High Shred Techs
Published by ChopsFromHell
Francesco was nice enough to send in one of his two instructional CDs for me to review. He is slowly starting to get fair bit of notority as a "new generation mega-shredder" (other dudes who fall into that category are guys like Darryl Gabel and Rusty Cooley). Francesco also released an "instrumental shred album" called "Suspension". More info on that and everything else regarding Francesco can be found at his website, http://www.francescofareri.com
So, let's get to it. The topics covered on "High Shred Techs" include scale patterns, picking exercises / sequences, tapping, legato and sweeping / arpeggios. Also, there also is a 7 String-section for each of those techniques, since Francesco obviously likes the 7 string-guitar a lot.
OK, using those CFH-VCDs is rather easy… you simply open an HTML-file in your browser, and from that HTML_page you can access either the complete video (you need Real Player installed for that), each exercise by itself (dito) and a printable PDF-file, featuring each exercise in TAB. That PDF-file has 71 pages (WOW!), and the material covered here (and in the video) should give you plenty of stuff to work on.
Let me say this: Francesco is an amazingly fast player. The speed he plays at is almost unbelievable. He uses the techniques mentioned above at ultimate high-speed, and seems to favor sweep-arpeggios, those are used a lot. Really impressive.
The first section in the PDF is dedicated to scale patterns Francesco likes to use. (Patterns of the major, minor, harmonic minor and melodic minor scale + more). The patterns are three-note-per-string patterns, and work well for many of the shred-techniques. The scale-patterns are accompanied by MP3s of Francesco playing through those patterns.
Next up is the section about alternate picking. And here Francesco introduces us to a tool he uses to great effect (and fellow shredder Rusty Cooley does so too): 4 note per string patterns. Those require some time to get used to them, and there are some stretches involved. But, once you get used to those patterns, you can create some really cool sounds. Francesco demonstrates just that with several really cool picking-sequences, moving all over the fretboard.
You can also watch the respective videos of him playing them, once slow, once at light-speed. Really motivating (unless you're easily depressed by a player with chops)
Also included are several licks using string-skipping.
Next up Francesco gives away some really cool legato-licks. Again, some great sequences, and exercises that'll keep ya busy for months!
Tapping is next. From 4NPS-high speed tapping licks to a really cool, Satriani-style tapping etude, we are shown a whole bunch of cool licks.
The fact that the PDF has 71 pages hints at the sheer volume of this CD… there are 20 picking-licks, 20 legato-licks, 20 licks in the tapping-section, and 20 licks in the arp-section. And Francesco really covers a lot of ground here.
The 7 string-section has less licks, but some really tough ones that'll keep all the 7 stringers out there busy for a while.
Also included are two really cool solos by Francesco, jamming in front of the camera. And a very special bonus: 25 minutes of footage of a FF-performance (Francesco playing his songs on a small stage, accompanied by a sequencer or backing track-CD) at the Jem-Fest in London last year.
That footage will prove to you that FF is definitely able to pull off all this stuff live on stage. At that concert, he played songs from his solo-album, and after working on your chops for a few hours each day (and believe me, the stuff on here will keep ya busy for hours each day), it's a real treat to watch Francesco perform this stuff live.
OK, first of all, this video is not for the faint-at-heart. And it's definitely not suitable for most beginners. These licks are extremely hard to master, and require lots of practise. You should have some chops already, plus some experience in learning and working on new licks.
If you are bored by Varney-style neoclassic-stuff, this stuff should be the next stuff for you. Francesco has mastered all those shred-techniques, and definitely knows how to use them at high-speed. This puts him into that league of "new age shredders", and the stuff he is presenting here is great to work on your chops.
If you're a "7-Stringer" or not, as long as you like shreds, looking for new challenges, you should check this stuff out.
Also, Francesco focusses on shred-style licks here. Some people might miss the melodic elements or blues-style licks (bendings etc.), but hey, the title says it all: "High Shred Techs". The focus is on fast shredding here, and it's up to you what you do with the information you get out of it.
So, if you know what you want, if you're looking for really tough shred-licks, if you wanna learn from a player with killer-chops, you should check this out
I do have 2 or 3 complaints or suggestions, however…
- Although I have a rather fast computer, and usually don't have many problems with big videos, some of the videos "lagged" a bit. Sometimes the visuals stopped, while the audio went on, and vice versa. This is rather distracting, especially since it's an instructional video…
- No harmonic background given. There are no suggestions for chords to play this over, although the key of each lick is indicated. But… at the same time, I said before that this is for the rather experienced player, and so you should be able to figure this out by yourself. It's up to you, and maybe this will even cause you to experiment a bit more.
Other than that, it's a really interesting and motivating method, and there is a BUNCH of practicing-material to be found here. Simply remember what I said about suitability…
Suitability: Intermediate to Advanced players, especially "shred freaks" who wanna take their technique to the next level