Group 2

Improve your tremolo!

Tremolo is one of the defining techniques for classical guitar! Although not used very often in the repertoire, some of the most iconic pieces employ it to create a beautiful singing melody above an accompaniment pattern.

Fellow Participants in Group 2:

Ken Grier

Marilyn Blodget

don

Derek

Daniel Beltrán

Steven Liu

Annika

Steve Pederson

Khiem Nguyen

Barney

 

Some tonebase productions to get you started

How to get the most out of this course

  • Start by watching the introduction video and practice the exercises given in the video.
  • Write a post with your experiences with tremolo.
  • At the same time, start practicing the first eight bars of "Recuerdos de la Alhambra". If you are new to the piece, begin with a chord reduction as presented in Scott's workbook on Recuerdos.
  • Share two videos per week and help your course partners through feedback on their submissions!

Zoom Check-In: Friday, May 20th at 8 pm CET (11 am PT)

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82744334151
 

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    • Barney
    • Barney
    • 1 yr ago
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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
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      Barney Well, it always depends on how much time you decide to invest to improve your tremolo. I think Rafa mentioned he was dedicating the majority of his practice sessions on tremolo for 6 months when he was 16 years old (where he probably practiced at least 2h ).

      I am still not very happy with my tremolo (but thank you ❤) as my goal is this David-Russelesque evenness, but you know, one day hopefully I'll get there. I'm not in a rush and I trust the process that with relaxation and independence and time everything is possible!

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    • Barney
    • Barney
    • 1 yr ago
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  • Martin Here are my videos.  Sorry for only including the first 4 bars of the piece in my exercises as I just started getting in touch with this technique.  I did make effort but found that the improvements are not seen clearly.  I have some questions:

    1. As you can see in the video, the music sounds "disconnected" when there is a change of chord.  Any way to help solve this? 

    2. Following from the above, do you recommend practising right hand (tremolo) ALONE or practising BOTH hands (tremolo + change of chord) together ?  At present, i mainly practice right hand for tremolo (alone).  I aim to practice both hands only after my right hand (alone) can rise to a speed of say 140 beats per minute. 

    3. Last but not least, do you have any suggestion on the overview/map of the practice rountine in the long-run? At present, I spent about 10-15 minutes per day (whilst learning other pieces at the same time) to (1) practise tremolo using planting (staccato) and then (2) constantly rise the speed using free stroke to about 110-120 beats now - but I do feel quite instable and inconsistent at times. 

     

    Many thanks for taking the time to read ! 

    Like 1
      • Barney
      • Barney
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Steven Liu  Nice start to this challenge Steven!  I have the same question about doing right hand alone, as the left hand of Recuerdos requires too much attention, which distracts from concentrating on the slow practice of right hand relaxation.

      When doing the speeds 90and higher, I hear you losing some of the right hand notes. so try to listen carefully to the sound and make sure the last note of each group is heard.

      Great dedicated effort to this difficult challenge Steven, as it is hard for me and many others to change some habits.

      Like 1
      • don
      • don.2
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Barney Steven Liu I am using this that someone posted on the main thread. Kinda like a cheat sheet with all the fingerings. Hope this helps. 

      https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/media.forumbee.com/i/d5e0723a-7553-4581-90c8-025d0a59ea45/547.png

      Like 1
      • Barney
      • Barney
      • 1 yr ago
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      don Thanks Don!  This should be helpful, especially playing it very slow, while concentrating on right hand. 

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
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      Steven Liu Fantastic submission, Steven! I am standing with Barney , slow down, trust the process, although it can be painfully boring! But really start to feel your hand and enjoy that full sound that slow speeds give you. This will be the perfect starting point for future development! More in the video!

      Like 1
    • Derek
    • Derek
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Here's an upload of assignments 1 to 4 (I should have taken more notice of Martin's video above before I recorded them - (I didn't actually notice it from my tablet - only when I logged on to my PC to upload the videos). I need to relax more after each stroke. Having played this piece on and off for a number of years I found it hard to remember the actual notes when playing it slowly so there are a number of places where I 'ad lib'. I'll keep working on these and try to play them a lot slower.

    Like 2
      • Barney
      • Barney
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Derek Great first attempt!  Like most of us, including me, it is difficult at first to slow down and get the relaxation between each stroke.  I would also suggest in the first two exercises to make sure you are playing legato (no Staccato in those.)  Otherwise, your strokes are nice and even with good tone.  You are on the right track!

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
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      Derek Hi Derek, thank you for submitting this! As Barney says, it is hard to slow down and get the relaxation right! I've compiled some additional exercises for you in the video!

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      • Derek
      • Derek
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin Thank you very much Martin. I've had a couple of lessons recently as I knew I had lapsed into some bad habits and my teacher (he studied with Craig Ogden) suggested that my hand was too low. Since then I have been diligently trying to hold it in a higher position as you have just advised but I think (maybe after not playing for a week or so) I have started to lapse again. Funnily on the workshop with David Leisner he told me my hand was too high! 

       

      I must admit I didn't watch your video before recording my video (big mistake!) so I just went at what I thought was a slow pace. I have watched your video now and I also did the Stephanie Jones course a while back and also watched the Scott Tennant video - think I may buy his version of the score!

