Tips for tremolo

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obviouslyfivebelievers
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Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:28 am

Tips for tremolo

Post by obviouslyfivebelievers » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:15 pm

so I am trying to tackle Recuerdos de la Alhambra right now and I can do a fast tremolo but it doesn't have the same beautiful sound as I hear it in recordings. I do it with two fingers if that changes anything, and I'd like some tips on how to do it well. Does it absolutely need to be 3 fingers to get that nice even sound?

thanks
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RobMacKillop
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Location: Edinburgh

Re: Tips for tremolo

Post by RobMacKillop » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:33 pm

Yes, it needs to be played with three, and others will give you advice on that - but make sure you hear their tremolo before you believe a word they say!

However, looking at this from a historical perspective, :contrat: there is a Spanish Guitar Method from Tárrega's time, by Rafael Marin, which describes tremolos being played with not just three notes after the thumb, but two or four as well. He gives a musical example which I made a video of. You can download the whole Method and see the video on my website: https://rmclassicalguitar.com/flamenco/

Now, despite that, I do prefer three notes rather than two, but it is beyond debate that some people in Tárrega's time played with two.

jlindley1990
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Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:26 pm

Re: Tips for tremolo

Post by jlindley1990 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:50 pm

While it might be easier to maintain a consistent sound using two fingers, you really need to learn to play with three unless you're content with playing the piece at half the speed at best. But more so, if you don't learn tremolo as it was intended then how will you effectively teach it? With that said it would be very beneficial if you also practice three-note tremolo with every two-finger combination, especially with m/a alternation as that can prove useful if you ever tackle pieces like Mertz's Pianto Dell'Amante where m/a tremolo is the only option.

Another tremolo method I would recommend taking a look at is Vladimir Bobri's Complete Study of Tremolo for the Classic Guitar. It's packed full of endless exercises that addresses every possible two, three and four+ finger combination for tremolo. It gets pretty intense as you progress through it so it's really important to not rush and make sure you've confidently mastered each current exercise before moving on to the next.

If you're not getting a good sound consistently, it could very well be a problem concerning your nail shape/length in conjunction to your right hand angle. Is your tone scratchy? That could very well mean you're just not spending enough time tending to your nails in the first place. Are you getting a lot of nail clicks? or thin tone? Maybe your nails are too long, or maybe not but you're i,m,a is too curved inward. I mean idk, it's hard to give advice without seeing your hands, and everyone's hands are different so what works for me may not fully work for you. Watch as many videos of guitarists as you can find with good tremolo (especially David Russell!) and study their RH.

Ceciltguitar
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Location: Virginia

Re: Tips for tremolo

Post by Ceciltguitar » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:16 am

There's more than one way to skin a rabbit.......and more than one way to successfully play tremolo. Some good suggestions above.

Douglas Niedt has a series of lessons on tremolo techniques.

My flamenco teacher taught me to play tremolo using rest strokes with the thumb.

Some players advocate planting whichever finger is used to first start the tremolo.

YMMV

Keep experimenting, find what works best for you.

Tonit
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Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Tips for tremolo

Post by Tonit » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:29 am

Ceciltguitar wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:16 am
Keep experimenting, find what works best for you.
Right. That will be a fun for a while.

Also I recommend you to get yourself recorded (on your phone or otherwise) to see how you sound on videos or recorded audios. It can surprise you how different you sound on the recordings from what you heared when you played it. This will also be a fun for a while.

theknowle
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Location: Staffordshire UK

Re: Tips for tremolo

Post by theknowle » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:01 pm

Someone once told me to accent, everso slightly, the first note of the three. The other two fingers are supposed to follow obediently....
I found it very much worth a try.

GuitarsWeB
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Re: Tips for tremolo

Post by GuitarsWeB » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:16 pm

theknowle wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:01 pm
Someone once told me to accent, everso slightly, the first note of the three. The other two fingers are supposed to follow obediently....
I found it very much worth a try.

Good advice! Grow the “a” fingernail a tad longer. Start at about 75 beats per minute and NO MORE. Speed will come on it’s own. The slowness will drive the THREE BEAT a m i (not a gallop) muscle memory into your brain. You will NEVER have a smooth tremolo it you try and learn it too fast. Play the “E” on the third string (9th fret) with your thumb and a m i on the open “E”. Make all four beats even. Again, do no get in a rush...muscle memory. As the other poster said, you can accent the “a” finger, BUT still keep all four beats even, best to learn with an exercise, not a song...that's to key. BTW, I like a free stroke. Try both, oneway or the other is not carved in stone, no matter what some professor tells you. Flamenco players seem to like the rest stroke, but some don’t.

