The Importance of Tremolo?

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
Forum rules
IV Laws governing the quotation/citation of music


For discussion of studies, scales, arpeggios and theory.
Rognvald
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:21 am

The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Rognvald » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:00 am

There is probably no guitar technique that causes the amount of angst as tremolo. It signals, for some, a signpost along the road to technical development while to others . . . a roadblock to their imagined progress. It is certainly considered important by many in a player's "bag of tricks," but is it really necessary to become a competent guitarist? Can a guitarist really feel that he/she is complete without mastery of this technique? Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Jeffrey Armbruster
Posts: 1423
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:16 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:05 am

Not a lot of tremolo in Bach.
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
Takamine C132S

User avatar
David_Norton
Posts: 3899
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:12 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by David_Norton » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:18 am

Rognvald wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:00 am
Can a guitarist really feel that he/she is complete without mastery of this technique?
Certainly. But the real question is, can YOU feel that YOU are complete without mastery of this technique?
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT

User avatar
bacsidoan
Posts: 2321
Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 1:59 am

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by bacsidoan » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:32 am

David_Norton wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:18 am
Rognvald wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:00 am
Can a guitarist really feel that he/she is complete without mastery of this technique?
Certainly. But the real question is, can YOU feel that YOU are complete without mastery of this technique?
+1

Speaking for myself, I can't.

Rognvald
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:21 am

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Rognvald » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:06 am

I hate to let the cat out of the bag so early in this discussion, but Jeff and Dave addressed two important considerations: one--if you are playing Baroque, Neo-Classical and Classical Music, how essential is it to your development and how much time are you willing to devote to this technique that is used as a tool to duplicate a sound not inherent in the classical guitar although a given for wind instruments. As a nuance, tremolo can be an attractive, limited pathway to a greater musical expression, but in extended pieces such as "Recuerdos" it can be tiring(my opinion) and many times is used as a "showcase" device to exemplify the "skill/talent" of a player. For me, I could feel complete without its use however, I confess that I use it on a limited basis in performance but do not consider its mastery, in any way, indicative of a great player as there are so many other elements which have musical precedence. Personally, a little for me goes a long way. On the other side of the fence, Bossa and Jazzers would rarely, if ever, use it in their cookbooks and it does not in the least diminish their talent or guitaristic skills. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Mickmac
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:40 am

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Mickmac » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:56 am

Is there a quote somewhere that that says something like using tremolo can turn a $20K classical guitar into a $200 mandolin?

Briant
Posts: 134
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:23 pm
Location: East Sussex Uk

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Briant » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:15 am

Another question that i have been pondering is whether the study of tremolo helps with other aspects of play.
A tremolo can be called an arpeggio on one string. The RH position is important as is the nail shape if you play with nails. A good sense of legato is also required.
It would be interesting to hear views on this from experienced teachers.

User avatar
Adrian Allan
Posts: 914
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:56 am

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Adrian Allan » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:17 am

It is a sort of guitar trick that the public likes to hear, and so do many guitarists.

It would be possible to have a full professional career and avoid the technique entirely, but I bet that all professional players have at least practised the technique.

I was having lessons from a pro who avoided performing tremolo until well into his 30s because he was not yet happy with the evenness of it.

There are quite a lot of nasty comments on Youtube about guitar players who have less than perfect tremolos, so I can see his point. I think that somebody compares the tremolo of the popular guitar player Milos to a galloping horse.
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

User avatar
Stephen Kenyon
Teacher
Posts: 1827
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:26 am
Location: Dorchester, Dorset, England

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:21 am

Briant wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:15 am
Another question that i have been pondering is whether the study of tremolo helps with other aspects of play.
A tremolo can be called an arpeggio on one string. The RH position is important as is the nail shape if you play with nails. A good sense of legato is also required.
It would be interesting to hear views on this from experienced teachers.
In my experience, most, probably all serious, high-end players/teachers would say even if one never intended to actually play a tremolo piece, a good tremolo technique is worth having because of the control in engenders. And few such would ever consider a player 'complete' unless they are able to choose to play Recuerdos or any of the various others.
Of course, among the guitar community tremolo pieces can be a divisive thing, but they are extremely popular with the general musical public.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

