 - "Inverted Hammering/Tapping" And "Fret Skipping"!
LESSON #92 - Speed is a byproduct of precision
LESSON #93 - Playing things you thought were impossible
LESSON #94 - Intense alternate/economy picking
LESSON #95 - Death by rhythm
LESSON #96 - All hands on deck
LESSON #97 - LESSON #97 - Triads of doom
LESSON #98 - Solo Madness
LESSON #99 - Racer X Style Part I
LESSON #100 - Racer X Style Part II
LESSON #101 - Inside outside picking until our fingers are inside out!
LESSON #102 - Rock Licks and Spiff Tricks!
LESSON #103 - (Lesson #3 Redux) Alternate picking reversed shapes
LESSON #104 - (Lesson #4 Redux) Advanced right hand - left hand synchronization
LESSON #105 - (Lesson #5 Redux) Advanced right hand - left hand synchronization Part II
LESSON #106 - (Lesson #6 Redux) Pedal point / Pedal Tone
LESSON #107 - (Lesson #7 Redux) Back and Forth/Lower to Higher Strings
LESSON #108 - (Lesson #8 Redux) Different shapes on different strings
LESSON #109 - (Lesson #9 Redux) Speeeeeeed
LESSON #110 - (Lesson #10 Redux) Advanced inversions combined with alternate picking
LESSON #111 - (Lesson #11 Redux) Alternate Picking & string traversing using "back one, up one" scale patterns
LESSON #112 - (Lesson #12 Redux) Sliding patterns and alternate picking
LESSON #113 - (Lesson #13 Redux) Inversions and alternate picking in context
LESSON #114 - (Lesson #14 Redux) Linear scales (Sans Traverse) and building speed
LESSON #115 - (Lesson #15 Redux) Economic picking vs multi picking (double, etc.)
LESSON #116 - (Lesson #16 Redux) Complex triad based shapes and economic picking while traversing strings
LESSON #117 - (Lesson #17 Redux) Secrets of shred. Tools of the trade
LESSON #118 - (Lesson #18 Redux) Actually playing a solo/lead
LESSON #119 - Tapped to death
LESSON #120 - Olympic Pentatonic "Tonic" of Death
LESSON #121 - Alternate picking lead/rhythm
LESSON #122 - Precission/Speed ninja secrets of "one handed technique"
LESSON #123 - Extending scales with slides
LESSON #124 - Left hand blitz (Power and precision intensive)
LESSON #125 - Combining economic and alternate picking
LESSON #126 - Asymmetrical patterns on symmetrical shapes
LESSON #127 - Symmetrical shapes and patterns and alternate picking
LESSON #128 - (Lesson 28 Redux) Shred in context, Working With Scales
LESSON #129 - (Lesson 29 Redux) Turning practice into music
LESSON #130 - (Lesson 30 Redux) Turning practice into music II
LESSON #131 - (Lesson 31 Redux) Turning practice into music III
LESSON #132 - (Lesson 32 Redux) Turning practice into music IV
LESSON #133 - (Lesson 33 Redux) Left hand power, precision, and the stretch
LESSON #134 - (Lesson 34 Redux) Working your stretch, strengthening your left hand and increasing your speed: Black Ops Edition
LESSON #135 - (Lesson 35 Redux) Developing Licks and Solos from Patterns and Scales: Black Ops Edition
LESSON #136 - (Lesson 36 Redux) IONIAN MODE (Major Scale) VS EXTREME/BLACKENED Metal Chromatic/NonScales
LESSON #137 - (Lesson 37 Redux) IONIAN MODE (Major Scale) advanced & Iron Maiden Licks/Chops
LESSON #138 - (Lesson 38 Redux) The revenge of economic picking (The secret of precision/speed)
LESSON #139 - Strict alternate picking (Up, Down, Up, Down)
LESSON #140 - (Lesson 40 Redux) Increasing precision using "quasi" inversions
LESSON #141 - (Lesson 41 Redux) Open string pentatonic shapes & playing off key on purpose
LESSON #142 - (Lesson 42 Redux) Picking, picking and more picking!
