Guitar Tremolo Exercise: Use Accents for Smoother Tremolo
Classical guitar tremolo is a beautiful and lyrical technique. It can offer contrast and variety to any set of music. And it makes us look like virtuosos!
But tremolo can be tricky. The rhythm can lilt and gallop. The volume of the notes can be uneven. We can hit the wrong string. And the list goes on.
Here’s an exercise we can use to smooth out our tremolo, and play more flowing, accurate and precise tremolo.
Classical Guitar Tremolo Technique
Taking a step back, it helps to practice tremolo with a specific technique in mind, such as the one in the video below. When we carefully consider our PAMI movements, we’re more likely to avoid injury. And we’re also more likely achieve our desired tone quality.
Tremolo Accent Exercises
We can use accents to gain control and consistency in our tremolo. In this exercise, we accent each note of the pattern in turn.
The key to effective accents is to both play the accented note louder, and also play the unaccented notes quieter. This creates more contrast between accented and unaccented notes.
TIP: The note just after the accented note is the “Danger Note”. The tension from playing the accent will want to carry over to the next note. By keeping the pace slow, we can continue to hear each note. This will allow us to create a large contrast in volume between the accent and the note just after.
Practice Tremolo in Short Bursts
As a general rule, it’s safest to practice tremolo in short bursts, instead of for long durations. Keeping practices short will encourage us to keep focused and aware. It will also reduce the chance of repetitive stress injuries.
Guitar tremolo is a long-term project. This is a technique we practice on an ongoing basis for years. So slow practice and short-duration practice are effective strategies to develop a smooth, consistent and beautiful tremolo.
Hi, I’m Allen Mathews.
I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
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