User avatar
Adrian Allan
Posts: 914
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:56 am

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Adrian Allan » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:32 am

I remember John Duarte's dismissive hatred of the tremolo. Yes. he could be a little opinionated.
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

Johnny Geudel
Posts: 95
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:23 pm
Location: Antwerp-Belgium

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Johnny Geudel » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:39 pm

Philip Hii
Blog archive april 15 2011
" A lesson with John Duarte"

User avatar
David_Norton
Posts: 3899
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:12 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by David_Norton » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:47 pm

Adrian Allan wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:17 am


There are quite a lot of nasty comments on Youtube about guitar players who have less than perfect tremolos...
"There are quite a lot of nasty comments on Youtube" really covers it, the rest of the sentence is redundancy! :)
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT

guit-box
Posts: 1036
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:57 am

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by guit-box » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:05 pm

Briant wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:15 am
Another question that i have been pondering is whether the study of tremolo helps with other aspects of play.
A tremolo can be called an arpeggio on one string. The RH position is important as is the nail shape if you play with nails. A good sense of legato is also required.
It would be interesting to hear views on this from experienced teachers.
Yes, I think it does help. There are good players who can not do tremolo, and I suspect the reason for this is that they've learned to play from a large-knuckle-centric teacher and followed that advice religiously. Many people who were able to do tremolo naturally (even if it needed refinement) did so by do more of a bicycling movement with the fingers where the middle joint plays a larger role than the main knuckle. Other players get this bad advice and still manage to play tremolo because they unknowingly ignore it and listen to their own bodies and let the fingers decide the movement that works. A good tremolo with be clear and articulate and a large component of the strokes will be with the fingers pulling away from the guitar (perpendicular to the soundboard)
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

User avatar
Stephen Kenyon
Teacher
Posts: 1827
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:26 am
Location: Dorchester, Dorset, England

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:05 pm

Johnny Geudel wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:39 pm
Philip Hii
Blog archive april 15 2011
" A lesson with John Duarte"
Yes that's unfortunately not an unusual experience. The weird thing is that some people seem to have had perfectly good experiences and I'm not at all sure if in the end it was because with his contacts he was able to help their careers, or whether with some people he was willing to actually work on their playing, though not with others. I never bothered to ask for a lesson, though he did talk endlessly at me various times, partly because coincidentally I lived a few minutes cycle ride away and visited a few times.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

User avatar
Adrian Allan
Posts: 914
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:56 am

Re: The Importance of Tremolo?

Post by Adrian Allan » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:29 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:05 pm
Johnny Geudel wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:39 pm
Philip Hii
Blog archive april 15 2011
" A lesson with John Duarte"
Yes that's unfortunately not an unusual experience. The weird thing is that some people seem to have had perfectly good experiences and I'm not at all sure if in the end it was because with his contacts he was able to help their careers, or whether with some people he was willing to actually work on their playing, though not with others. I never bothered to ask for a lesson, though he did talk endlessly at me various times, partly because coincidentally I lived a few minutes cycle ride away and visited a few times.
Although I don't want to hijack the thread, he was a bit of an enigma.

In the class the David Starobin and Jack ran that both myself and Stephen attended in 1996, he did spend most of the time indulging in ridiculously long-winded anecdotes. He repeated the same long tale about Aliro Diaz on two consecutive days, and we all, including David Starobin, had to pretend to laugh at the punch-line the second time around. A year later, he had fallen out with most of the staff at Bath Guitar Festival (and apparently it reached court) and he started his own guitar festival in Scotland called Oatridge. I last saw him at a concert in London, and then a few years later he had died of cancer. There is nobody else in the guitar world who elicits such strong reactions, either for complete respect, or the opinion that he was a self taught opinionated old fool. I haven't even made my mind up.
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

Return to “Classical Guitar technique”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bergmann, CommonCrawl [Bot], guitareleven, JohnH, robin loops and 12 guests