Hi, this is Pete Hurst, 16 year old guitarist hailing from Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada. I currently play with the hard rock band A Vagrant World and the rather progressive 80's hair-metal rivival band Twisted Steel and Sex Appeal. My major influences include Al Di Meola, Jani Liimatainen (Sonata Arctica), Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, and Joe Satriani. This is my first column at this site and I'm just going to give some various shred-oriented exercies that I hope you can find useful.
Exercise One: This is an alternate picking exercise using the D Natural Minor scale, with some basic string skips, and also using the 3-1-2-3-2-1 fingering pattern.
Exercise Two: A couple three octave long arpeggios, up and down. The first is a C the second is a Bm. They are executed using rather large sweeps with hammer-ons and pull-offs.
Exercise Three: A little pedal tone action using economy picking. You probably have done stuff using an open string for a pedal tone and then playing notes on that string in between maybe a couple of the open string tones. This little technique can be used to imitate that to an extent, but using any note as the pedal. Try making some stuff up like this and moving your pedal tone with the chords next time you're doing a solo, or maybe, writing a lead. This one is in A Major.
Exercise Four: A legato run using the A Harmonic Minor scale. This is done entirely legato, no picking whatsoever. Various techniques are used to achieve complete legato on this lick, left-hand taps (cross-hammers), hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides and taps. This may seem difficult if you've never tried something like this before, but once you practice it for a just a little while, it seems easy. And make up your own stuff using double hand legato, this lick is basically nothing compared to what one can do with this way of playing.
Exercise Five: My last lick for this column is another one using the A Harmonic Minor scale, using sweeps and taps. It starts off with a sweeped Am arpeggio, which is then furthered with some tapping, and then a small B Half-Diminished arpeggio, and then back to an A Minor which kind of merges into some sort of sweeped Eb9, and ends on an A note.