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Mike Atkinson
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Re: Tips for tremolo

Post by Mike Atkinson » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:23 am

I'll repeat a tip I saw on youtube from someone much better than me.

Think of the first note of the three as the beat; like this AmipAmipAmip

<shrugg> I'm still trying to work this piece to my own enjoyment, myself.
2018 Cordoba Esteso Cedar

Tom Phillips
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Re: Tips for tremolo

Post by Tom Phillips » Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:25 am

The key to practicing tremolo for me is doing rounds of four different "sets," if you will, where each picking finger is emphasized. E.g. I do a chord progression in tremolo where I emphasize p, then I do the progression another time through and emphasize i, and so on. This helps to ensure that all your fingers are equally strong, thus minimizing an uneven sound.

Also, make sure to vary p's arpeggio pattern while doing exercises, and don't just play one string with ami.

Good luck!

GuitarsWeB
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Re: Tips for tremolo

Post by GuitarsWeB » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:41 am

Tom Phillips wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:25 am
The key to practicing tremolo for me is doing rounds of four different "sets," if you will, where each picking finger is emphasized. E.g. I do a chord progression in tremolo where I emphasize p, then I do the progression another time through and emphasize i, and so on. This helps to ensure that all your fingers are equally strong, thus minimizing an uneven sound.

Also, make sure to vary p's arpeggio pattern while doing exercises, and don't just play one string with ami.

Good luck!

I disagree...you’re putting the horse in front of the cart. Get the tremolo down pat into your brain before trying to work on chords, thumb accent, etc. You need to run before trying to jump ANY hurdles.

Tonit
Posts: 461
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Tips for tremolo

Post by Tonit » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:02 am

GuitarsWeB wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:41 am
Tom Phillips wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:25 am
where each picking finger is emphasized.
I disagree...you’re putting the horse in front of the cart.
Both are interesting to me lol.

BTW I happened to remember: I as a 10 yo kid was practicing tremolo (quasi standard PAMI simile one) with a scale in C maj played by P and static top E tremolo with the rest. Then I ended up playing all PAMI playing top E.
Out of this I found that I could focus more on the even-ness of the four plucking fingers, than to have P moving up/down the Cmaj scale notes.

It is of help for you too: Play one string (top E to begin with) with all PAMI in order to focus only on the "even-ness" that you desire. Once you get it done, then probably you can start practicing moving around the P finger across notes to shift focus from even-ness to something else.

It would also be advisable to do the one string PAMI on the 2nd string only, and then 3rd (and likewise on all the strings ideally but I would say at least on the nylons).

You could also possibly see there are many other things involved for your desired results, like nail shapes of each finger, kind of strings, your posture and so on and so forth.

Good luck.

bodhisattva
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Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:32 pm

Re: Tips for tremolo

Post by bodhisattva » Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:38 pm

obviouslyfivebelievers wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:15 pm
so I am trying to tackle Recuerdos de la Alhambra right now and I can do a fast tremolo but it doesn't have the same beautiful sound as I hear it in recordings. I do it with two fingers if that changes anything, and I'd like some tips on how to do it well. Does it absolutely need to be 3 fingers to get that nice even sound?
According to Ruggero Chiesa and Angelo Gilardino (who were Segovia's pupils), Segovia used the thumb and 2 fingers i-m for tremolo. Segovia's finger pattern for tremolo was p-i-m-i. According to Douglas Niedt, Ana Vidovic also uses the thumb and 2 fingers i-m for tremolo, but her finger pattern for tremolo is p-m-i-m.

Grasshopper
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Location: England, West Country

Re: Tips for tremolo

Post by Grasshopper » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:34 am

Thanks for that video. I have always found it very difficult to do three fingered tremolo. I switched over from playing two-fingered I-m scales to three fingered I-m-a to see if that would help. I can now play three fingered scales just as easily as two fingered scales but I still can't do three fingered tremolo. And, funnily enough, my three fingered scales are no faster than my two fingered scales. I'd never thought of trying p-I-m-I tremolo because I always like to "do it by the book", but if it's good enough for Ana Vidovic then it's certainly good enough for me.

I also notice that she rests her third finger on the first string sometimes, which I do too. I'd always regarded it as a bad habit which I've been trying to eliminate - but again, if she does it then it must be OK.

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