Seven Points of Shred

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An article by Todd Simpson
(Forum thread here)

A typical mistake when shredding is going "too deep" on each strike. You are essentially over committing to each pick strike by going beyond what is needed to make the strike.

Your pick needs to only graze the string to make the strike. Also, sometimes your hand might be wagging back and forth quite a bit which pulls your palm off the bridge and would result in unwanted string noise under high gain. Have you noticed unwanted string noise when using high gain?

1.)Use headphones/use a pod with headphones/use a laptop with headphones/amp with headphones/etc. This will allow you to hear what you are playing without having to strike each string so hard that it throws you off for your next strike. Playing without an amp is fine and dandy, but for what you are trying to fix here, it's not going to help much.

2.)Try sharpening your pick or buying a sharp pick. You switch back to your normal picks later, but for now, until you get the swing of this, find a sharp pick like the DUNLOP SHARP.

3.)Use a THICK pick. Again go back to whatever you were using later, but for now, get a 1.00 or 1.2mm thick pick. The "flex" or bend in a pick can actually reduce your precision. I have no idea what you are using now, so if you are alredy using a 1.0 mm dunlop sharp, great! user posted image

4.)Try focusing on your right hand only. Forget about the left hand. Traverse/change strings as if you are playing a scale/drill but don't move your left hand. Fret a chord or something, whatever, doesn't matter, just take the left hand out of the picture until you get this a bit more worked out.

5.)Try finding the magic minimum of force needed to strike the string hard enough to make it sound.

6.)Keep your hand planted on the bridge for a good palm mute (This will help keep each note distinct and reduce unwanted string noise).

7.)Try using your thumb and first finger to articulate (move the pick) as much as possible.

You can go back to your existing techniques or a modified version or any other version after you get a handle on this one thing user posted image So I'm not saying change your style of play forever, just try these tips until your picking improves and then your style will adapt to what you've learned user posted image

Here is an example played slow and fast. Watch the picking hand. Notice how each pick strike has very little "travel" back and forth and each strike is done fairly lightly, and each strike exerts only the minimum needed force. This results in being able to recover from one strike in time to make the next one, even at high speed.