How to create a cool sounding shred piece.
So what's this 'shredding stuff', you ask? It's a guitar technique used by electric guitar wizzards worldwide. To put it very plain and simple; it's making fast and cool sounding sequential patterns on your guitar. The more technically advanced, the better. The best 'shredders' around try to incorperate whammy bar effects, ridiculous speed techniques, 'sweep picking' and all kinds of crazy stuff, to wow their audience.
In my tracks, I've tried to shred a bit myself over the years. I'll have to use my keyboard, though. It seems to be working pretty well, according to the cool comments I've been getting. Also, many of the viewers are asking for some more tutorials on shredding and some pointers on where to begin. Here's what I do:
1. Create an easy pattern
Start off by creating a simple pattern at around 130bpm. Just keep it as plain as possible and only use notes that will become the backbone of your riff. Create a lick with simple notes.
2. Connect the dots
Once you've made a simple riff, it's time to fill it in (which in essence is a lot like the kids game 'connect the dots'). Using reason you can use the sequencer to fill in the gaps in-between the notes you laid out earlier. Try different patterns and play with the space and pace of the stuff you cram in there. Play it back and try to create some emphasis by adding pitch bend to certain notes.
3. Add a touch of cool
Once you are happy with your shredding sound, it's time to add the good stuff; add some frequency shift to it. This will give a cool effect to your piece and makes it sound more vibrant. You can control the amount, time and steepness of this effect quite well. I find it quite nice to time it just right, so it emphasizes parts in your riff.
4. Dress it up
Once you've created your cool riff, it's time to dress it up with bass, drums and cool stuff, surrounding your riff. Pay attention to the different frequencies in your mix. It's good to look at your instruments in frequency ranges. As you know you have your lows, your mids and your highs. Adding too many of the same range, will make it hard for the listener to recognize and appreciate all the instruments you've put in. If you were to play two or three high pitched instruments (e.g. a guitar, a piano and a trumpet) at the same time, one or more will begin to drown the rest. If you find yourself in such a predicament, you can always give each instrument it's own equalizer and separate them that way.
Once you are happy with the results, have a listen at your creation, made with just a keyboard! It's like it has been made by the guitar Gods themselves! :)