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Thread: how do the shredders improvise ?

  1. #1
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    how do the shredders improvise ?

    I’m actually a shred world fan..i have listen to Ywngie,Satch,Marty F, Kotzen etc for so many years but I have never really play their music because of their speed …
    But now, I think I’m brave enough to move to a shredder zone..because I think I have find a comfortable way of picking for me to play fast…yeahh

    but.here it is..i’m quiet confuse all about fast playing..how do you improvise a song on a fast playing? i mean, how can you know what fast lick is perfect (or not) for the music?
    Should I remember the sound of every lick? Or should i practice the ear training on a fast tempo a lot?


    And another question…hope you don’t mind…just curious, how do you learn the shredder’s songs?i have power-tabs for some shredder’s out there…just want to know, how do you learn them, get their influence and bringing them up to the speed? Thx u so much
    Last edited by Jeansen; 03-01-2007 at 02:12 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User sixstrings121's Avatar
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    Learn some minor pentatonic scales. Go to www.cyberfret.com and click on improvisation section and maybe check out the scales section. Also when learning songs, learn them very slow then gradually speed them up.

  3. #3
    Registered User Obivion's Avatar
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    Generally, Marty starts off slow and emphasises the melody i.e. Symphony of Destruction, Angry Again. He then speeds up, taking a lick and repeating it over the neck at speed. Many of the licks he uses are cribbed form the 80's metal he grew up listening to i.e. Van Halen. The reason guys like Marty, Satch and Yngwie are so great is they allow the music to breathe with their phrasing, but they can crank it up to super shred when they need too. At fast speeds, its not possible to think in terms of individual notes so Yngwie, Marty and to some extend Satch rely on sweep arpeggios, bluesy licks and melodic patterns to create a solo.
    No one sings the blues quite like Yngwie!

  4. #4
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    thx guys...i've known about pentatonic stuffs and other scales and modes but have never apply it to a shred stuff..so,i'm very curious n confuse how all that crazy speeding guitarist out there can improvise so well even at the fast speed,i just think that they can actually think in the speed but thx a lot to obivion..you've cleared me up about it..the answer of it is they don't,am i right? they just relying on licks repetition that they have usually used,am i right?

    sixstring:great tip..i'll start on some songs slowly first now..
    thx u

  5. #5
    Registered User Obivion's Avatar
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    Yup, mostly they just memorize fast licks and play them which is why people complain shred sounds bland and repetitive.
    No one sings the blues quite like Yngwie!

  6. #6
    Shred Apprentice Bande's Avatar
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    Basically yes, they mostly memorize tons of licks, and then they throw them in when it comes to that. I´ve been listening to many many improvised solos recently, for the same reason, to analyse how they think, and how they do what they do. And I found out, that Satch, Petrucci and these guys have certain kinds of blues and rock licks that they throw in when they play at high speeds, but they also modify them, so like they´re playing similar licks every time, but altering them a bit (or very much) so basically they almost never play exactly the sam lick again (OK, of course they do, but they don´t ONLY repeat themselves), but e.g. Steve Morse I think is different, he can REALLY think as fast as he plays!!! because he is playing very much chromatic stuff and what I think he does, is that he chooses some landing notes, and then kinda shreds all the way up (or down) to them, also throwing in some pedal tone licks and other crazy stuff (at least that´s what I think). And Vai is another story... that guy is just crazy... He´s playing SO weird stuff all the time, that he either has a HUMONGOUS lick vocabulary, or he makes them up himself every time... but I think Vai is maybe the biggest miracle of today`s guitarists, he has an amazing understanding of the guitar... but like I said, he is another dimension... (I´m not saying this because I like Vai´s music so much or anything, because I don´t actually, but this is just the way it is)

    But anyway, I think you should practice eartraining at fast speeds anyway!!! Don´t compare yourself to others (even if it is satch or Vai) maybe one day youre gonna overpower their abilities!!! Learning licks and stringing them together when it comes to speed playing is a good thing to start with. But don´t stop there!!!