LESSON #143 - (Lesson 43 Redux) Finger burning inversions
LESSON #144 - (Lesson 44 Redux) Mixing and matching (Combining Different Ascending and Descending Picking Sequences)
LESSON #145 - (Lesson 45 Redux) Hammer on licks Vs alternate picking licks in a solo
LESSON #146 - (Lesson 46 Redux) Strict alternate picking returns to shredville
LESSON #147 - (Lesson 47 Redux) Boarding the crazy train and playing "thumbless"
LESSON #148 - (Lesson 48 Redux) Mix and match, various approaches to shredding
LESSON #149 - (Lesson 49 Redux) Tapping/Hammering with and without the right hand in a solo context
LESSON #150 - (Lesson 50 Redux) With and without the thumb and pick
LESSON #151 - (Lesson 51 Redux) Shredding the Major scale
LESSON #152 - (Lesson 52 Redux) Shredding the Harmonic Minor scale
LESSON #153 - (Lesson 53 Redux) Advanced open string pentatonics
LESSON #154 - (Lesson 54 Redux) Advanced harmonic minor in context
LESSON #155 - (Lesson 55 Redux) Building scale runs for solos
LESSON #156 - (Lesson 56 Redux) Building scale runs for solos
LESSON #157 - (Lesson 57 Redux) Shredding scales in context (continued)
LESSON #158 - (Lesson 58 Redux) Shredding in context part III (E.G. Jumping the rails of the "Crazy Train")
LESSON #159 - (Lesson 59 Redux) Triple and quad picking
LESSON #160 - (Lesson 60 Redux) Shredding with one hand
LESSON #161 - (Lesson 61 Redux) Inside/outside picking Vs pick and hammer
LESSON #162 - (Lesson 62 Redux) Death by quad picking
LESSON #163 - (Lesson 63 Redux) Economic picking precision
LESSON #164 - (Lesson 64 Redux) To fret or not to fret, that is the question
LESSON #165 - (Lesson 65 Redux) Breaking the speed barrier with inside alternate picking
LESSON #166 - (Lesson 66 Redux) Neo-classical shapes with double and quad picking
LESSON #167 - (Lesson 67 Redux) The sweet and the dirty
LESSON #168 - (Lesson 68 Redux) 2 solo or not 2 solo (HINT: The Answer is YES SOLO)
LESSON #169 - (Lesson 69 Redux) 2 solo or not 2 solo part II (HINT: The Answer is YES SOLO)
LESSON #170 - (Lesson 70 Redux) Endurance extreme clinic
LESSON #171 - (Lesson 71 Redux) Exegesis part II
LESSON #172 - (Lesson 72 Redux) The hidden power of the pinky
LESSON #173 - (Lesson 73 Redux) Pinky power continued
LESSON #174 - (Lesson 74 Redux) Perfect and imperfect symmetry
LESSON #175 - (Lesson 75 Redux) Minor and harmonic minor variations
LESSON #176 - (Lesson 76 Redux) Ninja secrets of speed/precision
LESSON #177 - (Lesson 77 Redux) Mind the gap!
LESSON #178 - (Lesson 78 Redux) Blues and shredding
LESSON #179 - (Lesson 79 Redux) No thumb, no problem
LESSON #180 - (Lesson 80 Redux) Single string vs traverse
LESSON #181 - (Lesson 81 Redux) Picking & rhythm and leads
LESSON #182 - (Lesson 82 Redux) Alternate picking traverse inversions
LESSON #183 - (Lesson 83 Redux) Application of lessons learned
LESSON #184 - (Lesson 84 Redux) Penta pinky patterns
LESSON #185 - Application of lessons learned (soloing)
LESSON #186 - (Lesson 86 Redux) Reach and precision
LESSON #187 - (Lesson 87 Redux) Quasi Classical
LESSON #188 - (Lesson 88 Redux) Triad shapes and soloing
LESSON #189 - (Lesson 89 Redux) Shredding Beyond The Triads - Soloing
LESSON #190 - (Lesson 90 Redux) Multi Picking / Stretch Licks / Tripeggios Combo Day
LESSON #191 - (Lesson 91 Redux) Crazy Techniques (Soloing)
LESSON #192 - (Lesson 92 Redux) Speed is a result of precision (Combining Triad Shapes With Scale Shapes)
LESSON #193 - (Lesson 93 Redux) Technique and Style
LESSON #194 - (Lesson 94 Redux) Capstone Class
LESSON #195 - (Lesson 95 Redux) Crazy Rhythm Bits II
LESSON #196 - (Lesson 96 Redux) Taking Advantage Of Your Stretch In Context
LESSON #197 - (Lesson 97 Redux) Crazy Triads of Doom
LESSON #198 - (Lesson 98 Redux) Shred In Context: Soloing
LESSON #199 - (Lesson 99 Redux) Racer X Style Chops
LESSON #200 - (Lesson 100 Redux) Racer X Part II
LESSON #201 - Solo Construction
LESSON #202 - More Than One Way To Skin A Cat Part I
LESSON #203 - More Than One Way Part II
LESSON #204 - Muting While AP/Traversing Strings
LESSON #205 - Muting While AP/Traversing Strings Part II
LESSON #206 - Finger Power
LESSON #207 - Six Demon Bag Collab
LESSON #208 - Putting our practice to purpose
LESSON #209 - Put Down Your Pick! (The Left Hand Path)
LESSON #210 - Inside Out (Inside Picking Vs Outside Picking)
LESSON #211 - Solo Madness Without The Crazy
LESSON #212 - Solo Madness With A Pinch Of Crazy
LESSON #213 - Solo Madness With A Pinch Of Crazy Part II
LESSON #214 - Student Solo Madness Part I
LESSON #215 - Technical Difficulties Economic Picking
LESSON #216 - It's All In The Wrist (Economic Picking Continued)
LESSON #217 - Day of Rest Lesson (All Ages, All Skill Levels)
LESSON #218 - Pushing The Limit
LESSON #219 - Articulation and Picking
LESSON #220 - Master of the Sword Collab
LESSON #221 - Secrets of Static Positions and Shredding
... Coming Soon To Our Wiki!
