I like to throw a little shred guitar into the mix now and again to freshen things up, as well as learning some interesting techniques that I can apply to other genres. I noticed this the other day while watching an old Shawn Lane video, and it was something that really struck me as I’ve always incorporated this kind of thing into my practice routine, but more out of instinct than anything else. If you’ve hit a wall with your speed-picking, or can’t seem to get those fast runs flowing, this might be why. Let’s check it out.
The clip below is from Shawn Lane’s Power Licks REH video, and if you haven’t heard of Shawn Lane before, get ready to be blown away. In this part of the video Shawn is explaining legato type runs across the fretboard at lightning speed. The interesting thing here is the exercise he recommends doing BEFORE you attempt to rip any scale pattern across the fretboard.
To get you on the way to mastering hand coordination—which I reckon is the missing link between moderately fast and warp speed—Shawn recommends running symmetrical patterns across the neck. This is something I have always done so I was intrigued to see him suggesting the same exercise, and finally understand why it was so beneficial.
The exercise starts at around the 1:00 minute mark in the video and Shawn suggests a pattern like the one below to practice coordination across the fretboard.
You could use this pattern, or any other combination of three notes, as long as the pattern is symmetrical. Don’t worry about the sound, what we’re focusing on here is developing better hand coordination. Here are a couple of other patterns you could use:
As Shawn explains in the video, practicing these kinds of symmetrical patterns then sets you up nicely for playing scale patterns. So, the trick is to get your hands as coordinated as possible before you attempt any scale patterns, thereby drastically improving your shred guitar prowess.