Guitar Tremolo Picking Exercises | Hub Guitar

Guitar Tremolo Picking Exercises

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Tremolo Picking Exercises Hi I'm Grey and this is Hub Guitar Tremolo picking is a great technique to work on because it isolates the right picking hand, allowing you to focus on smaller faster and tighter motions, without needing to wait for the fretting hand to fret a note. Tremolo picking allows you to develop very good technique with the picking hand, without worrying about the bottleneck of the fretting hand. In some of the examples I've given on this page, you will play tremolo notes that move from one string to the next. But this actually will slow down your fretting hand a little bit. So these are great dexterity builders, but it's also worth taking the time to focus only on playing tremolo notes, especially up and down a single string. You can do this with any scale and up and down any string. I like to do this a lot on the fifth string, so I'm going to show you an example from there. I'm going to play the notes of the A minor scale, up and down the fifth string. I think that tremolo picking is an excellent overall picking hand technique builder, and I consider it to be a building block of good guitar technique. And not only that, but it sounds pretty cool! So try it out yourself. Take your time, starting from slow alternate picking strokes up and down a single string with a single scale. Gradually increase the speed. Relax your picking hand wrist and focus on smaller tighter more loose and relaxed motions. Eventually, you will be amazed at how little effort this technique requires.

In another lesson about tremolo we covered the general idea of this rapid-picking technique. Since tremolo picking offers the guitar player many interesting possibilities, we thought it would be a good idea to explore a few more in-depth exercises here.

Tremolo Patterns

Three-note pattern

This is similar to the patterns often found in classical guitar repertoire. There are four notes per group: the first is a bass note of the chord, and the next three are the tremolo.

Three-note tremolo exercise for guitar.

Four-note pattern

Four-note patterns have a wider appeal. For instance, in an improvised guitar solo, you wouldn’t really need to play the root note of each chord, and you may choose to play a pattern closer to this one.

Four-note tremolo exercise for guitar.

Five-note patterns and more

When practicing tremolo, try using a metronome as a guide and practicing one tremolo for each number between 3 and 8. If the metronome is set to 80, first you would play 3 notes per beat, then 4 notes per beat, 5 notes per beat, and so on. This is a good way to push your picking speed. At 80BPM, playing an 8 note tremolo would be almost 11 notes per second, so don’t beat yourself up if you need to slow the metronome more.

Key Results

  • Practice the tremolo patterns until you can play a sixteenth note tremolo at most tempos.
  • Tremolo will also help you to improve your general picking speed and coordination because it will remove “picking-hand speed” from the equation. If your picking speed is fast enough to do this, a lot of other things become easier, too.
As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

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