There are no unbreakable rules in music, but if I dared propose a couple, it would be that shred tracks must be [a] savage, [b] clear and articulate, and [c] seductive in their surprise and ear-stickiness. As a home-recording devotee—and, most likely, the artist, as well—it will be your job to ensure maximum impact. Here are a few helpful hints to make that happen…
Shredding should be near perfect in feel, precision, pitch, tempo, and tone. Never tell yourself, “Okay, that’s good enough.” If it doesn’t blow your mind—and hold up to technical scrutiny—then the performance simply ain’t happening. Period. Shredding is not an “Everyone Gets a Trophy” endeavor.
Shredding is fast. Certain applications of some effects—not so much. The security app here is to avoid any reverbs, delays, or ping-ponging tremoloed flange circuses that obscure articulation of the notes in your onslaught. Precise documentation of your hard-won technique and musicality is paramount. If you must get gooey, fade the effects way into the background. You’ll still get some voodoo percolating in the mix, but the effects won’t compromise your note clarity.
STEP OFF MUSICAL CLIFFS
Sometimes, it pays to listen to everyone else, and then do the opposite. Shocking an audience isn’t a bad thing. Hendrix did. So did Van Halen. Dial in unique tones, seek out less-traveled modes and scales, and toss in some strange chord changes or interesting inversions. Don’t be a recycled shred clone. Be bold. Break through the masses. Assert yourself!