Just for fun, let's look at Darrel Abbot (aka Dimebag Darrel) and his tour through all the major shredding styles "The Art of Shredding"
This sound is, literally, an example of every different kind of shredding there is. Different sections are played in different fingering, picking, and tapping styles.
Then there's the all time canonical example for the shred guitarist, Yngwie Malmsteen; and what is probably the best example of his several different shredding techniques (alternate picking, sweep picking, hybrid picking, hybrid tapping, and two handed tapping) all in one song, "Caprici Diabolo":
Oh and I should note... though I often criticize Yngwie for being all speed and technique, and no soul...and for being a total douchebag (really, he is. Major asshole, and a nasty drunk too)... he can do it almost as well with an acoustic guitar as he can with a strat. Still no soul, but he's not using insane overdrive and extra strings and extended doublecutaways to get his speed :
And I should note, for most of his best, fastest, and most difficult work, Yngwie was stone ass (near falling down) drunk. If I drank as much as he did I wouldnt be able to tie my shoes, never mind play like that.
Oh and he CAN play slowly, and play the blues, and classic rock... he's even good at it... he just likes guitar masturbating a lot more.
There's two guys you have to credit for bringing shredding to mass audiences, and coincidentally both played behind (or in front of) David lee Roth.
The first is of course, Eddie Van Halen, with the song that brought shredding out in public for the first time, "Eruption":
...and for those of you who only know Van halen as mediocre middle aged adult contemporary rockers (you poor misguided fools you), here's an INSANE 11 minute live shredding jam on eruption from the early 80s (where Eddie uses every shredding technique known to man):
Just the look on his face during the whole thing... there's a man in his prime and having the time of his life. He was the absolute king of the world for that 11 minutes.
The other player of course is Steve Vai; who would do more than any other 80s guitarist to popularize shredding with the hard core musical theory crowd (the guys who love metal for the technique and degree of difficulty)... and who in this clip just happens to also being shredding with Tony MacAlpine, Dave Wiener, and Billy Sheehan:
Though I have to say, my favorite Vai tune ever is probably Bad Horsie:
Some may say that role more properly belongs to Satrianai (or even Steve Morse)
... but I disagree. Like Eric Johnson, Satch doesn't really shred... Satch just... IS.
Now... we have to talk a bit about Michael Angelo Batio; who is considered the fastest shredder there is (though Talio DellaVega is the fastest picker according to Guinness).
Frankly, I'm not a fan. He is INSANELY fast... and his technique is incredible... but if there was ever someone who is all technique and no soul or art it's Batio. And I hate to say it, because he's an incredibly versatile and inventive player, and a great teacher of technique (and apparently a very nice guy)... I just don't like his music.
Here he is playing on his signature "double guitar"... not just a double neck, it's actually two guitars joined at the base, that he plays simultaneously with plucking and tapping techniques:
What he can do with a guitar... or two.. or even four (yes, he has a four way version of that thing and he'll play all four at once through harmonics, pedals, sustain effects etc... ) boggles the mind... It's absolutely amazing... but it leaves me cold.
And here's Dragonforce's Herman Li, demonstrating his hybrid tapping/two handed tapping style:
...and what has become their iconic song "Through the Fire and Flames":
Where you can see that Li is one of the fastest two handed, or hybrid tappers ever... Plus it's just a fun song.
Admittedly, Li isnt nearly as musical as some others, but his playing is incredibly fast, and very fun. It's not strained or over-techniqued... it's just he sacrifices quality for speed.
Now, I can't do this sampler without something from John Petrucci, one of my favorite guitarists from one of my favorite bands of all time, Dream Theater. Here's his solo piece "Glasgow Kiss":
Not one of the fastest shredders (though he's damn fast); but definitely among the most musical... Probably as good as Satch, Gilbert etc.. as an artist and band member rather than just a "guitar player".
Ok... I saved this one for last, because... well most people dn't know who he is, other than real guitar geeks... and he's probably the only guitarist I can think of who is both faster, AND more musical than Paul Gilbert... His name is Rusty Cooley; and though he's been around since the early 90s, he's never had much fame... but guitarist know who his is, and stuff like this is why:
and this freestyle jam... just blows me away:
Oh and thinking about it now... Why is it so many of the most amazing guitarists come out of New Jersey? No joke, like 1/3 of these guys are from NJ.