Two times Guinness World Records gave me world record certificates for Fastest Guitar Player. Once for playing Flight of the Bumblebee at 600 bpm, and again at 620 bpm.
I believed Guinness was very strict in how they judge things, and scrutinized every note, every pick stroke, etc. I left it at that. I figured that if my performance was good enough for Guinness then I must have actually pulled off picking 40 notes in a single second.
Well... maybe not.
Troy Grady of Cracking the Code did an interview with me to discuss my speed playing. After doing a single string riff for him to demonstrate speed, and watching it in super slow-mo, it turns out I didn't pick all the notes I intended. So, we went with the same riff at a slower pace.
Then, Troy flew me out to NC to get hooked up to all kinds of sensors to read my muscle movements when I play super fast. Here's the trailer where I'm doing a tremelo warm up on one string (at the end of the video)
Troy picked that particular warm up run for the trailer because it was the cleanest/fastest one I did that day. He counted how many notes per second I did. The fastest part was 21 notes per second. That's a far cry from 40.
This led me to think I was indeed NOT picking every note for my Guinness records. I am a FIRM believer that any guitar speed record that involves speed picking needs to have EVERY SINGLE NOTE PICKED! This goes for me too.
So, I went back to look at my initial performance, slowed it down, and instead of just looking to see if my hands synced up, I counted my pick strokes to each metronome click.
I picked everything at 170 bpm. I picked everything at 280 bpm. I did NOT pick everything at 350 bpm.
This means I never broke a damn thing, and my Guinness records were undeserved.
I apologize to anyone I may have let down, including the companies I am associated with.
The following is my video confession:
Someone asked in a YouTube comment how to shred, how to approach it, and what are common/typical exercises to play in order to shred.
Simple answer: anything can be used to practice shredding, you just need to play it fast! Get out your metronome, and start gradually increasing the speed of ANYTHING.
Check out this video for tips on using the metronome:
When learning to shred you will be learning scales, various coil patterns, hammer-ons and pull-offs, legato runs, sweep picking, finger tapping, and so on. If anything is a typical shred exercise it would be scale runs and arpeggios.
Now, there's already an eBook I have out called "Be the Fastest Guitar Player in the World". It covers just about everything you need to
know in order to start shredding. CLICK HERE to sign up for the newsletter and you'll get a download link to get the eBook FOR FREE.
If you need even more exercises you can purchase a different eBook filled with dozens of exercises that will always give you something new to try. CLICK HERE to check it out.
The following video demonstrates a lot of what you'll find in the eBook "Be the Fastest Guitar Player in the World".
John Taylor - guitar and bass instructor for Mile High Shred.