    Have fun, work hard!!

    Cheers!
    Can you spell T-E-N-D-O-N-I-T-I-S?

  7. #7
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    Well.. whatever it is that you are playing fast, you first have to hear it in your inner ear and then immediately transport it to the fretboard.

    Good shred shouldn't consist of only patterns and licks ( ever listened to Greg Howe or Shawn Lane or Andy Tmmons or...) but rather of ideas at a faster pace of time.

    I don't like to think of myself as a shredder since it is occupied with a lot of bad things, but i can honestly say that before you can play fast there have to be 2 things you have to accomplish.
    1) the mechanical abbility to play things fast ( good technique, metronome practice etc...)
    2) the abbility to think fast.

    Good shred is not only the ability to reproduce patterns at any given key in a higher temp, but to THINK first what might suite the situation best and play the lines of your choice.

    It is not just a wild piece of mess, but rather a controlled and intense techniqual and creative effort!


    Take your time... learn to be able to think of a melody first and then transport it to the fretboard. If you are good at immediately play what you think - think faster and you'll be on the shred road.

    Good luck,
    Sven
    Last edited by phantom; 03-06-2007 at 12:30 PM.

  8. #8
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    Much of rock guitar is timing-based improv rather than genuine melodic-based improv. Rock guitar is akin to a percussive instrument with the degree of athleticism one uses. What I mean, is that on most instruments one rarely needs to grimace and contort their body in an attempt to play some intensely fast passage in order to meet the metric demands.

    Think of the last blues/rock solo you played. Although you heard the accompanying chords or bass, you were probably also acutely aware of the beat. (Rock is all about the beat, dontcha know.) Your soloing probably involved strategically located bends for drama, and a plethora of riffs/licks, etc., designed to accentuate the beating you felt. This is not to say that the melodic piece doesn't matter; you probably use ascending/descending runs for effect, and when you dramatically pause with a bend you almost certainly pay attention to the pitch.

    Over the years, rock music evolved to the point that this timing-based improv could become damned impressive. Shred is an extreme of this. While it is questionable that shredders genuinely "hear" every note of every melodic phrasing they play, I guarantee you that they feel it. There is deliberate and practiced temporal magic in their improv. It is more than "finger exercise #143 inserted here." It is an insertion of a well-practiced riff within the context of their timing-based improv. The selection of riff is influenced by the melodic piece, so there is no argument that it isn't "real" improv - it is.

    But some people doubt it because they regard improv as 100% melodic-based. I am given to wonder if these people believe that a percussionist cannot improvise. What of a zither?
    "If a child learns which is jay and which is sparrow, he'll no longer see birds nor hear them sing."

  9. #9
    Shred Apprentice Bande's Avatar
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    yeah... when shredders improvise they mostly hear TEXTURES in their head that they translate to the fretboard, unlike other improvisers, who hear every single NOTE before they play it.
    Can you spell T-E-N-D-O-N-I-T-I-S?

  10. #10
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    I'm not a shredder at all, and don't really listen to it either (though I respect the dedication and chops it takes to perform as they do). Anyhow, here are my thoughts:

    As you learn more, further develop your 'inner ear', get a better feel for the flow of music, the act of improvising becomes more and more 'fluid', more automatic, more subconscious in a sense. In doing so, we stop analyzing the notes as individual entities, but instead 'feel' them in relation to the accompanying music. It's how they add 'color to the painting'.

    Some examples unrelated to shred: Listen to a jazz player play unaccompanied. (As an example, say, Joe Pass). Joe is taking a chord progression, using substitutions and inversions, adding extensions, playing with the rhythmic texture, and improvising a melody line on top of it all.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWa6aChSf1w

    Is he 'thinking' about all these notes? Writing it all before hand? Inserting memorized 'licks'? HELL no! He has already internalized the flow of the progression, the way extensions can color a chord, the feel of the rhythms, etc. It's all there, in his head, but he's not ANALYZING all the notes, combinations, rhythms, possibilities while playing -- that would be sensory overload, and totally impossible! Instead, he has a basic template to which he applies his innate and internalized knowledge of music.

