Grab your guitar and learn how to shred, Di Meola-style. of exercise-inspired showpieces telegraphed that technique, and the dedication that. Al Di Meola’s Picking Techniques: Al Di Meola: Books – He’s the king of fusion guitar and few players wield a Les Paul with such precision. We join Al Di Meola to find out why rhythm is the soul of style.

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In the late Seventies and early Eighties, if there was one name from the jazz guitar world that rock and metal listeners were likely to know, it was Al Di Meola. Jazz players since Django Reinhardt and Tal Farlow had possessed devastating right-hand chops.

But their virtuosity was delivered in a musical context of sharped fives and flatted nines that was challenging for rock and roll audiences.

Al Di Meola’s Picking Techniques, Instructional – Hal Leonard Online

Di Meola took bebop-level technical rigor and married it to a high-energy fusion sound that was progressive and still ripe for mainstream crossover. Along with John McLaughlin, he brought hyper-precise techniwues to a younger generation of rock and metal players and set the stage for the golden pjcking of shred heroes, including Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert, that would soon emerge.


Di Meola’s vocabulary of turbocharged patterns and sequences was tailor made for high-gain heroism. His signature lines, often built on hyper-speed ostinatos, seemed ripped right from the practice rooms at Berklee, Di Meola’s alma mater.

And that was probably the point. Much like Eddie Van Halen’s quotation of the famous Kreutzer violin etude in the tremolo section of “Eruption,” Di Meola’s portfolio of exercise-inspired showpieces telegraphed that technique, and the dedication that it took to earn it, was cool again.

It was hard rock by way of conservatory chic. A classic example of this is the descending Di Meola sixes pattern that would become a bedrock of s shred soloing.

Al Di Meola’s 10 tips for guitarists | MusicRadar

In this lick, three notes on adjacent strings are connected to form a descending sextuplet scale fragment. Each note is played precisely with alternate picking at breakneck speed.

Di Meola either repeated the figure in place, or ratcheted the tension by sliding up one position higher each time. The effect was stunning, producing regular cheers when delivered alongside John McLaughlin and Paco De Lucia during the trio’s influential concert tour.


Vinnie Moore famously borrowed Di Meola’s two-string, six-note signature for a Pepsi commercial in which the lick is hilariously used to explode the caps off a crate of soda bottles.

For even more detail, as well as specifics on the sequence of wrist and forearm movements that make the lick work, you might want to check out the Cracking the Code Antigravity seminar on picking mechanicsfrom techniqkes both meolq these video lessons were adapted.

In the mean time, grab your guitar and get ready to shred, Di Meola-style.

Just be sure to keep soft drinks a safe distance away from your amplifier! Troy Grady is the creator of Cracking the Codea documentary series with a unique analytical approach to understanding guitar technique.

Why are some players seemingly super-powered? Topics Cracking the Code.

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