technical players - what design elements are essential for entry level shredder?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Deed_Poll, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. Deed_Poll

    Deed_Poll Member

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    I'm new to the shred thing having been a vintage / alternative / jazz type player for a long time. As such I've always preferred narrower, deeper necks in more of the C to soft V range, with more taper in the back depth. Generally speaking I get on better with single coils than with HBs and favour lower output pickups of both kinds. I usually prefer HBs when they're on Gibson scale necks.

    I'm looking to buy or build a technical / shredder guitar with Floyd Rose vibrato an HH pickup configuration.

    For you guys out there who have made the same change, which parts of the formula are essential in your opinion? Is having the 25-1/2" scale a necessity, for instance? High output pickups? And should the guitar have a skinny and/or flat backed neck shape?

    I will be more than happy to get a bit out of my "comfort zone" if it will encourage me to play with a more classical grip, or use the guitar in sonically different ways.

    At the moment I'm thinking about getting a MIM Charvel San Dimas, switch out the pickups for bare knuckle "black hawks" and install a push / pull to split the coils.
     
  2. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    The only spec that's really necessary IMHO is a flatter radius. I find it hard to shred when the neck has a tighter radius. I think because to avoid bends that fret out on the higher frets, you need more relief and higher action with a vintage radius neck.

    The rest is personal preference.
     
  3. s2y

    s2y Member

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    I don't think scale length has much impact. My lowest action guitar is 24.75".

    A lot of shredders start using a somewhat classical inspired left hand technique. With your thumb behind the neck, the shape and thickness isn't as critical.

    Agreed.
     
  4. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    You can shred on anything, vintage, modern whatever. It's mostly personal preference. I like big fat necks...
     
  5. RTR

    RTR Supporting Member

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    I agree with the flatter radius already mentioned. All else is personal preference IMHO.
     
  6. s2y

    s2y Member

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    Can be done, but higher action often makes the job a little more challenging.
     
  7. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    25.5 offers more space between frets, up high.
    Pick what fits you and gives unrestricted access to everywhere you want to play.
     
  8. Walkerjerry

    Walkerjerry Member

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    You'll probably do best on whatever you're most comfortable with. That said, if you want to "maximize potential," a flat-radius, thinner neck will lend itself best to the "classical grip," which really is best for shred.
     
  9. filtersweep

    filtersweep Member

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    You might find jumbo frets to be rather common.
     
  10. Promit

    Promit Member

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    Ibanez has done a lot to popularize flat radius, low action, and extremely thin profile necks. Personally I am not convinced that any of these things are all that important.

    Let's start with action. The lower it is, the less work required to play. That is down to personal finger strength and efficiency of movement though. There's no point setting action low if you're attacking the strings from half an inch above the fretboard, so you have to adjust action and your playing style to match and optimize for efficiency. Very low action guitars tend to lose sustain and tone to fret buzz, so I never like to go too aggressive and favor slightly more effort - which likely serves to hamper speed somewhat. But I am not going for a shredding speed record either.

    As action gets lower, flatter radius is required to accommodate bends without fretting out. 12" is a minimum. 16+ is quite common. Sometimes people go with compound setups as well. As for profile, eh. I don't like ultra slim necks at any speed, but many swear by them. Scale length is personal taste, but it has multiple effects. In the lower regions of the fretboard, it can affect shorter or longer stretches; in the upper regions, it'll change how much space you have to work with. 25.5" is a popular compromise length, certainly, but 24.75 and 27 are seen plenty as well.

    I DO very much like gigantic frets - I'm going entirely to stainless steel jumbos these days. This is sort of the modern day version of scalloping, and combined with a light touch it's very useful for moving quickly through runs.
     
  11. Tri7/5

    Tri7/5 Supporting Member

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    Plenty of country, jazz, metal, rock, classical, flamenco guys with tons of speed and dexterity blazing on all kinds of different types of setups and instruments. Find what you like. Don't buy into the super thin neck, RG body style cliche'.
     
  12. IbanezRokr

    IbanezRokr Member

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    So, I'd say that if there is a neck profile that you're comfortable with, try to find something similar to it. If you're used to playing on a baseball bat, then keep doing that. No point in changing it up and diving further into hand fatigue that you need to.

    My key things that have helped me;
    Light strings. I grew up playing strats and doing the SRV heavy string deal and what not, and after years of playing around, 9-42's. Just so much easier to move fast on. Light tension, and they just flow.

    Low low action. Slam it to into the weeds. The battle between action, tension and buzzing is a tough one, but it's worth it once you find that sweet spot.

    Pickups with clarity above all else. This has generally steered me towards mid output and parallel wired high output. Not thin, not muddy, a nice round voice with great definition.

    Upper fret access. go ahead, shred on a non-cutaway dreadnaught if you want to. Me, I want deep cuts, 24 frets, and a long scale length to give my sausage fingers the most room up there possible. Scalloped heels are also super nice.

    There's a lot of other little things, I shorten up strap lengths (within reason), keep the neck high, get that thumb back where it belongs, etc...
     
  13. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

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    The flatter radius and bigger frets is pretty key to shred. The rest is your preference.
    Pickups don't have to be output monsters--boost pedals and high gain amps take care of that.
     
  14. s2y

    s2y Member

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    Some of the classical and flamenco guys play with high action, but that takes many hours a day for years.

    Low action and lighter strings is perhaps a big part of the equation. The really high speed generally involves playing much lighter, too. I tend to think medium to higher output pickups sound a little to my ears when played lightly. I can do the occasional quick lick on my archtop that's strung with 13s. I can't imagine lower action, lighter strings, and a lighter touch will produce the desired tone.
     
  15. Defendant

    Defendant Member

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    A flattish radius and big frets help. Choose neck size according to comfort.
     
  16. shane88

    shane88 Member

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    yeah you can shred on almost anything
     
  17. RedHerringHack

    RedHerringHack Member

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    Flat radius. I don't understand a guitarist that hates it.

    I have short strong fingers. Love an Ibanez or Charvel.
     
  18. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    OK, I do think big (tall) frets help, but I don't think any of the rest matters.
     
  19. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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    This.
     
  20. bobbyatomic

    bobbyatomic Member

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    As mentioned above this, I started playing in the 80s, so I've grown up shredding and it's got nothing to do with guitar specs and all to do with practice, Yngwie isn't playing high powered humbuckers and flat radius necks and it doesn't seem to be holding him back any.
     

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