Calculating Notes Per Second

In order for a guitarist to track their progress when practicing with a metronome, it is important to learn how to calculate their speed in notes per second.  The reason for this is that when you practice, not every exercise will use the same note values, so you will not be able to compare beats per minute.  For instance, it is tough to compare speeds when you play one exercise with 16th notes at 170bpm and one exercise with triplets and 180bpm.  By calculating and tracking notes per second, you will get a better feel for how you are progressing.  Here’s how to do it.

The Equation

To convert beats per minute to notes per second you can use the following equation:

((Notes Per Beat)  x  (Beats Per Minute)) / 60secs  =  Notes Per Second

Notes Per Beat

To find notes per beat you need to figure out how many notes you play for every click of the metronome.  Here’s a simple chart to use to find that out if you can’t already.

Note Value Notes Per Beat
Quarter Note 1
8th Note 2
8th Note Triplet 3
16th Note 4
16th Note Triplet 6
32nd Note 8

Beats Per Minute

To find this just read it straight off the metronome.

Once you’ve got both of these numbers just multiply them and divide by 60.


“If I play 16th notes at 170bpm, how fast is that?”

(4 notes per beat x 170 beats per minute) / 60secs =11.33 notes per sec

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at


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One Response

  1. hey, i beat up to 24….

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