4 Best Shred Guitar Lessons & Courses (build fretboard speed)
Stephanie Bradley’s JamPlay course, Cybernetic Shred, is one of the single best speed-building courses for electric guitar players. We recommend it for anyone looking to build speed with an eye towards melody and nuance.
Speed isn’t everything on the electric guitar, and it can mean different things to different people. For those that want to build quickness with fretboard familiarity and learn to shred like the pros, there isn’t a clear learning path or particular program to follow.
However, there are courses within these programs that are excellent for increasing speed on the electric guitar.
Read more: Steve Stine’s speed building techniques
In this article, we’ll single out and highlight those courses.
These are the best shred guitar lessons for building speed and learning how to play faster on the fretboard, without skipping steps or bypassing important concepts.
1. Cybernetic Shred by Stephanie Bradley (via JamPlay)
Stephanie Bradley’s JamPlay course Cybernetic Shred focuses on speed-building exercises and patterns, and helps you build a melodic understanding of the fretboard along the way.
The course is distinctly focused on shredding and building speed, but also manages to cover a lot of nuance and delicate concepts surrounding lead technique and building connectivity through multiple scale patterns.
It’s a great shred guitar course pick.
IDEAL FOR: Building fretboard speed and connectivity
- CONTENT: 88
- EDU: 82
- ORGANIZATION: 78
- VALUE: 82
- Alternate and tremolo speed picking
- Transitioning with speed
- Incremental speed building
- Overall right-hand technique
- Note application
- Walking line between beginner and advanced content
2. Essential Shred Licks by Ben Lindholm
There are several metal lessons taught by Ben Lindholm in Guitar Tricks, but the two I’m focusing on are Essential Shred I and II.
In these two courses, Lindholm takes you through some of the most common shredding patterns and shows you exactly how to play them, starting slow then working your way up faster.
It’s not necessarily a full course, but they’re two of the best lesson sets for getting started in or even honing and perfecting the shred style.
Read the full review: Guitar Tricks
IDEAL FOR: Getting a start on advanced shredding patterns and speed building strategy
- CONTENT: 84
- EDU: 91
- ORGANIZATION: 83
- VALUE: 84
- Speed is built incrementally
- Great rundown of the most common shred patterns
- Lindholm’s teaching method is straightforward and easy to follow
- Good way to introduce advanced technique in an easy way
- Videos are older with lower resolution
3. Shredding Revolution by Dan Sugarman
Dan Sugarman’s course takes a really detailed and somewhat unique approach to building speed, as he focuses on showing you how to de-tense your fingers while also tethering them more closely to the fretboard.
He shows you different methods for building muscle memory and promoting a more functional approach to your guitar playing posture.
You’ll also get into some advanced rhythm concepts and lead technique, like legato, triplets, and hammer-ons/pull-offs.
It’s what I would consider an intermediate to advanced shred guitar lesson series.
IDEAL FOR: An in-depth study of shredding.
- CONTENT: 88
- EDU: 94
- ORGANIZATION: 86
- VALUE: 95
- Focuses on functionality and muscle memory
- One of the most in-depth shredding courses we’ve tested
- Sugarman’s teaching style is easy to follow
- Helpful with the physicality of playing fast (more speed with less movement)
- Available in 4k
- Tons of camera angles
- Hard to complain about much
4. Technique in the Service of Creativity by Gretchen Menn via JamPlay
Harmonics and melody are also a big part of her course, which is flavored by Menn’s harp-esque playing style.
There’s a lot of material here that goes beyond shredding and sheer speed, so we might recommend it be taken as an add-on to one of the other courses, especially if you’re particularly interested in the concepts that Menn covers.
IDEAL FOR: Building technique and melody over shredding patterns
- CONTENT: 85
- EDU: 86
- ORGANIZATION: 79
- VALUE: 88
- Lots of material that goes beyond speed building
- Tapping and sweep picking are a big focus
- Technique is harp-esque
- Great for pairing with a more conventional shred guitar course
- Organization isn’t as tight as other courses
How We Select Courses
There are a lot of websites that review guitar lesson programs, and many of them are reviewed by people who don’t even play guitar.
