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Thread: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

  1. #26

    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    That video on fast, precise tremolo is the best. It really doesn't matter so much about the pick as the technique. But I say that as someone who doesn't play any tremolo but used that video to try to be able to play faster in general.

  2. #27
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes View Post
    I say that as someone who doesn't play any tremolo .
    None at all? On a mandolin?

    I find that hard to believe.

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  4. #28
    Registered User T.D.Nydn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes View Post
    That video on fast, precise tremolo is the best. It really doesn't matter so much about the pick as the technique. But I say that as someone who doesn't play any tremolo but used that video to try to be able to play faster in general.
    You are aware that the tremolo is the single most identifying sound for the mandolin...

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  6. #29
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    Quote Originally Posted by T.D.Nydn View Post
    You are aware that the tremolo is the single most identifying sound for the mandolin...
    Well, I would definitely agree that the mandolin tremolo is one of the iconic sounds in string playing - and one of the identifying characteristics of the mandolin itself.

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  8. #30
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    None at all? On a mandolin?

    I find that hard to believe.
    Quote Originally Posted by T.D.Nydn View Post
    You are aware that the tremolo is the single most identifying sound for the mandolin...
    It's been years since I've played any tremolo. We've been down this road before, but I don't find it useful for playing Irish/Scottish trad on mandolin.

    Actually it's a bit beyond "not useful" and more like "non-idiomatic" to my ears, because no other instrument in this genre plays a continuous stream of staccato notes like that. The music is based on the sound of smooth, unbroken sustain from pipes, flute, whistle, fiddle, concertina, and so on. Nothing broken and jumpy like tremolo in that group.

    To my ears (and just personal opinion), using tremolo for Irish traditional music sounds like Classical or Italian music trying to sneak in through the back door. Opinions will vary on this, of course.

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  10. #31
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    It's been years since I've played any tremolo. We've been down this road before, but I don't find it useful for playing Irish/Scottish trad on mandolin.

    Actually it's a bit beyond "not useful" and more like "non-idiomatic" to my ears, because no other instrument in this genre plays a continuous stream of staccato notes like that. The music is based on the sound of smooth, unbroken sustain from pipes, flute, whistle, fiddle, concertina, and so on. Nothing broken and jumpy like tremolo in that group.

    To my ears (and just personal opinion), using tremolo for Irish traditional music sounds like Classical or Italian music trying to sneak in through the back door. Opinions will vary on this, of course.
    Thanks - You might play one of the genres that indeed rarely uses tremolo....but in some ways, you make up for it with the various picking ornaments that correspond to the rolls and cuts and cranns and such pipers, fiddlers and flute players use in ITM.

    From my experience Irish mandolin and banjo seem to share the same ornamentations style....no tremolo indeed, but lots of triplet and 4-let groups of picking "rolls".

    Where Italian music sneaks in the backdoor is Scottish fiddling, where there indeed has been Italian violin influence.

  11. #32

    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    I pretty much only play old time music. There are a few tunes where I think tremolo would actually be very appropriate, but mostly I never find it necessary. For those tunes where it would make sense to use it, I guess I feel too self-conscious to do it. Like I'd be showing off or making a scene or drawing way too much attention to myself. A moral failing, I suppose. Maybe if I was a man I'd feel less self-conscious about drawing attention to myself.

  12. #33
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes View Post
    I pretty much only play old time music. There are a few tunes where I think tremolo would actually be very appropriate, but mostly I never find it necessary. For those tunes where it would make sense to use it, I guess I feel too self-conscious to do it. Like I'd be showing off or making a scene or drawing way too much attention to myself. A moral failing, I suppose. Maybe if I was a man I'd feel less self-conscious about drawing attention to myself.
    Or, it's just about sustaining the longer notes.

  13. #34

    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    I actually do not know any mandolin players who play tremolo in old time music. The most expert one in my group will usually just strum or shuffle a full chord. First time I heard Kenny Hall play I thought, gahh, make it stop. All that tremolo is really annoying. Whatever. I've found a tune or two where it works, but I rarely do it.

  14. #35
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes View Post
    I actually do not know any mandolin players who play tremolo in old time music. The most expert one in my group will usually just strum or shuffle a full chord. First time I heard Kenny Hall play I thought, gahh, make it stop. All that tremolo is really annoying. Whatever. I've found a tune or two where it works, but I rarely do it.
    Kenny Hall used a specific measured tremolo that certainly was not like an Italian tremolo!

    It sounded to me like it was a rhythmic element, not a sustain-type tremolo.

    Other than the fact that Kenny used a bowl back mandolin, our concepts of what was good mandolin playing were quite different.

  15. #36

    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    BTW, if you're working through the method described in the video (four-to-a-beat going to eight), I'd stop midway at six-to-a-beat. That's a standard Monroe-ism!
    At tempos from about 80 to 130 Bpm, sextuplets (d-u-d-u-d-u) seem to work best for me too.
    If the tempo is an Adagio, I might be able to squeeze four d-u into the beat, for an Allegro or Vivace, two d-u might be sufficient to create a kind of tremolo, but Andante, Moderato or Allegretto seem to work best with three down-strokes, each followed by an upstroke.
    At least, that's the way how I approach practicing tremolo.
    When I play it, I rather concentrate on the expressiveness instead of thinking about maths.

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  17. #37
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    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkELynch View Post
    Here is a good tutorial on tremolo technique that some of you might find useful.

    The instructor uses a metronome to define the division of the pick strokes to prevent the tremolo from becoming a blur of notes.

    https://youtu.be/XxvD41asKCY
    Thank you for that link - That makes it SO much easier, I think I can finally get my tremolo technique now. I really think that accenting the first downstroke in a tremolo will help me keep track of it.

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    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    I agree for the most part, particularly about small movements used in picking and tremolo. However, there is some slight forearm movement involved.

    And like you, my tremolo comes from wrist and fingers too - but as for an all forearm tremolo slowing one down, have you seen how some of the Eastern European domra players can get accurate fast tremolos from the forearm?
    Add Sam Bush , Mike Compton, John Reischman, Sharon Gilchrist, and many others with mostly arm tremolo.
    I have long puzzled about arm or wrist or a combination, I ended up getting nice tremelo with mostly arm with some wrist .

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  21. #39
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    but as for an all forearm tremolo slowing one down, have you seen how some of the Eastern European domra players can get accurate fast tremolos from the forearm?
    This is a wonder to see and hear. OMG.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

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  23. #40

    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    Cheating yourself - I agree that tremolo is easier with round edge, but I'm not about to start spinning pick in my fingers to different edges midway through a song.

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  25. #41

    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    Quote Originally Posted by vetus scotia View Post
    There ought to be a permanent link to this video on the Cafe main page! Still one of the best videos out there for beginner mandolinists. Here it is embedded:



    You should check out this one too:
    I've never heard of or used these rest strokes... are they mainly for learning or do folks actually play with rest strokes while picking fast or playing tremolo?

  26. #42
    Hands of Pot Metal
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    Default Re: Working on tremelos. Good trick or am I cheating myself?

    John Moore (California and Bluegrass Etc) uses them extensively.
    Play it like you mean it

    Not all the clams are at the beach

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    Clark 2 point
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    00-21 (voiced by Eldon Stutzman)

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