A Massive Chunk of Shredding Freedom

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The simplest and most effective strategy

When dealing with large amounts of information we must do two things in order to get the most out of our brain.

1. We must group things into manageable chunks
2. We must look for easy patterns to remember
3. Then we must put those chunks of information together like a jigsaw puzzle

Any four notes per string scale pattern consist of one easy pattern, repeated three times across the strings.

Half the information is twice as hard

Now try this: Go get a pen and a piece of paper. Then write your name as fast as you can. How fast can you do it? One second? Then try this: Write half as much, but write only every second letter in your name. So if you name is "James Jameson "you would write "Jms Jmsn". How fast can you do that? Try it now! My guess is, writing half as many letters took you at least twice as much time. Why? Because writing your name is one thing in your brain. It's one movement that you do. It's one program you run. All you have to do is push the right button in your brain, and your hand does the rest. But when you have to write every second letter, the activity shifts from being and automated one to being a conscious one. Suddenly speed decreases radically.

Mastery on all levels

Take one chunk of information, master it to perfection, then integrate it with the previous chunk. Then learn a new one and repeat the process. When you get to the end of all your chunks of information, start over again - relearning and re-mastering every bit until you forget nothing - Until it's like riding a bike: No matter how hard you try, you cannot unlearn how to ride a bike. It's automatic and the skill is yours forever. These kinds of "acquisitions" cannot be bought with money, that's part of what makes them so special.

Here's your next step

Enough brain surgery for now. Let's get very real and specific. At this point you have practiced going up and down the C-major / A-Minor scale on these three sets of strings:

It's vitally important that you keep seeing the fretboard like this. You can go from one group to another and back again. But your brain likes to know what neighborhood it's in. This is the way we deal with the horizontal level. On the vertical level, we divide the fretboard up into two string, four notes per string patterns like this:

And then we take that pattern across the three pairs of strings like this:

Notice how everything is divided into groups and patterns. Remain focused on these manageable chunks of information when ever you get confused. Keep refocusing your mind so that it sees patterns instead of chaos.

Mastering the four notes per string pattern

Now. It's time to master the four notes per string patterns over all six strings. Start by practicing pattern number one:

You already master the smaller pattern with which this large pattern is created. The challenge here is therefore shifting from one group of strings to another. Start shifting from the high B & E and strings to the middle D & G strings. Play different licks and improvise while shifting between these two patterns. Then when you feel confident, close your eyes and practice some more. Don't open your eyes right away, when you get into trouble, but try to find your way in the dark. Then practice shifting from the middle D & G strings to the low E & A strings. Then start all over again. right until the point where your skill level remains the same when you come full circle.

7/16 Paul Gilbert Variation

This is a simple variation of Paul Gilbert's well known "four notes up and down lick" The tricky thing is to alternate between a down stroke and an up stroke on the high E-string. Also it feels awkward in the beginning to play odd numbers very fast. But you'll get the hang of it!

Then practice the pattern BELOW the pattern you are playing in right now:

(Explanation follows)

Follow the same sequence of practicing for this pattern.

Then practice the pattern ABOVE the first pattern, using the same method as before:

Then practice the first pattern once more. Why? Because now you have had a break from playing that pattern and you've probably forgotten parts of it. So you follow the same sequence on this level: Master it for the moment, then move on and forget parts of it, and then return to it and master it again. Now you are ready to integrate the three scale patterns into one sweet massive chunk of shredding freedom:

Notice how much ground you cover with these three patterns. It's very important that you focus on the middle scale pattern and use that as your home base (Orange dots) Then move out into the other scale patterns from there. Also when you shift from one pair of strings to another, do it from within this scale pattern in the middle. This is very important or the challenge will become too big. Look at the size of this baby! We have to create some rules of navigation in order not to avoid confusion. The area of focus when it comes to shifting strings is marked with blue on this illustration:

When ever you are going from one set of strings to another this is the place to do it. Now continue up the neck using the same strategy: Use scale pattern two as the center:

Then learn the scale patterns on each side of it (You've just practiced the one below this pattern so there's only one extra scale pattern to master) Then practice improvising in these three scale pattern and use the middle one as your home base. And! remember to shift strings from withon that middle pattern only.

You can find all the four notes per string patterns under the tab "Resources" on this website. Have fun with it!

PS: If there's anything here you find confusing, please let me know!