To Shred or Not to Shred?
by Chris Duxbury
To shred or not to shred1 – that is the question of our time.
‘Tis more lucrative to take the route of the simple power chord – 
Of the mosh-inducing breakdown2?
Or to pick up the six-string in virtuosity against the face of popular trend
And in doing so, uphold the sacred path of our forefathers of steel3. To riff, to sweep4 –
Once more – the era of the guitar hero rears its oft-unappreciated head
Melody of the heavens, speak to us through skilled fingers and hands
That bestow its graces upon a length-haired apprentice – ‘tis an obsession
Idyllically shall he be viewed. He who riffs, he who sweeps –
In an age where competence makes its renaissance. Rejoice, as false prophets fall,
For the coming of pride and competence leaves a swathe of imitators in its wake.
The ears of the faultless will have rejoiced at the majesty,
We must take notice. The cycle repeats
Much as it did decades ago in nineteen-hundred and eighty5.
For he who bears the criticisms and wrath of the pseudo and merciless,
Will be the one who brings dignity and respect to the art. 
For only by showing the mobs what they have missed,
Can they be tempered to view its form in full appreciation.
When it is right, incarnate-a-new.
To riff, to sweep – the bonds of iron and steel endure the tempest of time.

1: slang; V.: The art of playing a guitar with virtuosity and bravado, often with flashy histrionics reminiscent of 80’s rock and metal. Comes from the idea that one is playing fast enough to shred his guitar strings.
2: N.: A style of guitar riff that focuses on a single note being monotonously repeatedly played in a section of a song. Often heard in hardcore music and sometimes used in negative connotation to describe poor music.
3: The founders of heavy metal and guitar-rock. (Ex: Jimmy Page, Toni Iommi, Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen)
4: V.: Techniques employed by technically competent guitarists.
5: Referring to the 1980s, when guitar solos were considered the “in” thing in rock music.