Forward chaining for shred chunks, I just discovered this


I don’t know if anyone else has done this, but I just found something interesting.

We know that if you want to play fast, you have to play fast. The mechanics for shred are different than when playing at slower speed.

We also know that chunking a riff and repeating it at high speed will develop smoothness and accuracy with that chunk.

But what if the chunk is too much? What if the mechanic is foreign to you? What if your picking motions don’t naturally go that way?

You can forward chain the chunk one note at a time.

So… Let’s say you’re trying to chunk a cyclic pattern, but you really only have the first 3 notes on the first string. The string change is new to you, and you cannot manage to get it up to speed to follow through for the next three notes.

You do what you already have down (the first 3 notes) and simply add that one next note on the next string. Just work that as fast as you can until it’s natural. Then add the next note on top of that one the same exact way.

In this manner, by segmenting the chunk at high speed, you can build on what you have and quickly develop the speed to continue along the cyclic pattern until you are competent at all the notes in the pattern and can cycle it at high speed.

I showed this to my wife, and she said it’s forward chaining. She’s right. It works, too.


So is this common knowledge? I haven’t seen anyone mention such an approach in the last year of my searching diligently to develop speed.


dunno if im getting the drift of it. its basically adding one note at a time to a known lick? I sort of do that when im having issues with a lick


No, to an unknown lick you cannot play fast. Like I said in the example, you start with whatever notes you can do quickly. For example, whatever can be done on the first string of the pattern, since most people can manage that. Then, just add the single next note after the string change to what you’ve already got on the first string. Then when you get that up to speed, add the next note and work that. Continue on forward chaining one note at a time until you’ve got the whole chunk flying along.


I do this. I didn’t know it had a name.


That’s what I mean, I think I just discovered this. Not that no one else has ever done it, but that it’s not currently a part of the collective shred teaching consciousness. Like I said, I explained it to my wife and she said that kind of learning is called “Forward Chaining.”


In my opinion one of the best ways, if not the best way to do it. I most of the time practice things this way.


I was taught to do exactly that in the 90’s and got a lot better. But then I didn’t for many years and just did regular metronome practice. Recently I was struggling with some things and remembered that—I did two notes at speed and then added the 3rd until it was smooth. Then I did 3 notes at speed and added the 4th until it was smooth. And so on. And it broke me through a plateau in a big way.