Greetings Premier Guitar fans and welcome to the Shred Guitar Roundtable! I’m Jeff Beasley and I’ll be your host for this evening’s festivities. You may know me from my “Lethal Guitar” column here in Premier Guitar, but I’m also a seasoned shredder from way back. I’ve brought some friends along to give you an awesome glimpse into the minds and licks of some of the top shredders in modern guitar. Rusty Cooley, Mike Orlando, and Oli Herbert will be joining me in this roundtable. Each one has provided video examples with corresponding tab and text explanations for every lick.

Jump to:
Rusty Cooley
Mike Orlando
Oli Herbert

I'll kick it off with some examples of my own:

Lick 1
An intervallic approach to a fully diminished or diminished 7th arpeggio, resolving into the pentatonic minor scale with the b5 included. I break the arpeggio into minor 3rd intervals descending and resolve to the root of the pentatonic scale. I also use strict alternate picking throughout the line, making it challenging for the picking hand as the intervallic approach challenges the fretting hand.

Lick 2

This Shawn Lane melody is quite the attention getter at higher tempos and makes use of the odd beat grouping of quintuplets (groups of five). Notice I use fingers 1, 2 and 3 of the fretting hand exclusively, as I ascend in the line. This is the fingering Shawn used and I’ve found it to be quite player friendly at the quicker tempos. It requires a bit more stretching, but the ends justify the means.

Lick 3

The addition of the #4 into a basic major arpeggio gives a new color (Lydian) and brings the WOW factor to life in an otherwise common line. Spanning three octaves with the #4 inclusion and increasing in pitch as you jump from one octave to the next also creates a cascading beautiful line.

Lick 4

One of my favorite approaches to bring the common arpeggio to an exciting peak. The addition of the 4th at the top of the octave before the tap gives continuity and stability to the melody prior to the resolution of the 2nd to the 3rd with the tap/bend at fret 16 on the G string.

Lick 5

I got this idea after listening to a good friend, Ron Thal. He uses unusual voicings, rhythms, and resolutions in his music and when I wrote this line I had him in mind. I again take the major arpeggio but include a very dissonant minor 2nd that I resolve to unison pitch by bending the tapped note (Eb) up a half-step on the 16th fret of the B string.

Hit page 2 for Rusty Cooley's lesson...