How To Transform Any Lick Into A Killer Shred Guitar Idea

by Tom Hess

Do you want to become a better shred guitar player? Don’t make the mistake of listening to other guitarists who say you must only learn how to ‘play faster’. These players are unable to play tons of interesting shred guitar ideas because they ONLY think about playing as fast as they can and lack the creative mindset needed to play truly inspiring licks. Although playing fast is part of making cool shred licks, you must also understand ‘how to use’ the notes in your phrases to make them grab the attention of anyone listening.

You are about to learn an effective lead guitar method that will immediately enhance your shred guitar licks and make your lead guitar playing much more intense and awe-inspiring. Begin by checking out the shred guitar video on this page before you read any further (By doing this, you will be able to integrate all of the concepts on this page into your playing to instantly play much better shred guitar licks).

Ok, now you have seen the demonstration in the video above and are ready to apply what you have learned.

First Step: You are going to begin this exercise by using a common three string A minor arpeggio. Anytime you play through the pattern, make sure to use a ‘pull off’ when you are descending from the highest note to the second highest note. So for an A minor arpeggio in second inversion, you will pull off from the E on fret number 12 to the C on fret number 8 each time you descend in the pattern. Here is what this looks like:

Listen to it

Second Step: Play the pattern from step one a few times at a speed you are accustomed to.

Third Step: Once you have played through the pattern from step one a few times, start repeating the highest two pitches every time the pattern begins again (as you saw me do in the demonstration above). For example, while playing the A minor pattern (A C E), the highest pitches are E on the twelfth fret and C on the eighth fret. Each time you play the arpeggio, repeat these two pitches as you are descending like this: E to C to E to C. Then keep playing through the pattern. As you observed in the video above, once you add these two extra notes you completely alter the contour of the musical phrase. This accents the notes in the lick in a much different way, giving the lick a new feel in comparison to the original one. This simple alteration will immediately change your shred guitar licks, making them sound totally killer. See the example below:

Listen to it

Fourth Step: After repeating the new idea from the previous step, you are going to start creating additional variations of the original lick. To do this, simply change the pitch of the highest note in the arpeggio. For instance, if the highest note is an “E” (on the 12th fret), change it to an “F” or a “D” note instead. Then repeat the same idea from the previous step to pull off from the new note onto the second highest note of the pattern (which remains the same as before). Play through these new variations several times.

Fifth Step: Play the original arpeggio lick from the first step and combine it together with the new variations you thought up just now. You will notice a MAJOR increase in the tension level and intensity of the new licks when compared to the original one. Look below to see one possibility of what you can come up with:

Listen to it

After completing this exercise, start to combine the concepts discussed with different kinds of licks (scales, tapping, rhythm ideas, etc.) So instead of using only an arpeggio pattern, use any type of lick in its place and integrate the idea of ‘changing contour’ into your playing to make it much more intense. Then begin creating countless shred guitar licks by completing steps two through five of the exercise above. This will not only give you tons of new shred guitar ideas, but make you a much more creative guitar player in the process!

Take your shred guitar licks to a new level of creativity by watching this killer lead guitar playing video.


About The Author: Tom Hess is an online electric guitar teacher, recording artist and virtuoso guitarist. He trains guitar players from around the world how to reach their musical goals in his correspondence guitar lessons online. Visit his website to receive many free guitar playing resources, mini courses, guitar practice eBooks, and to read more articles about guitar playing.

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