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Shred Academy - Free Guitar Lesson by Thoman Schink



Tools of Shred
~ String Skipping ~

By Thomas Schink


Brothers and sisters in search of the total wisdom of shred guitar! I welcome you to my coloumn "Tools of Shred(estruction)", in which I want to provide you with all the important techniques for your shredding abilities.

Today I want to present to you one of the ’beasts’ of shred guitar: The spicy and tasteful technique of jumping all over the strings: String Skipping. String Skipping is definetly one of my all-time favourites: At first sight it seems pretty harmless but once released - and played with the right tempo - it will become magic under your fingers.

But wait ...

To gain ultimate "String Skipping" – abilities you have to follow the 3 great rules of shred:

1. Start slow: Play all these licks with a tempo you feel comfortable with, as string skipping demands a lot of your right (and mostly) of your left hand, so don’t hurt yourself and concentrate to get these licks under your fingers and then you can set the tempo faster, but you’re just able to do this, if you can ...

2. ...Play clean: Accentuate all the strong notes (1, 2, 3 and 4) and listen intensively: if there is no string noise and you are able to hear all your notes. Don’t forget: each note counts, because if you can’t hear them properly, why all the work to play so many notes?

3. Maintain a good tone! It isn’t enough to just play clean, but you should also get the right tone! Again listen for the tone you want to hear! Don’t be satisfied with another tone but head for the tone, you hear in your head! I recommend to play with a clean tone at first, and after you have achieved your dream tone, put in the gain, and try to achieve a good tone as well.

So, don’t try to play these exercises sloopy and as fast as you can, but follow these rules and you’re on the right track! Even a guitarist known as one of the speed demons - Yngwie Malmsteen - focussed on a clean playing before he entered the realms of light speed: „When I started, I knew that I wanted my playing to be note-for-note clean. I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing, but knew what I wanted to hear. And I worked very hard on it until I got what I wanted.“ (Yngwie Malmsteen speaks out in Guitar World, Juli 2008).

So, finally prepare your fingers and get ready for jumping all over the strings:

Click here to download the exercises for this lesson

At first I want to demonstrate to you how this technique actually works:

Ex. 1 Shows the most common pentatonic position in A-minor, with the root note on the fifth fret of the low E-string. I think that all of you probably know that position!

In Ex. 2 a) a short run from the b – to the high e – string is shown. Play it with the 3 rules in your mind!

What did we learn so far? Well, to this point we didn’t make any use of String Skipping at all ... but that will change, when ...

Ex. 2 b) appears: To spice up a simple run like Ex. 2 a) we could use wider intervall steps, so why don’t leave out that „boring“ b – string and change the notes with the notes of the g – string of the same position of the A Minor Pentatonic? Ex. 2 b) shows you how ...

At this point you should compare Ex 2 a) with Ex 2 b) to understand what string skipping really means!

I also want to point out that today we won’t do any higher jumps than over one string.
So, jumps which range from the low E – string to the high e – string or the A – string to the b – string will be covered in the following coloumns ... for now it’s important to just focus on the general idea of string skipping and that you get a feeling for this technique.

Ex. 3 a) shows a Paul Gilbert – inspired line: This sextuplet lick is still in A – minor, but adds the 6 th (6th fret on the b – string) and the 9 th (7th fret of the high e – string) to our basic penatonic position.
Accent every strong note of the lick (1, 2, 3 and 4).
You see this lick also does not make any use of string skipping at all, so to give your fingers a little workout we’ll change strings again: Ex. 3 b) will show you that I didn’t mean you to get new strings but to show you a new lick ...

I want to underline the fact that it is important to experiment with these licks, so why don’t we play this figure on another pair of strings (Ex. 4)? Or create a new line (Ex 5), instead using a 3-finger pentatonic shape and move this pattern up the fretboard?
Again: Examples 4 and 5 should not be the last word on this theme, as I just can give you the tools, but you have to use that technique yourself: Be creative! You’ll not only get your own yoice and style on the guitar but also all your self-created licks will truly come from your heart and as they are natural to you they should be much more easy for you to play! Trust me!

The previous examples all had one thing in common: All of them use strict alternate picking, which is very good as it forces your right hand to jump over the strings as well. Yet, to get a more „fluent“ sound, it’s a good idea to do some legato.

Example 6 a) is exactly like example 3 a) but sounds smooth as it uses hammer on’s and pull of’s.
Example 6 b) is just like example 3 b)! Connect this approach with all the previous example as well!
As I mentioned before: Create your own licks either picked or played legato – style.
To conclude today’s lesson I want to show you two runs which make use either of alternate picking plus string skipping (in A Harmonic Minor [A, B, C, D, E, F, G#] and legato and string skipping (Examples 7 and 8)

So, be creative and we’ll see next month where I want to jump even wider, present you new runs and introduce you to the fusion of string skipping, arpeggios and the 7 modes. So stay tuned!
I would also be pleased to get corrections, suggestions or even insultments by you ... just mail to: webmaster@schink-bonn.de!

So, yeah have a nice week and ... oh I nearly forgot: As I am happy about every new lick I can get under my fingers it would be great if you send me your own created string skipping runs ... the best may be mentioned in the following coloumn (with paying respect to their authors of course ;-)) ...

Best wishes,



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