Tremolo Picking 1 - Solo A

Animated Tremolo Picking 1 - Solo A tab by ActionTab on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This tune is from the Jamzone, go there to learn more!

So what is tremolo picking? In a nutshell, it is where you hold a note and pick it very fast a number of times before moving to the next note. In this example, we'll be picking each solo note 8 times per backing note. Tremolo picking involves fast alternate picking (rapid and consistent down / upstrokes). Before getting into the melody, we recommend just holding the first C note you see in the ActionTab and practice tremolo picking just that note throughout until you get fast and tight. Aim to get close to the speed you hear in the normal speed audio.

Practice Fast!

If you are a new beginner, you should work through the Core Skills sections first before attempting this technique. You need to be familiar with alternate picking, and be confident with faster styles of playing. Tremolo picking is one of the few techniques that should be practiced fast, not slow. Normally, we recommend getting everything right slowly and then building speed. That will still work with tremolo picking, but generally it is quicker to jump in fast and learn to control your picking hand as you do so.

Concentrate on Technique

Keep your picking hand close to the strings, and play from the wrist. Focus on the tip of your pick. Keep at least 0.5 to 1 cm of your pick tip showing (from your finger / thumb), and grip the pick tightly. You need enough pick tip showing to get consistent clear strikes without accidental muting or mis-strikes. Too little, and your thumb or finger will touch the string as you pick, causing the note to mute.

You can also rest your thumb on the rest of the lower strings while tremolo picking. This has 2 advantages. It allows you to mute unwanted strings, and it helps steady your hand to pick faster. The vast majority of classical tremolo picking only involves the higher strings, and practicing this way will not impede you. In fact it will probably help you get the technique more quickly. However, bear in mind that you should only 'lightly' rest your thumb, don't press hard against the strings with it. That way, you can quickly switch to other techniques should you need to with less effort than if your thumb is almost stapled to the strings!

For the melody here, we are going to keep things simple so that you can concentrate more on your picking hand. The solo is nice and easy - all played on just one string. It is made of notes from the C major scale (C D E F G A B C) which complements the backing guitar. The simpler the melody, the better you can concentrate on your picking hand. And you'll need to concentrate, because tremolo picking is fast and challenging. However, like all strumming hand techniques, once you've owned it...you'll find that even other techniques (like speed picking) become much easier for you.

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