    I would say it's the same with guys like Vai or Friedman. They're playing from all the **** they've internalized. They learn other people's licks, theory, songs, etc, and when they spit them back out, they become their own.

    I guess what Im saying is, you need to learn it so you can forget it. Marty Friedman's inner ear guides him MUCH moreso than some 'bag of licks' that he uses. BUT he built his inner ear by learning other people's licks/songs/tricks.

    Did that make no sense? Of course not...
    Oh, and by the way, Joe could SHRED as well:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI-1sq5dFD4

  11. #11
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    wow...thx to all of you....great advice n i'll definitely will work hard for that...thx u thx u ...btw,where are EricV,UkRuss,and Thorsten? i really would like to hear their advice and experience too..thx u

  12. #12
    Well, I guess the question shouldn´t be "How do shredders improvise" cause who´s a "shredder" anyway? I´m sure Friedman, Satch, Yngwie etc, wouldn´t call themselves "shredders". They´re just great (rock) guitar players, each with their own distinct, unique and uncomparable style. If "shred" means playing just a bunch of random, fast notes all the time non of these guys are "shredders" cause non of their guitar-solos (improvised or not) are just that. Great guitar playing should be a good combination of feel and technique, slow and fast stuff and most importantly it has to fit the song. So if the question here is "How do you improvise in general?" for slow and for fast stuff it´s the same approach: You have to hear music in your head first before you can translate it to your instrument!

    So the more you know your instrument the more you´re able to translate your musical vision into actual notes. Having a huge repertoire of licks, knowing all the scales, chords etc. and having a good technique to be able to execute them even at faster speeds is of course all a part of that. But you have to hear stuff in your head first, that´s the whole secret. Guys like Friedman, Satch, Yngwie etc. have a great musical ear and they have the technique and knowledge to play what they hear...that´s how they improvise!

  13. #13
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Yes exactly.I don't think you set out to be a "shredder" and then attain that by only eating a steady diet of "shred" and so on and so forth.You shouldn't only be playing shred or metal as far as I'm concerned.I think you should listen to as well as play all sorts of music that interests you and you'll become a hell of a player alot faster just by a steady diet of playing and listening alot.It's what you listen to and how much you practice and jam that adds up to experience and taste and style and so forth.I think the shred needs to seep into your playing just like anything else like the blues or jazz or funk chords or whatever you dig.All of that stuff that you put in will come out of you later and so if all you listen to and try to play like is shred I think it could have the opposite effect and you won't be a very good shredder with that type of mindset.It's more a culmination of everything you hear and everything you put into it that's going to make you a heavy player.I think there is good shred and then there's shred that's about trying to impress with speed too much to where it becomes all about speed and shred and not about music.The good shred is also good music to listen to.There may be a showoff element to some of it but I don't think you wanna go into it with that attitude and that mindset as the music will suffer.If you're good you're good and you won't need rub everybody's noses in it.To me the point of having monster technique and amazing speed would be to use it in a tasteful way and try to make some good music that doesn't suck because there's alot of music out there in this modern age that I think does suck.

    So for me it's my wish for people to make stuff that is better music than what society has been throwing our way in recent (I wanna say decades,lol).

    And whatever it takes to achieve that whether it be getting back to the high standard of lead and backup vocals that we once enjoyed in decades past(I'm talkin 70's,okay?),or getting more diverse instruments and styles,or more fast guitar solos or more slow mellow stuff or trippy stuff like Pink Floyd or more modern instrumental rock and fusion then I think it's all good.I have never had much time for some of this stuff that's been pumped out over the last 2 1/2 decades.There's been a couple gems here and there but music has gone way down hill in my opinion.So I just think the goal should be just to NOT SUCK and not so much of trying to set out to be the guy who wiggles his fingers even faster than Larry down the street.

