View Full Version : Ohta-San Tremolo

08-31-2011, 04:52 AM
Does anybody know how Ohta-San does his Tremolo? In his book "Ukulele o Hawaii" he writes it should be done with the index finger. But if I listen to his album Hawaiian Time Ukulele Solo I doubt that he only uses the index finger. He can smoothly switch between tremolo on one string, 2 alternating strings, 1 string alternated with a chord, and fast strummed chords.

Could it be that he plays alternating thumb and index?

09-27-2011, 11:15 PM
I've found out how he does the 1-string tremolo. You can see it in this video at 3.29:
You need to support the ukulele with the pinkie of your left hand. Then you put your left thumb under the index finger to make it stronger. Pick the string with the index finger nail up and down. The wrist stays stiff, the movement comes from the forearm. The left pinkie is the pivot.

Note that in the video the left index is over the fretboard. I've also found it easier doing it over the fretboard. This gives a little extra guidance compared to over the soundhole.

Also note that Ohta-San fills in some strums with the thumb-supported index.

Finally a tremolo I can do! Jake showed me his technique after a concert last year. He uses the thumb nail. As a pivot he puts his middle finger on the soundboard. I never really managed this technique. But the Ohta-San style works fine for me :)

09-28-2011, 04:48 AM
I can't find any video examples of this, but early on Eddie Kamae used a lot of tremelo. It really was a hallmark of his style. Check out "Heart of the Ukulele." You'll see what I mean. As to how he does it ...?...I guess it takes a lot of practice.

09-28-2011, 06:43 AM
What a weird album. Ukulele + base drum :) Eddie uses a chord tremolo. I guess it's done with the index. And he uses the same 2 string tremolo as Ohta-San. I still don't know how it's done. My guess is with the thumb and index on the 2 outside strings of a high G ukulele.

09-28-2011, 08:11 AM
I imagine you're correct. It's definitely not a classical guitar-type tremolo. I think his control of it is masterful. The instrumentation on the album is a little strange, but it is one of my favorites. Great player.

09-29-2011, 03:16 AM

tell me about Ohta's book. Is it any good?