In her latest lesson, virtuoso Nili Brosh analyzes techniques and approaches made famous on records from the venerated '80s record label.

Chops: Advanced
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Work through sweep arpeggios in the style of Jason Becker.
• Add more chromatic notes to your improvised solos.
• Make your riffs more compelling with unexpected rhythmic subdivisions.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

Shrapnel Records introduced the world to some of the most virtuosic rock and metal guitarists to have ever plugged into a high-gain amp. Starting in the ’80s, an era that has subsequently become infamous for guitar gods, Shrapnel’s founder Mike Varney carefully selected the cream-of-the-crop players for his unique record label.

Some Shrapnel alumni are best known for sweep picking, others for insane alternate picking, and yet others for emphasizing legato fretwork. But all of them are known for playing a lot of notes in a very musical way. What made many of these players great, in my opinion, is that each took a unique approach to playing and writing within the fairly specific “shred” genre.

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There's a lot of musical gold inside the scales.



• Develop a deeper improvisational vocabulary.

• Combine pentatonic scales to create new colors.

• Understand the beauty of diatonic harmony.
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Improvising over one chord for long stretches of time can be a musician's best friend or worst nightmare. With no harmonic variation, we are left to generate interest through our lines, phrasing, and creativity. When I started learning to improvise, a minor 7 chord and a Dorian mode were the only sounds that I wanted to hear at the time. I found it tremendously helpful to have the harmony stay in one spot while I mined for new ideas to play. Playing over a static chord was crucial in developing my sense of time and phrasing.

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It's time to move past the blues scale.



  • Learn how to use diminished and altered sounds over a IV chord.
  • Develop a better sense of voice leading.
  • Understand the basics of connecting guide tones.
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Let's talk about momentum. It's an essential part of any great solo, and when you're ripping over a 12-bar blues, the first spot to really demonstrate your mastery of the harmony is when the IV chord pops up. In this lesson, I'll demonstrate how to create some … fourward momentum … in your next solo.

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