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Thread: Really good tremelo exercises?

  1. #1
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    Default Really good tremelo exercises?

    OK, tremelo practice-

    1 2 3 4
    123123123123
    1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
    123123123123123123123123
    12341234123412341234123412341234
    123123123123123123123123123123123123123123123123
    12341234123412341234123412341234123412341234123412 34123412341234
    etc...

    Right, done that, tremelo is 1p.c. better, now I'll do the one where you change string on the last note of the group...What does this book say - same. And this one...very similar.

    Is there a good source of varied tremelo exercises you can point me at please that don't make you lose the will to live out of boredom? It's odd that such an integral part of (some styles of) mandolin playing appears to be given relatively little attention in many otherwise useful and varied method books.

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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    I don’t really practice measured tremolo at all as I like to more free form it when I’m playing…that said, it was suggested in a wks I attended to take a tune like a waltz and play it all tremolo so I do that from time to time with Ky Waltz and Tn Waltz. Seems more interesting to me than just straight trem practice.
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    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    " Minimum Daily Requirement "
    By David Grisman, should do it.
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    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    I don't think you're going to find any tremolo exercise very exciting. It's the mandolin's version of long tone exercises that must be suffered by bowed strings and wind players. I do think that there's probably no other exercise as productive as long tones or tremolo.

    Sebastian posted some good tremolo workouts.


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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    I use tremolo too much in my playing. Especially classical.

    Unless told otherwise my habit has been to tremolo everything a quarter note or longer.

    So, could not any piece with quarter notes or longer be a tremolo exercise? Even though one might not perform them this way (darn it), one could always just apply trem to anything, just for the exercise of it. Just for practice.
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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    I have never been able to learn from exercises, nor could my instructor of several years. If I want to learn a technique, like tremolo or cross picking, I find a tune by a really good player that uses the technique as an essential part of the tune. The tune just wouldn't be the same without it. Then I learn the tune and work on "creating that sound" I am after. But once I do that on one tune, then I can transfer the technique to other tunes really easily.

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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I use tremolo too much in my playing. Especially classical.
    That could also depend on style and which mandolin school you are most influenced by. I grew up Italian-American. It's hard to have too much tremolo except when playing out-of-genre! like ITM.

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    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    I love tremelo. But there's no harm in letting your note ring out, letting the mandolins beautiful voice resonate. To practice tremelo just pick a song, any song, and tremolo the heck out of it. Pick a slow song and tremelo every note. Then do it again, and again...

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    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    What I have tried to do is practice tremolo exercises trying to get it smooth and sounding decent, especially with double stops, and play it in songs to get a good clean transition from tremolo to whatever comes next. For me the transition is the hardest aspect, and easier when the tremolo is measured.

    Not that I'm good at it, I'm not. It's a work in progress. Usually it sounds awkward.

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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    Three tricky things with tremolo. One is going into it without losing the beat, and the other is coming out of it and nailing the beat as you come out. Takes practice but not hard.

    The third thing is that there are two kinds of tremolo, metered and unmetered. Metered is exactly timed with the beat of the piece, 32nd notes or something. Unmetered is just as fast as you can go and still be musical. So both are useful and both have their place. So for example, on some pieces, to enhance the romance and expressivity, at some moments I tie the tremolo speed to my volume. Well this takes a bit of practice to make it work.
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Three tricky things with tremolo. One is going into it without losing the beat, and the other is coming out of it and nailing the beat as you come out. Takes practice but not hard.

    The third thing is that there are two kinds of tremolo, metered and unmetered. Metered is exactly timed with the beat of the piece, 32nd notes or something. Unmetered is just as fast as you can go and still be musical. So both are useful and both have their place. So for example, on some pieces, to enhance the romance and expressivity, at some moments I tie the tremolo speed to my volume. Well this takes a bit of practice to make it work.
    The hard thing for me is coming out of it on the beat. Difficult if playing metered, practically impossible (for me) if trying to play an unmetered tremolo. There was an exercise on the old Andy Statman jazz course where he had you play scales slowly but in tempo while varying every aspect in the meantime: dynamics, speed of the tremolo, up the neck vs toward the bridge, pick angle, etc... Probably if I did that exercise 20 minutes daily for a few years my issues with tremolo would go away.

