Shred Licks

Hello everyone! Happy New Year! It's a privilege to be writing lessons on this site for as long as I have and if you been following my lessons i'm sure you understand the modes now. So for this lesson we are going change gears a little and learn some shred licks. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the term "shred".. The licks I'm going to show you will be great for your technique. Remember to alternate pick these examples. Let's get started.

Example 1 is a linear style lick in Em (E, F#, G, A, B, C, D). It's great for your alternate picking and it's challenging to play cleanly. The lick uses strict 16th note triplets and incorporates a melodic phrase moving through the scale across the neck very quickly. Make sure you follow the fingerings on this one. Start very slowly and precisely, and build up speed without missing notes.

MP3 - Example 1

Example 2 is another great and challenging picking lick with string skipping. This is off my "Total Freedom" CD from a track called "Freedom", which is full of fast passages like this one. This lick is also in Em, like Example 1. Also, there is a classical violin-type phrase moving through the scale in 16th note triplets. For the first bar and a half we are playing only on the E and B strings, then we jump from the E to the G. Make sure your left and right hands are in sync, or else it will sound sloppy - you should pull out your metronome or drum machine for this one. Try moving this idea to other strings and in other scales.

MP3 - Example 2


Example 3 is a excerpt from a song called "Prelude" from my "Vibe" CD. This example uses the B Harmonic minor scale (B, C#, D, E, F#, G, A#). This lick has a very classical sound to it. Bar one kicks off with a B minor arpeggio (B, D, F#) - I'm using a sweep picking technique to play this arpeggio. Hammer the first two notes B and D and rake across the strings with all down strokes (except the high B is played with an upstroke). Make sure you lift off each finger as you ascend up the arpeggio and do not let the notes sound together like a chord. This lick also incorporates a 4 note scale sequence and pedal points common in classical music. Remember, follow the fingerings for this.

MP3 - Example 3

Example 4 is a crazy string skipping legato lick, with some wide left hand stretches = be careful of your left hand on this one. The phrase consists entirely of hammer-ons and pull-offs. Just pick each string once and let your left hand do all the work. Basically, it's just two arpeggios played together - Em13th without the 9th and the 11th (E, G, B, C#, D) and Fdim7th (F, Ab, B, D). Experiment moving this one around the neck.

MP3 - Example 4


OK, this wraps up our lesson! If you have any questions, feel free to email me. Be sure to check out my CDs on this
amazing site and check out my new CD release, "Vibe". Visit for more information.

Mike Campese is an all-around music performer, session artist and teacher competent in many musical styles, electric and acoustic. He has studied at G.I.T. (Honors Graduate), and with Paul Gilbert, Norman Brown, Stanley Jordan, Scott Henderson and Keith Wyatt.

Mike Campese: The Fire Within