Classical Guitar Instruction with Douglas Niedt
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PLAY IT LIKE A PRO™

How to Master the
Classical Guitar Tremolo

This is the most complete guide available to mastering this essential technique.

For guitarists of intermediate level and above.

How to Master the Classical Guitar Tremolo cover

Learn to play the classical guitar tremolo like a pro.

Includes:

  • Over 100 pages of text and musical examples.
  • 35 videos shot close-up in high definition.
  • Part 1—LAYING THE FOUNDATION
    Hand position, small finger movements, planting techniques, thumb/finger independence, "ma" independence, diagnostics, and much more.
  • Part 2—HOW TO PRACTICE
    Slow-fast practice, using a metronome, accenting fingers, fixing uneven or lopsided tremolos, speed, switching strings.
  • Part 3—INCORPORATING THE LEFT HAND
    Shifting, eliminating string squeaks and glissandi, three ways to change from one left-hand finger to another.
  • Part 4—TREMOLO PATTERNS YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED
    "pimi" and "pmim" patterns, 3-note and 5-note (flamenco) patterns, double-string tremolos, chordal tremolo.

You must have Adobe Reader 10 or later installed on your computer to access the PDFs with embedded video.

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Douglas Niedt Gives You His No-Risk, Nothing-to-Lose, Money-Back Guarantee
"These are the best video/internet lessons with the finest hi-tech production on the planet. But, if you are not satisfied with this course, I will refund your money. Just tell me why you didn't like it so I can make it better for others."

This is a digital download.
After you order, within 24 hours you will be sent an email with a link to your personal webpage. The music files can be downloaded from your webpage. The videos can be viewed on your webpage and/or you may download them to your computers and devices. All files and videos will always be available on your personal webpage.

Only $12.95 No shipping/handling charges
Credit Card or PayPal.

Even though no physical product will be shipped, you will be asked for and must fill in your shipping address. Your email address is automatically captured when you order.


Special note to Technique Tip Subscribers:
Do not buy this. You already have access to all this material through the Subscribers Portal.

You will receive four PDFs with 35 embedded videos.

Here is a sample of the opening pages. In all, there are over 100 pages of text, 73 musical examples, and 35 high-def videos.



HOW TO MASTER THE TREMOLO Part 1

Laying the Foundation

By Douglas Niedt
Copyright Douglas Niedt. All Rights Reserved.

One of the great mysteries of life for guitarists is how to develop a good tremolo. Many guitarists work at their tremolo for years and still can't play it evenly. A guitarist should be able to develop an excellent tremolo in six months to one year if they practice at it for thirty to sixty minutes every day. Here are some tips to help you learn to play a good tremolo once and for all. What's a good tremolo? I think a good tremolo technique encompasses these elements:

  • 1. It's rhythmically precise. Four even 16th, 32nd, or 64th notes.
  • 2. The volume difference between the thumb and fingers can be controlled at will. Usually the fingers will be loudest because they usually play the melody.
  • 3. It can be played at a variety of speeds.
  • 4. It can be played at a variety of degrees of loudness and softness.

THE TRADITIONAL "pami" CLASSICAL GUITAR TREMOLO IS DEAD.
MAY IT REST IN PEACE!

Well, it's not exactly dead, but using a different tremolo pattern may be the answer to all your troubles:

Eliminate the "a" finger and use "pimi" or "pmim" as your tremolo pattern.

Usually, the "a" finger is the source of most problems when trying to play an even tremolo. In order to play the traditional "pami" tremolo pattern evenly, one must have exceptional independence between the "m" and "a" fingers. The "m" and "a" fingers do not have the natural independence between them that "i" and "m" have, or "i" and "a". Independence between "m" and "a" must be developed independently of working on the tremolo and usually takes many months to achieve. I will talk about that later.

By eliminating the "a" finger from the tremolo pattern, you are now using the strongest fingers on the right hand that already have very good independence between them from the get go.

I spoke with the outstanding guitarist, Ana Vidovic about her tremolo. She uses "pmim". I asked her how she came to use that pattern. She told me that early in her studies she couldn't get the traditional "pami" pattern to work for her. No one told her to try "pmim". She just did it, it worked, and she has used it ever since. I told Ana that I used "pimi". She thought that was odd. So I asked her, "If you had to choose, which of your fingers is strongest, "i" or "m"?" At first, she didn't want to admit that either one was stronger. After all, it's kind of a badge of technical mastery to say that all of one's fingers are equally strong and independent. But reluctantly, she finally admitted that "m" was stronger. I said, "Yes, that's why I use 'pimi'. The third note of the pattern should have a slight accent since metrically, the thumb is the downbeat and the third note is the upbeat in the 4-note group (I will explain this in detail later). Therefore, my pattern makes more sense since it puts the stronger "m" finger on that slightly accented third note." She understood my point but thought her pattern felt more natural to play. It was a fun discussion and we both agreed to try each other's pattern.

