I've been getting a lot of requests from people taking guitar lessons for ways to think outside of a box pattern and how to be able to solo with speed and accuracy. Personally, I like to do both of these and would love to help everyone out by sharing a couple techniques I use.
The Burn (right arm):
One of the first things I'd like to bring up is to STOP thinking notes/tab/intervals for just a minute. These are fundamentally important but not for what we're going to try and accomplish with this excercise. Now, I want you to begin by alternate picking in a "loco" fashion for 60 seconds at a time palm muting an open "E" on the 6th string until your forearm starts to tense. This is going to help with articulation so that when you try the next excercise your pick doesn't get caught up on the strings. If you're having picking issues, look at how you're holding the pick. Are you gripping it tight enough? Are you holding it on the inside part? Don't wuss out on this one, hit the strings like you want to go through them just don't get stuck.
The Burn (left arm):
So now you can take that same "loco" style of picking and incorporate your left hand fingering. First and my personal favorite is a pinkie, ring, first back roll that you can take anywhere on the neck. I used it on my track "Follow the Revolution" before the breakdown into the solo if you want an example of this. It's simple, alternate pick with the right hand and build up speed using the previously mentioned rhythm excercise. Notice I didn't state one note, interval, or tab pattern… I could but thats not the point. After a few times through this your soloing should improve, you'll have better rhythm chops, and you'll understand how to "chug" a lot faster!
The Major/minor 3rd shred:
I continually find myself using this one as you can take it all over the neck and it makes an amazing sound. Think of an open note pedal tone on the E or A for example. Now imagine a major 3rd position. Ok, look at the top 2 notes of a G or C chord if you wanna know what that looks like. Now start either open E, G, and then B on the 5th string or open A, C and E on the D string. Repeat those until you feel like you're playing the intro to Cliff Burton's "Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)" off Metallica's 1983's Kill 'Em All album. For the minor 3rd we'll switch to the b3rd instead. Now play either the open E, A and then C on the A string or open A, D and then F on the 4th string. Continue that open E or A pedal throughout and impress yourself finding all the major and minor tones around the fretboard.
Until next time!