       

      Got another lesson tomorrow but it's about a 2 hour trip to get there and then 2 to get back so won't have chance to post a further update until Saturday.

       

      Thanks for your great - and welcome - advice.

       

      Derek

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      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin I found this video helpful as well. It has never occurred to me, but I like the idea of the exercises being meditative! 

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      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Derek good job on your first submission Derek. I watched Martin's video reply to you, so I don't want to burden you with too much more, but I do want to mention that in videos 1 and 3 it looks like your thumb stroke ends up landing on your i finger. You may want to try adjusting your hand position so that your thumb is more "out in front" of your fingers. Cheers! 

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      • Derek
      • Derek
      • 1 yr ago
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      Steve Pederson Thanks Steve

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      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
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      Steve Pederson wonderful! The point of all of these exercises is being relaxed whatever you do on the guitar!

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    • Steve Pederson
    • The Journey is My Destination!
    • Steve_Pederson
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Got a question...

    Obviously, the m finger is longer than the others. The problem that's causing for me is that I feel like I have to exert some energy to keep that finger out of the way when the others are playing. 

    Also, if I tilt my hand so that my index finger is higher than the others (farther away from the string), it helps to keep the m finger out of the way when playing the a finger. However, the problem then is that I really have a longer way to go to extend and play the i finger. 

    If I tilt the hand so that the i finger is closer to the strings, then I find - as the m finger tends to want to do what the a finger is doing - that the m finger is "clipping" the string as the a finger plays. You can hear that once or twice in the video below. 

    I am just playing the pattern, as I am holding the camera with my left hand. 🤨

    And, yes, those are my pajamas! 😂

    Like 1
      • don
      • don.2
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Pederson I have the same issue and it is really weird that it only happens when you slow down. But when you speed up, you never notices it. I'm curious what other thinks. Nice PJs! I once forgot to put on pants when trying to video myself practicing haha. 

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
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      Steve Pederson Hi Steve! You're raising a super interesting question about the length of the fingers. In general, we want our fingers to move in the most natural way possible (which is closing the hand). More on that in the video!

      Like 1
      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin Thanks so much Martin. That's crazy that some folks have similar length fingers! Glad I'm not the only mortal in the house. 😄 This is helpful to hear you talk through it - especially reiterating the part about the natural way the entire hand closes and opens. I will try that "moment of touch" you suggest, yet try not to make it staccato. Touch, play, relax. 

      One thing that occurred to me is, since the middle finger is a bit longer, it may have a tiny bit heavier sound, which can actually work to our benefit. In programming drums, the down beat (kick drum) is always the most pronounced, the second beat (high hat), which in this case would be represented by the a finger, is much lighter, the third beat a bit heavier (snare drum) - but not as pronounced as the first - and then the fourth beat lighter. It gives the drum track a more realistic human feel. Obviously you wouldn't want to make the m finger much louder than the rest, but a very subtle yet slightly heavier emphasis could give it a more interesting rather than mechanical flow. 

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    • martinTeam
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    • martin.3
    • 1 yr ago
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    I'm enjoying this so far, what abut you? 🦜

    Like 5
    • don
    • don.2
    • 1 yr ago
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    Here's my second update for the week 1. 

    It is really a big challenge to relax after playing it tensed for so long even when I slow down. After being pointed out about my A finger not being independent enough, and relooking at the video, it is a big issue. Think need a lot of slow and intentional releasing tension type practices. 

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwfSdDqd4pw

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVvnohtUVoU

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iERZXRksoI

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iERZXRksoI

    Like 1
      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
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      don Hey Don, you are going in the right direction. Your hand looks much freer now, and your tremolo will see beautiful benefits!  Make sure not to rush anything now, allow your hand to feel the relaxation, and trust the process!

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      • don
      • don.2
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin Thanks! I do start to feel it when I play it slow. This is such an interesting exercise for me as I always felt tension especially at the joint between the A finger and pinky. Think will benefit me overall not just tremolo.  Anyway my target is always to learn a tremolo piece end of the year so Im going to take it as slow as I can. 

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      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 1 yr ago
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      don This is coming along great Don! From this perspective it looks like your fingers are taking rather large leaps, though - almost exaggerated leaps sort of flaring out - instead of smaller more "efficient" strokes. What really impresses me about this, though, is that you don't seem to miss a note of your tremolo. It's very even and beautiful sounding.

      Like 1
      • don
      • don.2
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Steve Pederson yes I did intentionally exaggerate the movement, I was experimenting with the idea of over-compensating my movement,  hoping over time, it will naturally relax more easily. 

       

      I also did the exercise 5 from Stephanie Jone's 8 step to tremolo course on tonebase. And I'll also just play open b string with AMI variating between E to D and accentuate a finger one cycle, m finger one cycle, and i finger one cycle with the thumb playing as softly as possible. Using a metronome, quarter beat first, then 8th then 16th. Think that really helps with the consistent and even tone. 

       

      All in all, I've been spending maybe 10-15 mins daily doing this for about a month which is surprisingly very little provided you don;t fall asleep doing them 😄

      Like
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