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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    If you’re bored you could draw out a matrix chart of practice for right hand pick direction..

    da ua da > etc.
    da ua de
    da ue de
    de ue de



    etc...

  22. #13

    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    There’s another thread somewhere here at the cafe forum (maybe more than one - probably more than one....) that has a link to this YouTube video with one of the single most helpful resources I have ever used to improve my tremolo. When I was first starting out on the mandolin I knew that developing a solid tremolo was going to be absolutely elemental to reaching my goals on the instrument. I found this video incredibly helpful.

    "Well, I don't know much about bands but I do know you can't make a living selling big trombones, no sir. Mandolin picks, perhaps..."

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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    Thank you all for that. I found something I can recommend NOT to do, and that's just tremelo the bejasus out of anything you play for two hours solid in a loud session. I'm not sure if it helped my tremelo, but it did get me a bout of tennis elbow that will take a few weeks to kill!

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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    Thank you all for that. I found something I can recommend NOT to do, and that's just tremelo the bejasus out of anything you play for two hours solid in a loud session. I'm not sure if it helped my tremelo, but it did get me a bout of tennis elbow that will take a few weeks to kill!
    Extremely important is:

    -no errors
    -correct pick direction for every single note
    -no errors
    -slow enough to be able to count the right number of strokes for each and every single note length in the tune.
    -and no errors

    If you’re doing this for two hours straight, then ear protection may be a good idea!
    and check that you’re neighbour is out.
    Good luck.

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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    My right hand got numb from reading this
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  28. #17
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    My cat stayed out in the rain for the two hours today.

    Came back to the front door with a look of,
    ‘Tremolo-man, I’m gonna scratch you sooo bad!’

    If anyone has a savage animal, you may want to consider defensive equipment.

    And cat’s have extremely sensitive hearing.
    To a confused cat, your beautiful loud tremolo probably sounds like half a million tormented, screaming mice.
    Last edited by Simon DS; Jun-22-2021 at 1:46pm.

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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    It sounds like that to me Simon, never mind the cat!

  30. #19
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    Thank you all for that. I found something I can recommend NOT to do, and that's just tremelo the bejasus out of anything you play for two hours solid in a loud session. I'm not sure if it helped my tremelo, but it did get me a bout of tennis elbow that will take a few weeks to kill!
    You play tremolo by moving your forearm? My motion is all in the wrist, and my forearm barely moves.

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  32. #20
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    Another cool metronome exercise is:
    bass note on the fourth string, strum 4 note chord, bass note on the third string, strum 4 note chord, tremolo(1,2,3), tremolo(1,2,3), tremolo(1,2,3), rest(1,2,3).


    -mixing forearm movements with very little forearm movement.

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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtone2 View Post
    You play tremolo by moving your forearm? My motion is all in the wrist, and my forearm barely moves.
    Yeah, well, I guess I found out why

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    Registered User Tim C.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    I made a great free lesson on tremolo, my favorite topic (Godfather chart included!)

    https://www.timsmandolessons.com/blo...n-the-mandolin
    Tim Connell
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    The best tremolo practice by far is to slow down and work on playing RELAXED. If you’re tensing up you’re defeating yourself. Take a break then try it again, relaxed. Once you are relaxed at a given tempo you’re good to speed up awhile. Relaxed? Keep going. Tense? Do something about it. Make that a habit because it’s not a one night or a one week thing.
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    If you want to achieve a perfect "measured tremolo", the best resource to use is The Mandolin Method by Giuseppe Branzoli, available at imslp.org. It's from the golden age, but I think there is nothing better. Imho. Really all exercises are to achieve that goal.
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  39. #25
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    Default Re: Really good tremelo exercises?

    I have that Branzoli, and I agree, it is very good.
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