It's Time Again for the Shred-tember Challenge

Shred-tember has arrived. Whether you’re a balls-to-the-wall 80s shredder, leather pants and all, or you’re more an acoustic fingerstyle player, I’ve got a big challenge for you for the month!

The Art of Shred

Shred guitar, or “shredding”, is all about flying around the guitar at a virtuosic level - fast.

But that style of playing isn’t for everyone; especially if you’re not a big fan of metal or fusion as a listener. (If you need help finding your guitar style, check out this guide or compare each guitar style here)

Instead of focussing on the specifics, I want you to promise me the following:

  1. I want to play things the best I possibly can

  2. I’m going to be disciplined and consistent with my practice until I achieve my goals

  3. I’m going to be a better guitarist in a month than I was when I started.

And remember - who cares if there are faster/cleaner/more melodic guitarists than you in the world? The goal is to improve, not to compete!

Step 1: Choose a technique you want to learn, improve or master

We’re going to be laser-focussed this month. I’m going to give you a list of techniques to get you started below, but feel free to pick anything that’s important to you. It could be as simple as getting your change from a C to a G chord faster, or as complex as playing all of Perpetual Burn by Jason Becker at speed.

  • Tapping

  • Sweep Picking

  • Tremolo Picking

  • A song

  • Chords all over the guitar

  • Percussive fingerstyle

  • Artificial Harmonics

  • Fingerpicking

  • Hybrid Picking

  • Economy Picking

  • Scales

You get the idea. Be more specific than the above list too - don’t just say “I want to nail scales this month”, choose WHICH scales you want to nail (and don’t go overboard - one or two is plenty).

Step 2: Find some exercises related to your topic

If you have a teacher, ask your teacher for some related exercises. If not, this is one area where YouTube lessons really shine!

Find a couple of exercises you think will help you out, bookmark them, download the tabs, and get them all into a location - after all, you’re going to be referring to these materials a lot this month!

Step 3: Daily practice with goal tracking

I don’t care if you only have 10 minutes a day to practice shred. You can make massive amounts of progress so long as you’re consistent with your routine.

Put together a plan for the month. For example, I’d probably go:

Tapping Challenge

Week 1: 20 minutes per day

  • Tapping Exercises Number 1

  • Tapping Song - Global Warming by Gojira

Week 2: 20 minutes per day

  • Tapping Exercises Number 2

  • Improv using tapping

Week 3: 20 minutes per day

  • Tapping Exercises Number 3

  • Improv using tapping and other techniques combined

  • Tapping solo - Eruption (Van Halen)

Week 4: 20 minutes per day

  • Tapping Solo - Eruption (Van Halen)

It’s definitely worth assessing your progress each week too - if you need longer on one exercise that’s totally fine (or you may need to up the challenge).

Now, to track your progress, there are a few easy ways to do it:

  • Speed (play to a metronome and track if you’re getting faster each day)

  • Accuracy (are you landing on more correct notes each day?)

  • Feel (record yourself and listen back to judge if it’s sounding better each day)

If you do this for a month, you’ll get a massive jump in your skills with your chosen technique. To be honest, you’ll probably notice it in under two weeks! Tell us how you went in the comments.