    Some wise men once said, "LET THERE BE ROCK!"
    Last edited by Chim_Chim; 03-16-2007 at 09:42 AM.
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

  14. #14
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    Thorsten..i have another question

    TK :WOW,amazing advice...thx u for sparing your time answering my question ...it's getting clearer now!! thx u so much ..

    by the way,my last question..since you said that whether it is fast or slow, we must hear the music inside of us before throwing it out to the instrument...(i am totally agree with that ) i have some question : how can you translate the fast stuff inside your head and execute it to the guitar immediately( especially when you are improvising) ? can you share your experience on it or give me any advice how can i achieve it? i mean, i've tried it for sometimes but it seems that i just can't nail that fast lick inside of my head right,even by singing. Everytime i try to sing it or translate it to the guitar,it is always wrong..especially, for some super-fast lick, i even can't identify each note of the lick or even singing it.

    (for the info : I think I am manage to hear, sing, n then translating music in my head in medium tempo quiet well..but not fast stuff )

    so then, i tried another method, i try to slow down the music in my head first(sometimes i co-operate it with singing too) ,translate it to the guitar and then bring it up to speed..but then came another problem, this method just won't work,because i realize..after i bring my slown down version up to speed, it is not the same as the original ( that fast lick i have in my mind before) ..it looks a like but it is not the same..i think for somehow,i change it ,not on a purpose, when i try the slow down process..

    this problem make me quiet desperate about it...
    have any advice?thx u so much...

    sorry for my bad english n loooong story...but i hope you get what i'm questioning...thx u

    Chim2: thx u a lot..yeah..don't worry...i am also digging funk music right now... thx u2
    Last edited by Jeansen; 03-17-2007 at 04:58 PM.

  15. #15
    Hi Jeansen,

    thank you and don´t worry, mate! Being able to improvise and being able to improvise fast is one of the hardest things you can do on any instrument, so really don´t worry, things will come in time.

    In fact, 90% of all classical musicians, as far as I experienced, totally lack the ability to spontaniously improvise. You can give them any form of sheet music and they´re able to play it in an instant (something that most rock musicians can´t do) but ask them to just "jam" and make up something in their head they are totally lost. They are just not used to improvising since classical music (as good as most players are technically trained on their instruments) is all about reproduction and playing other (dead) peoples material.

    So you see, there´s things you just have to get used to and the more you do it the more you´ll learn. I don´t know how long you´ve been playing and I don´t know how long you´re used to playing fast stuff but I think you might simply be still on a level where you have to technically think about what your fingers are doing when playing fast. So the mechanics of your fingers (so to speak) is still in the way of letting your mind execute what it wants to.

    For me, let´s put it this way: I can´t (and I think really nobody can, e.g. just check out Steve Vai, he´s pretty weak when it comes to improvised stuff IMHO) instantly improvise anything I hear in my head. That´s just impossible to do simply because my fingers can´t memorize any possible position they could go to on the fretboard!

    So in improvising the most important thing to use is your ear and then let your ear spontaniously decide what lick or scale or technique to use that your hands have memorized so far.
    If I´m faced with a solo and I have the time to sit down, record it and come up with something, that´s a different story and then I think I can come close to the stuff I hear in my head because I can work on it.
    In a live situation where I´m improvising I rely on stuff that I already know and that my hands are used to playing. In that case, like I stated in my other post, the more you know the more you can play without running out of juice.

    So, the best tip I could give you on being able to improvise fast stuff, simply learn and play more fast stuff, get your fingers being used to playing fast stuff and then...use your ear! (...and don´t forget to throw in some slow notes too otherwise everybody will hate you... )

    Cheers
    TK

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