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Good "Shredding" riffs, anyone?


(@briank)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 122
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I know a bunch of scales, and can play them all pretty well when I'm improvising, but I'm not good playing fast riffs. I try to play up and down scales as fast as I can, and try to use scale runs to lead up to a slower, more "meaningful" riff, and I use a lot of hammer-ons and pull-offs. But I really can't play that fast when picking every note, especially with the minor pentatonic scale, because there are so few notes to throw in.
Does anyone know any good, easy, repetitive PICKED riffs (no slurring) that I can learn to incorporate into my playing? If you could, it would be great to know what scale it's in too, so I can try to throw them into my improvisations.
I've heard that chromatic riffs are a popular way to make it sound like you're playing very fast, but I always feel "weird" just playing any note on the fretboard- I prefer to stick to a scale. I try to randomly pick notes within a scale, but I play slow enough so it sounds bad.
I'm a big fan of 60s psych, acid rock, and blues bands, and my goal is to build up my picking speed to be able to put up a long, steady solo of picked notes. So, any help would be much appreciated, as always.

"All I see is draining me on my Plastic Fantastic Lover!"


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(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5058
 

Everybody's is very different in their abilities to do certain things. Each of us needs more practice in certain areas, but those areas differ by person. Give us something to gauge your idea of what speed is -- say eight notes at a certain bpm rate. From your post it is impossible to tell if you are unusually slow or already pretty fast with maniacal aspirations of being super-ultra-fast.

If you are trying to pick every note, be aware that different styles of picking work better for different movements on and across strings. Working on a single string? Then you will likely use alternate picking. OTOH, sweep picking is more efficient for moving string to string in a consistent direction, and is often a technique used in those insanely fast metal and neo-metal note progressions.

Have you considered not changing notes so often, and maybe using varied and synchopated rhythms. This is often more interesting to the listener than a barrage of 64th notes. Tremolo picking is a good technique to learn. With a bit of practice, most players can get pretty good at this.

BTW, those chromatic notes are on a scale -- the chromatic scale. And the secret to using chromatics -- and any notes, seemly random or not -- is to resolve to a tonal center of the key you are in.

-=tension & release=-


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(@briank)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 122
Topic starter  

It's hard for me to say how fast I am. . . I feel that when I use a lot of hammer-ons and pull-offs, I can move around pretty quickly but I feel that I'm just doing quick trills to make my playing seem faster. I've been playing for just over a year, and I think I'm pretty fast, but I'm not a Page or Hendrix. I guess a good comparison would be that I could probably play the riff to Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" about as fast as Page could- that would probably be the limit of how fast I could play.
I like playing through different strings, not just one string. I know the minor pentatonic in all positions, but that scale seems hard to play just up and down one string, so I'm trying to work on sliding into different patterns and string skipping. Sorry if this sounds stupid, but what's sweep picking and tremolo picking?
I don't intend to be some heavy metal shredder, I just want to be able to break into a short, fast solo, even if it is just playing some simple riff over and over (but in a musical sense). I'm not a big fan of tapping, especially because I want to be able to immediately go back to playing in a slower style.

"All I see is draining me on my Plastic Fantastic Lover!"


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(@jewtemplar)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 186
 

Sweep picking is where you play across two or more strings with the same stroke to move crazily fast. Tremolo picking (or "double picking") is picking multiple times on the same string to go crazily fast (listen to Dick Dale's Miserlou for a great example and an incredible song).

~Sam


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