But, the point is that a "pimi" or "pmim" tremolo pattern, omitting the "a" finger, will inherently be more even and controllable than the traditional "pami" pattern. The downside of the "pimi" or "pmim" pattern is that some players may have difficulty playing them at fast speeds or may have problems with finger fatigue since one finger must be used twice in each cycle of the pattern.

I will speak more about mastering this pattern later in the article. First, let's have a look at the traditional "pami" pattern.

THE PREREQUISITES TO MASTER ANY TREMOLO PATTERN

HAND POSITION

It is important that "ami" be in a perfect line in front of the string they are playing. To do this, some teachers recommend that the wrist be turned to the right. They further recommend that in order to do this, the player elevate the neck about ten degrees to help the wrist attain better flexibility and comfort. However, placing the wrist in this position tends to make the fingers strike the strings straight on to the fingernails producing a brighter and thinner tone. I personally don't recommend this method. However, as I will say over and over about tremolo techniques, try it out and see what you think. What doesn't work for others may work very well for you. You never know until you try it.

I prefer to find a hand position for a student that produces not only mechanical efficiency, but produces a beautiful tone. I want to hear "Recuerdos" played with a tone that is full and rich, not bright and thin.

Also be sure your fingers are not splayed apart. Splayed fingers are usually an indicator of dysfunctional tension. For most people, the fingers should hang together with minimal separation at the fingertips between "a", "m", and "i". Monitor this at slow and fast speeds. Some players do fine at slow speeds, but as they play faster the fingers tense and begin to splay apart.

Watch this video on hand position. If you don't see a video, refresh your browser.



FINGERNAIL NOISE

As in normal playing, fingernail noise should be minimal when playing the tremolo. Standard flesh/nail contact on the left side of the fingernails must be preserved. Because of the speed of tremolo execution, the fingers can err and miss that sweet spot, producing clicks or nail noises. The following discussion of finger and thumb movements should help increase your accuracy of fingernail and thumb contact with the strings and minimize extraneous noise. Not only that, greater awareness of and accuracy in hitting that sweet spot will also help maintain the same tone quality from note to note, producing a more even-sounding tremolo. When we practice tremolo exercises, we understandably tend to focus on rhythmic evenness and speed. But be sure to listen for extraneous fingernail and thumbnail noises and tone quality evenness as well.



This is only a short sample. More than 100 pages of detailed text, hi-def videos, and 73 musical examples follow.

Buy now—one of the best classical guitar lessons you will ever have.

It's complete and comprehensive.

Includes:

  • Over 100 pages of text and musical examples.
  • 35 videos shot close-up in high definition.
  • Part 1—LAYING THE FOUNDATION
    Hand position, small finger movements, planting techniques, thumb/finger independence, "ma" independence, diagnostics, and much more.
  • Part 2—HOW TO PRACTICE
    Slow-fast practice, using a metronome, accenting fingers, fixing uneven or lopsided tremolos, speed, switching strings.
  • Part 3—INCORPORATING THE LEFT HAND
    Shifting, eliminating string squeaks and glissandi, three ways to change from one left-hand finger to another.
  • Part 4—TREMOLO PATTERNS YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED
    "pimi" and "pmim" patterns, 3-note and 5-note (flamenco) patterns, double-string tremolos, chordal tremolo.

You must have Adobe Reader 10 or later installed on your computer to access the PDFs with embedded video.

guarantee icon

Douglas Niedt Gives You His No-Risk, Nothing-to-Lose, Money-Back Guarantee
"These are the best video/internet lessons with the finest hi-tech production on the planet. But, if you are not satisfied with this course, I will refund your money. Just tell me why you didn't like it so I can make it better for others."

This is a digital download.
After you order, within 24 hours you will be sent an email with a link to your personal webpage. The music files can be downloaded from your webpage. The videos can be viewed on your webpage and/or you may download them to your computers and devices. All files and videos will always be available on your personal webpage.

Only $12.95 No shipping/handling charges
Credit Card or PayPal.

Even though no physical product will be shipped, you will be asked for and must fill in your shipping address. Your email address is automatically captured when you order.


Special note to Technique Tip Subscribers:
Do not buy this. You already have access to all this material through the Subscribers Portal.

How to Master the Classical Guitar Tremolo cover