Tremolo Picking - Beginners To Advance Excerise And Lesson

A Short guide on how to controll, use, and effectively use Tremolo Picking to play fast!

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Tremolo picking, an easier thing on guitar? I think not! Tremolo picking is a techinque that requires a good muscule memory or good timing! Now you are saying whats Muscule Memory? Short and Sweet its the way your hand remembers to play stuff that you practice and eventually builds to be used for sight reading! Now on to the lesson, Whats Tremolo Picking? Its a "Rapid" movement of Up and Downstrokes! Now to use Tremolo picking effectively I suggest being able to Alternate Pick (Switching between Up and Down Strokes When playing). It seems un-needed because you can already Up and Downstroke at fast speeds good! Well it helps but isn't needed, I started off Tremolo picking alittle bit too before I alternative picked. But it does help! So Now We Know what Tremolo Picking is and why it seems so easy yet during a song it can totally wreck, and ruin your timing in a song, throw you off beat and be an annoyyance? Simple, alot of guitarist don't count when tremolo picking! I have students who walk in and tremolo pick and then are so terribly off beat with the song, lagging a measure or two from it! Now lets begin with a simple excerise!
 D  U  D  U   D  U  D  U   D  U  D  U   D  U  D  U
-12-12-12-12|-13-13-13-13|-15-15-15-15|-17-17-17-17|------
------------|------------|------------|------------|------
------------|------------|------------|------------|------
------------|------------|------------|------------|------
------------|------------|------------|------------|------
------------|------------|------------|------------|------
4x            4x           4x           4x
Now Play Each Section 4 times at a set BPMs like start off at 70 BPMs. Lower if you can't play it accurate. BE SURE TO BE COUNTING! Theres 4 Notes then a Repeat of that 4 times so you are playing 16 each of E, F, G, and A notes! Play these as 32nd notes! Be sure you are Down stroking, Up Stroking, Down Stroking and Up Stroking! Now that you can play this 100% Correctly atleast 5 times in a row raise the tempo and keep counting! Counting is key to Perfect Tremolo Picking (You should also be counting though! even on slow stuff!) Now thats Simple now that we count yes? Now Heres a thing! We need to Know Alternative Picking and String Skipping for some More Advance Tremolo picking! I Highly Recommend knowing some Alternative picking and string skipping techinques since this is easy to mess up on here! Now Instead of One String Tremolo Picking lets String Skip Tremolo Pick! The Idea of this is to effectivly Tremolo pick and switch strings without hitting or ringing out wrong notes!
 D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U    D  U  D  U  D  U  D  U
---------------------------12-12-12-12---------------|--------
-----------------------------------------------------|--------
-------------12-12-12-12-----------------------------|--------
---------------------------------------14-14-14-14---|--------
-13-13-13-13-----------------------------------------|--------
-----------------------------------------------------|--------
4x  (Each Note Value is the Equal of a 32nd Note)
If you noticed this is in the Key of C, in Fours for each note and Is mainly based off the C Major Scale. Now We do this and practice at lets say 70 BPMs again, Lower if needed and slowly bring it up too 120 BPMs. 120 BPMs is your goal for here if you are serious! Be Sure to COUNT and Make Sure you are PLAYING THE RIGHT NOTES! If you have mastered this I now say come up with your own excerises for this and effectively use it on tremolo picking riffs and runs! Remember I Can Not Stress This Enough! Count Count Count! Counting Is Half The Battle To Tremolo Picking! The Other Half Is How Accurate The Notes Are! Speed Dosn't Matter If You Can't Even Play The Notes Right!

