My biggest problem when shredding is when I’m improvising.

My biggest problem is that I’m not using motifs. I’m not thinking right. The biggest problem is thinking. Its the thinking that I’m doing… that’s steering me wrong. And it may be steering you wrong too.

What I’m thinking is preventing me from improvising well. It’s not that I’m improvising badly it’s just that it’s not focused. My improvisations are very free form. I’m thinking about how to release my energy but there’s a gap in my thinking. The thing that I’m not thinking about is listed below.

See Im thinking but not about what I should be thinking about.

It’s what I’m not thinking about that fucks me up.


I’m not thinking about note values.

I’m not thinking about whole notes, half notes, 8th notes, 16th notes, 32nd notes, triplets, 16th note triplets, quintuplets, sextuplets, septuplets etc.… I’m only thinking about shredding and how to release pent up energy.

The urge to release pent-up energy can steer you wrong if you’re not careful. Your thinking must be intact.

Solely focusing on releasing my pent-up energy is preventing me from executing an improvisation session that sounds good. Thats my biggest problem. Is it yours?

I need to be focusing on some kind of motive. Any motive will work because you can repeat a motive endlessly. You can have short motives and you can have long motives and then after the motive you can have a scale run for as long or as short as you want. Thats creativity in action.

You can also go by note values to give you different motives. This gives you pretty much an endless variety of motives. And on top of those motives you can have variations of those motives.

For example, dotted 8th notes into 16th note triplets.



The other thing that I’m not thinking about is phrases. I’m not trying to talk with the guitar I’m only trying to shred your face off. While this is effective in some cases, in my case it does more damage than good. Thats another one of my biggest problems.

And don’t worry if you have the same problems. Problems are meant to be solved not beat you up. If you don’t have any guitar playing problems then you’re really not playing guitar all that much.

Chord Scales and Arpeggios

I really truly love shredding but I really need to start thinking about my phrases. Along with phrasing I can use chord scales and arpeggios. I can combine any of these note-values with either chords scales or Arpeggio’s.

Not only can I combine scale runs with chord scales and arpeggios but I can also do octave chords, I could also do double stops, I can also do VIBRATO to add prestige to my phrases.

Aiming for a pristine improvising session, which basically means elegance, when I’m practicing phrasing… will make my music more rewarding to myself and to my listener.

Let’s go back a little bit.

Imagine a 3 to 6 note Melody, then after the melody I go into a blistering scale run full of 16th note triplets. This is one way of thinking. Pre thinking your approach can help a lot. If you simply have these short, sweet, little motives in your head rather than a raging surge of energy, your solos will come out nicely.

There is no limit to what one can do musically. This is the mindset of a pro – pre-thinking about note values before you even pick up your guitar. This mindset will give you confidence when you improvise.

Ladies love confidence in a man and listeners love confidence in a musician.

So think NOTE VALUES and you will have better improvising sessions and your confidence to pull off tasty shred licks will improve over time.

See ya!