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In this lesson you'll learn seven awesome shred licks by the king of alternate picking - Paul Gilbert!

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In this lesson you'll learn seven awesome shred licks by the king of alternate picking - Paul Gilbert!
I'm going to walk you through each and every lick so that you know not just how to play them, but also how to use them in your own songs and solos.
These licks are a great way to get an insight into Paul's playing style and find out how he gets his signature sound. A big thing to remember when practicing these is to focus on dynamics and picking tone as much as speed; after all, there's no point in being able to play them if you can't make them sound good!
Remember to play cleanly and slowly at first to get a grasp of each example and then gradually speed up. If you start to play sloppy then slow down! It's better to play slow and clean than fast and sloppy, because the speed will come eventually.
7 Awesome Licks
Every lick in this lesson will be in the key of A-minor so that you can play them all together in the same key. You can slide them up and down to play in different keys too, meaning you can play them over any track you like!
I'm not going to include picking directions or fingerings because if you're ready to play these then you should be able to figure out comfortable fingering and picking patterns to use. The easiest way to play them will differ from person to person as well, so play around with a few different methods and see what you find easiest.
Although Paul is most famous for his lightning fast alternate picking, we're actually going to start off with a tapping lick. This one is a pattern that was popularised by Yngwie Malmsteen, but Paul frequently plays it using tapping to achieve a different sound. This also makes it easier to play fast!
The second lick shows how the same pattern can be taken across different strings. Played fast it sounds incredible!
Next we'll move on to some alternate picking licks. This one is the classic "Paul Gilbert" lick that's become a staple for many shredders.
And now we'll go for another classic pattern that combines picking and legato. You could even try palm muting the picking then lifting the palm mute for the legato to accentuate the difference between the two techniques.
Try playing licks three and four together to make a nice little sequence. You could even do the reverse of the pattern, as shown in lick five right here:
And how about taking that pattern around the neck to form some cool scale sequences? By doing this you can make great big runs out of simple building blocks, making everything sound much more impressive than it actually is. Notice how we start with one pattern and then switch to another for the remainder of the lick to add a bit of variety. If you palm mute every note then the whole thing sounds like it is played with alternate picking.

And finally some string skipping! This is an A-minor arpeggio that is played using alternate picking in combination with legato. It's not as difficult as it looks, because before every string skip there's a legato note which gives the picking hand extra time to move to the next string.
Final Thoughts
I hope you've enjoyed playing these licks! If you're new to shredding then pick just one that you like the look of and play it constantly. Obsess over it until you master it! There's nothing stopping you from learning all of these licks at shred speed, so keep at it and no matter how slowly you may seem to be progressing, remember that you will learn them eventually.
Head over to this lesson to find out how to make your practice more effective so that you can learn these licks even faster. The simple tricks in that article can really help you to reach the next level, so check it out and have fun!


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