Here’s one shining example.
However, when Guitar Chalk recommends courses, we do things a bit differently.
Not only are we guitar players and musicians, but we go a step further by reviewing and recommending specific courses within the top online guitar lesson programs.
In the case of lessons that focus on speed and shredding, we’re looking for the absolute best options, drawing on personal experience and a knowledge of what good shred guitar lessons should cover. Reviews are then conducted using a full membership to each site that allows us to actually sift through the content in the courses we recommend.
There are no shortcuts, cheap summaries, or recycled information.
Criteria for Evaluating Shred Guitar Lessons
This means we draw on specific criteria depending on what kind of course we’re recommending. For all guitar lessons we review, there are at least four criteria:
- Value (cost)
- Content quality
- Education quality
- Topical organization
Since we’re looking at shred guitar lessons specifically, we’re also using the following criteria to refine our search:
- Focus on speed
- Address lead guitar technique
- Focus on building patterns and muscle memory
For those interested in how our ratings work out, we’ve provided some info on each category.
Value of Lessons (cost vs quality)
Value is measured by the quality of lessons you get in terms of what you pay.
JamPlay lessons are available for download with a one-time price, usually around $50.
This is not the case with Guitar Tricks.
However, we can usually fall back on a program’s monthly price since it takes about one month to get through one of these courses (though they could be completed quicker).
We can cross the monthly price with our overall rating of the program to get a feel for the value you’re getting within a single course.
Addresses the user experience, types of media, and the amount of media a course provides.
Some factors that can impact content quality rating include the number of videos, their highest-available resolution, amount of supplemental content, camera angles, and simply the raw volume of material available in the course.
It’s a simpler rating that addresses the overall user experience.
Newer courses tend to score better here just because of advancements in camera and video technology.
How good is the teaching you receive? How thorough is the state topic explained?
Education quality gets to the learning experience.
Is the stated topic of the course covered comprehensively? Are concepts explained in a way that’s clear to understand? Is opportunity allowed for demonstration and application?
Is the teacher an effective communicator and on-camera presence?
Ordering topics, primarily in regards to skill level and progression of difficulty.
This category deals with how functional a guitar course is in terms of how topics progress and relate to one another.
In other words, does it adhere to a clear and specific skill level or style?
Also, does it progress in a logical way that advanced in difficulty at a manageable rate?
Other Factors to Consider
Again, these four criteria are applied to every lesson, course, and program we review. But are there factors to consider that pertain specifically to shred guitar lessons? We mentioned a few earlier, but let’s reform those into questions you can ask yourself that will help you choose a shred guitar course.
How much does speed matter to you?
It’s important to think about why you want to build speed. Shredding isn’t a major part of the modernized guitar playing style, so it’s important to make sure you have a reason for wanting to shred and that you know how important it is to your overall goals as a musician.
Are you primarily concerned with lead guitar?
A second question to ask is whether you see yourself as a lead guitarist or rhythm guitarist. One of the prerequisites for taking a speed course, would be that you want to pursue — at least in part — the discipline of lead guitar. In other words, you’d prefer playing melody. If you see yourself more as a rhythm guitarist, shred guitar lessons might not be totally necessary or helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Which course is best for a beginner shredder?
A: I’ve you’re an established guitar player that’s new to the shredding game, the Ben Lindholm lessons on Guitar Tricks are probably going to be your best easy-intro into the concepts of shredding and building speed.
Q: How long does it take to build speed and shred?
A: In most cases, these courses can increase your speed in about one month, though it depends on your starting abilities and how often you implement the material.
Q: Do these programs charge any hidden fees?
A: No. Both JamPlay and Guitar Tricks only charge for their membership. You won’t see anything additional on your credit card bill.
Learning to shred takes time.
There’s no way to shortcut that process, especially if you’re starting as a beginner. However, these courses can make your path forward much clearer and help you can practice in a way that will optimize your playing time for building quicker hands and more fluid control over the fretboard.
All four courses in this article will help you do that, especially if you go through them slowly and put in the effort to apply the concepts covered.