I don’t know when speed became the major criteria on which guitar players measure each other’s level of expertise, but it surely isn’t the criteria for the rest of the non-playing guitar world.
Just think about it – The “Phenomenal” shredders’ audience consists of mainly guitar players, while the audience for guitarists who focus more on the MUSIC, the harmony, the melodies, consists of people who are looking for people who will MOVE them.
Here is the deal: Music moves people. Shredding impresses guitarists, and guitarists only.
Speed isn’t the only measure of a musician’s technique. There is the element of musicality, of knowing which note to put in the absolute right place (John Scofield is a master at that). There is the element of “feel”, which is the most important part of whether your guitar sings, or just plays the notes. Sometimes one note played by BB King is worth (musically) a lot more than a thousand 16th-notes or triplets or sixthlets or whatever-lets shredded without any thought behind them.
Music without “feel” is just dead notes. You want to play something other people can SING, hum, or get the melody stuck in their heads. If you shred, make sure your shredding isn’t just a finger exercise played at higher speeds, but an actual fast-speed MELODY (Greg Howe is a master at that). Finger exercises don’t make good music.
One of the main reason teenagers learn guitar is to impress girls. People are more impressed by beautiful music than just technical ability. Want to impress girls with your guitar skills? Stop shredding and play MUSIC.