Every one wants to improve their shredding capabilities, and a lot of guitar players will put their focus towards working with exercises alongside of a metronome. This is great and all, but honestly the number one thing that always gets neglected are the chops, the actual soloing pieces.
In fact, by working on your creative skills, it will greatly improve your technique as well. To be quite honest, once I started focusing on coming up with as man different musical ideas as possible, this was the point when my technique started to really improve, even when I had already thought that it sounded pretty good.
However, a lot of people are really not sure about what you should do to find inspiration, or even how to come up with their own ideas when improvising or soloing along with music.
Now, I can’t give you the magic ticket right now at this moment, but what I can do is offer you some suggestions that helped me 10 fold!
The little known secret to fast playing is to work on rhythm, but its also a major part of coming up with amazing sounding guitar soloing parts.
For instance, beginning drummers will work on little drills to get everything loosened up. With guitar playing it should be no different. Work on your triplets and quadruplets! try to fit in odd pauses, or as I call them “hesitations”, because it literally sounds like someone is hesitating when done right, and please be sure to make it different timing wise between different sets of notes.
Sit down and without any accompanying jam track, take the time to work on what you could call “isolated creativity”. This would be where you limit yourself to just 2 – 5 notes from a scale that you really like, and sit down and mess around with them.
Reorder them, try using a bend on one note, then try out different types of string bends, use slides, harmonics — whatever!
It doesn’t happen overnight, but over time this stuff will all start to come together. One thing that has always helped me out as a guitarist is to jam with pedal tones. You can either pre-record these, or just let your open E string ring while you gently play other notes to it.
Make sure that you do two things though when using pedal tones. First, make sure that you practice some scale work with a ringing pedal tone in the background, but also make sure to try jamming to the pedal tone that is sustained.
This secret alone can really get the ideas flowing and it will make you a more confident guitar player over time. Best of luck and keep shreddin’!