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Jimmy
03-22-2008, 07:33 AM
Sorry if this has been asked before, but how exactly do you do tremalo on the ukulele? I can't do it with my fingers, or at least I don't think I can.

In this video (http://youtube.com/watch?v=0_RyzgD2_TE) there's some impressive finger picking going on. I'd just like to know how you're supposed to do it. I can only do it (badly) with a guitar pick, and my friend says he uses his thumb-pick anyway, so he couldn't help me.

I'd just like to increase my "mad skillzors".

EDIT: I'm not sure if it's tremalo or trebalo. Excuse me ignorance. I'm not up on my theory.

ChiyoDad
03-23-2008, 07:09 AM
It's called tremolo. :)

First, are you talking about tremolo or arpegio?

Tremolo on the classical guitar is demonstrated and explained midway in this video featuring John Williams (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3qFwlwdzVA) (the classical guitarist from Australia, not the composer from America ;)). Notice how there is a constant drone from a rapid play on the high-E string.

Sal Bonavita shows how to do the 3-finger tremolo in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v06zL7jNjK8). This is the classical tremolo: p-a-m-i (pulgar-anular-medio-indice/thumb-ring-middle-index).

He also shows a video on how to do the 4-finger tremolo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqJSR8iN2fg). This is the flamenco tremolo: p-i-a-m-i.

It can take a long time to develop the muscle memory for a good smooth tremolo. The average time is 1-2 years.

The arpegio (or arpeggio) is easier. You can view this sample video from Gerhard Graf-Martinez's DVD on flamenco arpeggios (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSNhVtzaqkY). Note that the ring-middle-index fingers are playing on different strings; albeit in rapid succession. Practicing scales is a good way to develop your arpeggio as shown in this video from flamenco artist Grisha Goryachev (http://youtube.com/watch?v=6hBg2hJjEec) (and no, the video is not speeded up, Grisha has practiced since he was a kid).

NukeDOC
03-23-2008, 07:27 AM
awesome links chiyodad! im going to be using these techniques to add some life to my improved solos.

ChiyoDad
03-23-2008, 07:38 AM
Glad they're helpful. :)

Folks need to understand that the tremolo technique is intended to create the illusion of a sustained note. Unlike a violin or a flute, a guitar or ukulele produces a note that has limited sustain ... it decays ... and even faster on the ukulele. Playing a tremolo, smoothly and evenly, is our unique method for creating a long "note". Tremolo can be applied to songs like the carol "Silent Night".

The arpeggio is, of course, the alternative method for articulating a chord. Most ukulele players just strum their chords. Playing a chords with its individual notes in succession (p-i-m-a or p-a-m-i or even a-m-i-p) works even better with the ukulele because ...

... we have only four strings! :D

http://www.melbay.org/covers2/21050BCD.jpg
The best book for learning some of this stuff is braddah Mark's "Learn to Play Fingerstyle Solos for Ukulele (http://www.amazon.com/Learn-Play-Fingerstyle-Solos-Ukulele/dp/0786673427)".

experimentjon
03-23-2008, 11:01 AM
It's called tremolo. :)
It can take a long time to develop the muscle memory for a good smooth tremolo. The average time is 1-2 years.


Well, that's comforting, because my fingers are still stumbling around with the tremolo. I can only do it REALLY slowly. But I guess I just need more practice. :cool:

davoomac
03-23-2008, 12:55 PM
Thanks for the links chiyo dad. :D I didn't even know they had a 4 finger tremelo.

ChiyoDad
03-23-2008, 02:59 PM
Well, that's comforting, because my fingers are still stumbling around with the tremolo. I can only do it REALLY slowly. But I guess I just need more practice. :cool:

BTW, that's supposedly 1-2 years doing daily tremolo exercises. :p

Which is why I decided to start early. :D

The conventional training wisdom is to always do your tremolos slowly and in a staccato fashion (as soon as one finger pulls-off the next one plants on the string and mutes it). Doing it slowly in staccato will simulate the conditions of doing a fast tremolo (because in a fast tremolo your fingers are actually hitting the strings rapidly with only micro-second intervals). As you get comfortable, you intersperse "speed bursts" in your slow tremolo (ex: 5x doing a p-a-m-i slow, 1x doing a p-a-m-i fast). As you slowly get better, you increase the number of speed bursts in succession. Ultimately, the tremolo becomes one continuous speed burst.

All fingers should play at the same pace. Practice first on one string and listen carefully to make sure that the volume, tone, and note spacing are even. You should be able to maintain the same clarity and volume as you speed up. If your tremolo loses volume as you speed up (particularly with the i/m/a fingers), you should slow down again.

It's a long process. Be patient.

I should note that there are some amateur classical guitarists who have chosen not to develop their tremolo because they find it too difficult. Professional classical guitarists and flamenco guitarists are often expected to develop their tremolo as it is employed extensively in their core repertoire.

ChiyoDad
03-23-2008, 03:28 PM
BTW, for inspiration, here's another video of John Williams (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StxpWgfhjIg). Here, he plays a wonderful piece by Agustin Barrios Mangore (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agust%C3%ADn_Barrios).
:)