Tremolo

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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wannabe
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Tremolo

Post by wannabe » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:10 pm

I have been struggling to learn the classical guitar for two and a half years now as an older adult. I love it but am progressing at a snails pace! Recently I had two different instructors give me their opinion on the tremelo. One feels if you can't do it when you first attempt you will never get. The other feels that if you keep working at it, it will come. I hope that the second is correct because my tremelo is horrible. As I speed up it becomes more uneven. The only time I can get evenness is at a slow tempo.

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jpryan
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Re: Tremelo

Post by jpryan » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:27 pm

I'd recommend staying away from the first instructor. Keep working on it.
--John

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Kent
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Re: Tremelo

Post by Kent » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:54 pm

jpryan wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:27 pm
I'd recommend staying away from the first instructor. Keep working on it.
I agree, but don't spend more than 10 minutes on it any given day.

Lawler
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Re: Tremelo

Post by Lawler » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:24 pm

"Tremolo"

Not that spelling is important. Just saying.

davekear
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Re: Tremelo

Post by davekear » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:23 pm

Kent wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:54 pm
jpryan wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:27 pm
I'd recommend staying away from the first instructor. Keep working on it.
I agree, but don't spend more than 10 minutes on it any given day.
Either that or spend at least two hours a day on your tremolo. Actually, don't put the guitar down, practice it, and anything else you want all day long. You can muffle the strings and practice just the right hand while you watch TV, or talk on the phone. How do you think these guys like Pepe Romero, David Russell, etc. etc. got so good? That's right, they rarely put the guitar down. Practice your tremolo for at least 2 hours a day.

wannabe
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Re: Tremolo

Post by wannabe » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:54 pm

"Tremolo"

Not that spelling is important. Just saying

Ooops! Sorry about that!

wannabe
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Re: Tremelo

Post by wannabe » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:56 pm

davekear wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:23 pm
Kent wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:54 pm
jpryan wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:27 pm
I'd recommend staying away from the first instructor. Keep working on it.
I agree, but don't spend more than 10 minutes on it any given day.
Either that or spend at least two hours a day on your tremolo. Actually, don't put the guitar down, practice it, and anything else you want all day long. You can muffle the strings and practice just the right hand while you watch TV, or talk on the phone. How do you think these guys like Pepe Romero, David Russell, etc. etc. got so good? That's right, they rarely put the guitar down. Practice your tremolo for at least 2 hours a day.
Yikes my hand is already sore!! And I work for a living. I will keep working at it as what I am hearing is that it is "learnable" Pepe and all the rest ofthe really good guys have nothing to worry about from me:):) :D

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robin loops
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Re: Tremolo

Post by robin loops » Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:42 am

I agree that you should stay away grin the first teacher. Inn fact that is the worst advice any teacher could give anyone about the study of anything. If you could do anything at all the first time you tried it, there would be no reason at all to study that thing. It's even worse when considering we're talking about tremolo and that very good right hand technique not only is essential to tremolo but is actually the key too a good tremolo.

If tremolo is coming along slowly or poorly, stop working on it and work on other right hand studies. When you feel your right hand technique is better, give tremolo another shot.
Last edited by robin loops on Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:44 am, edited 3 times in total.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

Kevin Cowen
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Re: Tremolo

Post by Kevin Cowen » Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:43 am

I'm staggered that neither of your tutors didn't tell you that you shouldn't be going
anywhere near tremolo after only two and a half years.

davekear
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Re: Tremolo

Post by davekear » Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:54 am

I had a student who in about a year developed an amazingly good tremolo for that amount of time. Total beginner when he started out.
He was determined. Learn the basics, then learn a tremolo if you want.

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lucy
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Re: Tremolo

Post by lucy » Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:18 pm

The info in this thread might help. (But you don't have to stick things in your ears!!)

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=116373

If you scroll down to my post, you might find it interesting.

Of course there are exceptions, but most people need a pretty highly developed right hand, with excellent finger independence and good control over dynamics and articulation, before starting to attempt it. It's an incredibly difficult technique and quite a few concert performers don't manage it very well.

However, I can see it might be possible to achieve by people who have not played very long, with an awful lot of dedication, as Dave says.

It's also the case that some people can do it much easier than others. Probably something to do with their physiology and / or mental attitude.

But, since you've been struggling for so long, beautiful as the tremolo is, would it not be a better use of your time to develop your guitar playing in other areas, for the time being?
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. Theodore Roosevelt

Rasputin
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Re: Tremolo

Post by Rasputin » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:51 pm

I say keep at it, if you are keen on tremolo pieces. I think it is always going to be a very particular technique... OK, good basic RH technique is probably going to make it easier to acquire, but it's not as though you can just work on your general technique and expect to pick up tremolo into the bargain - so why wait?

There have been a few threads on this subject recently. My opinion is that you are not really practising tremolo unless you are going relatively fast - maybe not fast enough to get the full tremolo effect, but at least say 100bpm - so if you have been playing a lot slower than that, then having a quick go at a much faster tempo and finding it is not getting any more even, that fits. I think alternating between slow and fast does work, but if you go slow then try to speed up incrementally, I think you hit a wall. You have to spend some of your practice time on the tremolo side of the wall, even if you also do some slow practice to remind your fingers what it is like to play evenly. I suggest setting the metronome at 100 and alternating between playing on every click and playing on every other click, if only for 10 days or so to see if there is any improvement. If there is, you can ratchet up *that* process - but I think the slow/fast alternation is crucial.

MaritimeGuitarist
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Re: Tremolo

Post by MaritimeGuitarist » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:09 pm

I will throw my hat in with everyone else and suggest you stay away from that first instructor! That said, tremolo is generally considered an advanced technique. If you've only been playing for two and a half years, it is a somewhat unreasonable expectation to be able to execute it well. Though there may well be exceptions (as mentioned by others), many players will take many years before they develop an effective tremolo.

To put things into perspective, the Royal Conservatory here in Canada doesn't include much in the way of tremolo pieces until level 9. This is a fairly advanced level. I'm not saying you shouldn't practice it, just don't beat yourself up when it isn't going as well as you'd like.

davekear
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Re: Tremolo

Post by davekear » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:46 pm

MaritimeGuitarist wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:09 pm
I'm not saying you shouldn't practice it, just don't beat yourself up when it isn't going as well as you'd like.
That's right. Once you get the basic strokes down, (rest stroke; free stroke), then have at it. But it does take a while to develop the feel and muscle memory. A tremolo is basically a form of free stroke. Practice it slow at first. Play loud and strive for uniformity of tone and volume. Practice the right hand a lot. It's not a very stressful thing for the right hand, so you can practice this as much as you want. If you're on the phone, or watching TV or? You can block the strings with your left hand so as not to disturb anyone and practice just the right hand. They used to have a thing called the "prax Ax", which was basically 6 silent strings attached to a block of wood that you could "tune" like a guitar. Take it to work, in the car, etc. But at any rate.....
MAKE IT A COMPULSION! That's how you get good. And the complaint shouldn't be "Aw, do I have to practice"? The complaint should be, "Aw, do I have to stop practicing now"? When you wake up, pick up the guitar. When you go to sleep, put it down.

burtong
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Re: Tremolo

Post by burtong » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:48 pm

If you can play a tremolo well at a slow speed ... then you are almost already there.
Get out the metronome and start increasing the mm by a few and see how you adapt to that new tempo.
And for older students, I am one, it is hard work (but not painful!) to improve on technique. Keep at it. Give yourself time. Stay away from the person who gave you the first response ... someone who says you will never do it is not a teacher.

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