What was your first tremolo piece?

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Scott Phillips
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What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by Scott Phillips » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:01 am

I am wondering if I should learn Recuerdos de la Alhambra. I've never learned a proper tremolo piece before, but I can do it. I sat four feet away from Sharon Isbin today and watched her right hand. I saw the pattern and I understood it. I've played guitar since 1984. I used to play Malmsteen's suff on the electric and thus the left hand of Recuerdos is of no concern.

I've been playing classical for two years and I have never got around to doing a proper tremolo piece. When I saw Isbin do it today, I thought "I can do that"! i already can do the right hand, but am wondering what grade level Recuerdos is? And I am amazed that it was so simple.

I kind of like the "guitar gargling" sound, but I've only ever done tremolo as a joke( I used to do the solo from Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit on the classical because it sounded like the Weird Al version. Is this a good piece to start with? What was your first tremolo piece.

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Re: What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by Rick Hutt » Tue Feb 14, 2017 4:26 pm

"Recuerdos" was my first tremolo piece. My teacher assigned it after about three years of study. Started very slowly, worked up to concert speed in about three months. "Pumping Nylon" has a good tremolo exercise which is useful for variety sake.
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Re: What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by Julian Ward » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:51 pm

As to what grade it is, although I think a grade 6 player could 'play through it' as the stretches and shapes are not that hard, as with most of these concert pieces really you need to be a grade 8 plus player to do it justice. A lot of people learn this piece and many others way too early on and just get frustrated.

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Re: What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by guitarrista » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:37 pm

Many people find when starting with tremolo that it is easier to do the tremolo on the first (high e) string than on the second or third string. In that sense, if you've never tried tremolo and would like to try Recuerdo, perhaps start with the second section (in A major) which is mostly first-string tremolo. The first section is mostly second-string tremolo as as such is sometimes seen as a needlessly big jump into tremolo for a tremolo starter.

My first tremolos were Recuerdos on the classical tremolo side and the tremolo section of the taranta "Fuente y Caudal" by Paco de Lucia on the flamenco-sytle tremolo side.
Last edited by guitarrista on Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by Luis_Br » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:44 pm

Carcassi etude 7 was my first one, which I consider a "pre-tremolo".
Then Sueño by Jose Viñas for the real tremolo, which is a lot easier than recuerdos.
I think I've also played Ponce prelude 2 before trying Recuerdos, but I am not sure.


Re: What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by Salvador » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:23 am

Recuerdos was my first tremolo, but before i studied classical guitar, i already have experience in fingerpicking for many years. My teacher immediately teach me Recuerdos, i did not struggle much in getting a good tremolo. My 2nd tremolo piece was Sueno En La Floresta. My 3rd tremolo was Una Limosna. I like it very much that i urged my teacher to teach me Una Limosna.


Re: What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by Salvador » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:34 am

To answer the thread. If you don't struggle with your tremolo you can play Recuerdos. But it's good to have a teacher because looking at people performing is different from playing it yourself. To some people playing Recuerdos looks easy but they already spend many hours practicing it. As my comment above, before i studied Recuerdos i already have experience in fingerpicking (6 years). So i did not struggle much in developing my tremolo.

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Re: What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by davekear » Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:26 am

It is true that doing a tremolo on the high E string is much easier than on the other strings. Really just a matter of less space. So a good way to practice tremolo's is to concentrate mostly on just the right hand, and do something easy with your left hand. Play an A chord in the first position and practice your tremolo just on the C# (b string). Then once you're warmed up a bit, switch some easy chords around, still doing the tremolo on the b string. Like A to E to D. Whatever you like. The whole idea is to make the left hand easy so you can concentrate on your right hand. Just kind of a gradient approach...then when you got this down, see how much better Recuerdos sounds.

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Re: What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by Contreras » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:16 am

Carcassi Etude 7, then RDLA.

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Re: What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by Sharon Vizcaino » Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:13 am

Mine was Campanas del Alba. Though back when I played steel-string I learned an arrangement of Hotel California that had an intro with tremolo. Which, being a kid learning on my own from YouTube, I proceeded to do completely wrong. Sometimes I feel so bad for my poor teacher who has to force me to relearn all the techniques I mangled from YouTube haha.
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Re: What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by slidika » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:52 pm

A simple version of Malagueña, which only used a two-finger tremolo.
Whenever I am not ready for my music lesson, I call it 'facing the music'.

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Re: What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by Guero » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:15 pm

slidika wrote:A simple version of Malagueña, which only used a two-finger tremolo.
Mine too.

p i,p i,p i ...
p mi, p mi, p mi, ..
pm i, pm i, pm i, ...
pa mi, pa mi, pa mi,..
to p ami, p ami, p ami
(if you know what I mean..)

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Re: What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by Brooke Martin » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:10 pm

Carcassi's Study In A Minor, which is in "World's Favorite Solos for Classical Guitar" (along with Recuerdos). I've seen Carcassi's Study No. 2, Op. 60, adapted into a tremolo study, too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smAD5MuZEV8

"World's Favorite Solos" was edited by Harvey Vinson, an interesting character: viewtopic.php?t=84490

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Re: What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by Semitone » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:30 am

My first tremolo piece was also from Carcassi. Op. 60 Etude no. 7. I got it from Leavitt's book and learned it pick style before I learned it finger style.

BTW, there is an interesting, IMO, video with Pepe Romero giving a tremolo lesson on Youtube.

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Re: What was your first tremolo piece?

Post by MaritimeGuitarist » Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:46 pm

I 2nd Sueño by Jose Viñas. It's a great piece to start tremolo on. I believe Martha Masters recommends it in her book. I agree that the left hand may not be overly demanding in Recuerdos, but there are still some challenges that can divert attention from the right hand. Here in Canada Recuerdos is listed as a grade 9 piece in the Royal Conservatory Syllabus.

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