LESSON #244 - Hand Control Part III
LESSON #245 - Hand Control Part IV
LESSON #246 - Hand Control Part V
LESSON #247 - Lead techniques in Rhythm
LESSON #248 - Lead techniques in Rhythm Part II
LESSON #249 - Capstone Session
LESSON #250 - Capstone Session Part II
LESSON #251 - String Traverse & Open String Licks
LESSON #252 - String Traverse & Open String Licks Part II
LESSON #253 - GMC United
LESSON #254 - GMC United Part II
LESSON #255 - Combining Techniques
LESSON #256 - Picking on The Day Of Rest
LESSON #257 - Precision And Control On The Picking Hand
LESSON #258 - Precision And Control On The Picking Hand Part II
LESSON #259 - AP While Palm Muting
LESSON #260 - AP While Palm Muting Part II
LESSON #261 - AP While Palm Muting Part III
LESSON #262 - Econ/AP In Context
LESSON #263 - Four Finger Riffs
LESSON #264 - Broken Chords/Not Sweeping
LESSON #265 - Mind The Gap
LESSON #266 - Advanced Finger Torture
LESSON #267 - Advanced Finger Torture II
LESSON #268 - Advanced Finger Torture II (Day of Rest version)
LESSON #269 - Expanding The Palette
LESSON #270 - Pinky Work (Day of Rest Version)
LESSON #271 - Prog-Gnostication
LESSON #272 - Prog-Gnostication II
LESSON #273 - Lead The Way
LESSON #274 - Lead The Way II
LESSON #275 - Putting It All To Good Use
LESSON #276 - Putting It All To Good Use II
LESSON #277 - Connect The Dots (Chops)
LESSON #278 - Connect The Dots (Chops) II
LESSON #279 - Secrets of Shredding
LESSON #280 - Secrets of Shredding Part II
LESSON #281 - Using Picking to Create Tension
LESSON #282 - Patterns of Force
LESSON #283 - Beyond Tripeggios
LESSON #284 - Pinky Torture Drills
LESSON #285 - Combining Picking Techniques
LESSON #286 - Combining Picking Techniques Part II
LESSON #287 - Lead Guitar With Backing
LESSON #288 - Lead Guitar With Backing Part II
LESSON #289 - Soloing With a Backing
LESSON #290 - Breaking Through Your Barriers
LESSON #291 - Multiple Scales in a Solo
LESSON #292 - Multiple Scales in a Solo Part II
LESSON #293 - Building Leads From Bits
LESSON #294 - Building Leads From Bits Part II
LESSON #295 - String Skipping
LESSON #296 - String Skipping Part II
LESSON #297 - Streeeeeeeeetch Yourself
LESSON #298 - Left Hand Power Drills
LESSON #299 - Double Stop/Double Down
LESSON #300 - Graduation Day
LESSON #301 - NeoClassical Chops
LESSON #302 - NeoClassical Chops Part II
LESSON #303 - To Blues Or not To Blues
LESSON #304 - Economic Picking Quadruplets
LESSON #305 - Fast Bits and Slow Bits
LESSON #306 - Fast Bits and Slow Bits Part II
LESSON #307 - Chromatic Intent
LESSON #308 - Building Blocks of Lead Work
LESSON #309 - Prognostication
LESSON #310 - Prognostication II
LESSON #311 - Putting Licks To Use
LESSON #312 - Putting Licks To Use II
LESSON #313 - Four Finger Shapes
LESSON #314 - Thrash Bits and Picking
LESSON #315 - Arpeggio/Clean Tone/Precision
LESSON #316 - Perfecting Picking

Lesson Series by Todd Simpson