The magic of the guitar tremolo

When it comes to guitar techniques on the guitar nothing beats the magic of the guitar tremolo. There are many guitar tremolo pieces in both the classical and flamenco styles but the most iconic tremolo piece is Recuerdos De La Alhambra by Francisco Tarrega.

In this video I will show you how to practice and perfect your tremolo so that you can apply it to pieces like Recuerdos or any other tremolo piece and amaze your audience with this seemly magic technique.

Classical Tremolo

I will be showing you the classical tremolo which uses 4 notes, the first notes is s melody note play with the thumb and the other 3 notes are played with the I, m and a fingers on the same note in quick succession. Usually we play tremolo in semiquavers. Flamenco guitarists play a five note tremolo but for this lesson we will focus on the classical tremolo.

On most other instruments tremolo is played by playing a single note in quick succession. However on the guitar (being a polyphonic instrument) we also incorporate the thumb as a separate melodic note.

The Technique

Lets’s start with this open string exercise. We will play the third string with the thumb and the first string with fingers i m and a, repeat this and then do the same on the second string. Use a circular motion to complete the four note pattern so that when you’ve played the a finger you are ready to go back to the thumb.

Add Left Hand

Lets try adding the left hand as follows:

Sometimes tremolo patterns can be quite arpeggiated. Lets try adding more notes with the thumb. In this exercise you will need to move along the strings with the RH thumb.

Practice like this

It’s quite a challenge to keep the semiquavers going smoothly as there tends to be a gaps between the beats as you are getting ready to play the ‘p’ (thumb) again. To improve this try practicing your tremolo as follows:

Recuerdos Opening

The opening to Recuerdos De La Alhambra is a great tremolo practice exercise. It is not a beginner piece so you may need to work on the tremolo RH part first, when you get that relatively smooth you can try this beautiful opening. The challenging part is co-ordinagfng the LH and RH hands.

I would recommend also practicing the arpeggio elements by not playing the tremolo, just one as follows:




Other tremolo pieces you can try :

  • Recuerdos De La Alhambra by Tarrega
  • Campanas De La Alba by Sainz de la Maza
  • Ultima Cancion by Barrios