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Tremolo Picking



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Tremolo Picking
On the Guitar

 

The use of tremolo picking is an easy way to play fast phrases, with a minimal amount of effort. With tremolo picking you are playing the same note 3, 4 or more times in rapid succession. Watch these videos for the overall idea, then we will move on with some specifics

 


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For tremolo picking, the way you hold the pick and the movement that you make differs from normal picking.

When picking normally, the motion is mostly coming from your wrist.


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When tremolo picking, bend your thumb a little, and make the motion come more from your arm.


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The best way to think about the motion of tremolo picking is this.

  1. Use the very tip of your pick. Don't let more that a millimeter of the pick drop below the surface of the strings.
  2. Angle the pick a little by bending your thumb slightly. This will help the pick glide across the strings more smoothly.
  3. The side of your thumb will gently brush against the surface of the other strings, while the pick drops just below the surface.

Tremolo picking is easiest if you play all of the notes in a phrase on the same string. That way you don't have to lift your right hand up to make the transition to another string. Of course you shouldn't always do what's easiest, but that is a good place to start.

When notated, tremolo picking uses 3 diagonal slash marks through the stem of the note.

Just repeat the note as fast as you can for the indicated duration. There is not a set number of times that you will pick the note.

Try practicing tremolo picking with the following exercises.

 

This is a pattern for a G major scale. Learn to play scales on a single strings, not only for use when playing tremolo picking licks, but for improvising in general.

 

This is a pattern for a G minor pentatonic scale.



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