27 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Mrasi
    So tremolo picking is alternate picking at hyperspeed then?
    libertines4ever
    kalamari wrote: tremolo picking is rhythmically loose and done more for effect. for instance, Jonny Greenwood's loose, atmospheric tremolo picking in Airbag from OK Computer by Radiohead
    this
    kalamari
    No, tremolo picking is quite different to alternate picking. Alternate picking must be rhythmically exact whereas tremolo picking is rhythmically loose and done more for effect. Compare, for instance, Jonny Greenwood's loose, atmospheric tremolo picking in Airbag from OK Computer by Radiohead with something more exact such as a Steve Morse or John Petrucci solo. Also, alternate picking dictates that you must use an up/down pattern even when going from one string to the next. This is in order to maintain an accent on every other pick - your downstroke will usually be louder and more accented than your upstroke - which can be used on or off the beat. Economy picking allows you to change strings using the easiest stroke for the change of direction.
    danbs07
    There seem to be 2 different typres of tremolo picking, one is with a plectrum and I think is also called sweep picking and the other (traditional classical tremolo) is played with the fingers and thumb. A very good example of the tremolo played with a plectrum is Jose Feliciano's rendition of "flight of the bumble-bee, watch here
    But the traditional classical tremolo is very difficult to execute and can take even the most established classical guitarist a lifetime to perfect! There are a few different ways to execute the tremolo but the most common way is as follows. Assuming you know that p=thumb, i=index finger, m=middle finger and a=ring finger I will explain the "pami" tremolo. Your thumb (p) arpeggiates through the bass notes of a chord whilst a,m and i fingers strike the high note. e.g Tremolo in A minor p a m i p a m i p a m i p a m i p a m i p a m i ---0-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0- -----1 ----- -----2-----2----- -----2-----2----- -0----- ----- I would recommend first practicing this technique very slowly until the picking can fluently and evenly pick out the individual notes. To see this technique executed perfectly watch here
    Hope this helps
    danbs07
    sorry that tab went abit wrong, here it is again --0-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0--- ----- -----2----- --- --2----- 0----- ----- --0-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0--- 1---- - -----2----- -----2----- ----- I hope this one works -----
    Doom15
    Doom15 wrote: kian89 wrote: ive always found much easier to tremolo picking near the bridge It is because the string is less stringy
    I mean springy
    Doom15
    kian89 wrote: ive always found much easier to tremolo picking near the bridge
    It is because the string is less stringy
    csxboy17
    Mrasi wrote: So tremolo picking is alternate picking at hyperspeed then?
    lol
    Nightmist
    As far as I know, they are technicaly the same. But tremolo picking is more contunial. Imagine there's a riff like this: All half note, ---1---3---4--- Usually, this is played by alternating. Picking each note one time: Down-Up-Down But when tremolo picking the same riff, you pick 16th notes in a half note time. And it would be like this: -1111-3333-4444- The notes are played a half note's time but picked 16th. Tremolo picking is commonly used in melodic death metal and black metal.
    TMVATDI
    Tremolo: fast alternate picking on one note It still needs perfect timing like anything else in music Alternate picking: picking in which all up strokes are preceeded by and followed by down strokes Economy picking: alternate picking that makes exceptions in order to transition from one string to another. For example, UDUD on the d string then another D on the g string. Hope this clears things up. Other than the unclear definition and semi-confusing language, I really like this lesson.
    stoneyman00
    Sooo, EVH tremolo picks without his right hand touching ANY of the strings, I see this a lot...how to they keep all the strings quiet...left hand? I also have seen other s use right hand to keep strings quiet when tremolo picking, does this casue excessive noise? A lot of subjects not covered. Unfortunaltely I have questions, not answeres so I suck big lemons....
    DeadxEndxEmpty
    Tremolo picking is best used when you want to play sustained note phrases, but don't necessarily slow down playing speed. Also works well when you're going for a more angular less fluid sound.
    albooga
    I agree with Kalimari's comparison between alternate picking and tremolo picking. Alternate picking is more exact in time with the beat. While tremolo picking does not have to stay in rhythm. I would describe tremolo as an effect rather than a picking technique like alternate picking, economy picking and sweep picking.
    Xter
    Thanks for the rating, Glad my 1st lesson post scored higher then 7!
    Xter
    Well there really is no differnce, Its just easier to tremolo pick then to Alternative pick. But defintion of Tremolo Picking "A High Movement of Up and Down Strokes" it is techinically is Alternate picking. But Tremolo picking is more based on angling your pick slightly and playing at a high speed.
    Metal-McTwist
    When I tremolo, I angle the pick to a 35 degree angle. When I alternate, I play normally. I am sure that there is a much more technical way of doing it, though.
    millionsdollars
    Wow guys, the difference between tremelo pickign and alternate picking is that tremelo is when you play a single note as fast as you cast, ex E----3-3-3-3-----4-4-4-4-----5-5-5-5----6-6-6-6--- al ternate picking is used in tremelo picking, but that doesnt mean you have to play the same note several times.
    Briar30
    Alternate picking is more about the accents. Your downstroke is harder than your upstroke, so it is slower so you can hear the accent. Tremolo picking is just really fast, and accents don't matter at all.
    mekani
    Call me stupid, but I don't see the difference between alternate and tremolo picking. I don't say you're wrong, just you didn't explain it good enough.
    Tcrumpen
    Tremolo Picking is over one string only generally, alternate picking is over more than one string, most solo's incorperate both, however more often than not (at least with the solo's i listen to) there is more alt picking than trem picking
    fenne50
    decent lesson i just wish you would have given the people more examples than just 2 like the tremolo picking part of farewell ballad by zakk wylde e|-15-15-15-15-15-15-15-15-13-13-13-13-13-13-13-13-12 -12-12-12-12-12-12-12-10-10-10-10-10-10-10-10|
    Natethegreat
    millionsdollars wrote: Wow guys, the difference between tremelo pickign and alternate picking is that tremelo is when you play a single note as fast as you cast, ex E----3-3-3-3-----4-4-4-4-----5-5-5-5----6-6-6-6--- al ternate picking is used in tremelo picking, but that doesnt mean you have to play the same note several times.
    I don't necesarily think it has to be as fast as you can but that pretty much is the difference. It is when you stay on a single note for more than one up/downstroke. Best example i think(my person favorite trem picking band) The Black Dahlia Murder. They trem a lot and if you listen to them you will see what i mean.
    DeadxEndxEmpty
    Good music to listen to for tremolo picked sections will usually be Norwegian Black Metal bands.