DWPS - hybrid picking pattern for Recuerdos de la Alhambra - can it work?


Recuerdos is one of my favourite classical guitar pieces. “Of course” I hear you say, it’s a shreddy one! (With all due respect to Tarrega :joy:).

I’ve been toying with the idea of playing this with hybrid picking, but the 3-finger tremolo thingy probably is not feasible with fingers 2,3,4. However I noticed a few days ago that it is in principle possible to do the pattern with DWPS and a single hybrid plucked note with the m finger. The basic idea is shown in the video below.

Some big jumps are needed, but the string changes work perfectly for dwps. Do you codecrackers think this could work at tempo? Alternative suggestion welcome as well :slight_smile:

Playing Classical Pieces on Electric Guitar

Personally, I’m a big hybrid picker so I’m very interested in this! This isn’t something I’d have thought to do, but it looks good, I can’t see why this wouldn’t work. It also opens up the possibility for the classical tremolo sound into a more shreddy context. Really cool idea, nice one Tommo!


Nice technique, sounds good to me! Have you tried it on electric with some gain?


How funny! When I discovered that same piece many years ago, it took me into the opposite direction. In my case it was “Can I take these classical techniques and use them on the electric guitar?” Which is where these techniques came from…



Not yet! But definitely I would not apply it to chords with many notes ringing together in that case - and I am not sure how easy it is to mute when big jumps between high and low strings are involved :thinking:

For the record, this gets a bit uncomfortable when you have to pick the low E and hybrid pick the high E, you kind of need “right hand stretching”.


Wow, amazing what you can do with your fingerstyle technique! (I just gave a try to playing triplets on a string with p-a-m-i as you do, and my brain melted). I am curious, how do you mute the strings when you play with gain?

On the other hand, I came up with this pattern precisely to avoid learning that kind of technique :joy:

I always found it a bit uncomfortable to pluck with my thumb (can’t get the nail to pluck in a way that feels good, and if I use the flesh it gets too muffled) - and that is why I recently found hybrid to be more appealing.

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Yes muting is one of the reasons why you have to break away from traditional classical guitar technique, in terms of hand position, if you want to play with high gain.

You have to get the heal of your right hand down so that it is much more involved with string control. You can see it in action here if you’re interested…


So, I kept working on this on and off for the past year, and it seems in principle possible to use this hybrid picking technique for classical tremolo pieces. Just to recap: the picking pattern is Down - Pluck - Down - Up, all done using upstroke escapes (DWPS). This is some practice footage that shows my progress:

I still find it really hard to achieve a smooth 16th-note feel (or perhaps 32nd?) when big string skips are involved (in the example below the most extreme case is a 5-string range, but playing the whole piece requires a full 6-string jump in places).

Another issue is that the rhythm/accenting tends to come out as “1-2-1-2” rather than “1-2-3-4”. I don’t know if this can be fixed with more practice, or if it’s an intrinsic limitation of the technique.

Has anyone else tried this, and how did it go? Perhaps @TheCount?


Have you ever tried this with a thumbpick or using your middle and ring fingers as well as the pick?

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I never tried a thumb pick, but my a-m-i tremolo is no good so I think it would sound worse. I tried pick + 2fingers doing a-m-a, but it’s quite difficult to make it smooth or sustainable for an entire piece


You’re almost there!!
Perhaps a little more practice is all you need
I’ve tried to play “fully crosspicked classical tremolo” but i’m not that good
I’d say its almost imposible unless anton oparin or @troy show us the opposite

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Very possible. But challenging in interpretation, to put the ‘correct’ accents. It won’t sound as good as with the fingers, or very different which is OK. I’m sure Oparin would pull it off.

Great job @tommo !


This is sounding fantastic. It’s SO close to being perfect, still sounding a little tense in a few passages, but I’m sure with a bit of practice you could iron that out. It looks pretty efficient as well. I’ll have to have a go at this at some point.


This thread was so awesome, probably my favorite to date. I had never looked at the music before, and now I see what led down this path… thanks!



So one more thing… this is one of my favorite pices, so after looking at the music, I watched a fantastic performance, here, and noticed that she seems to be using p-i-m, and not her ring finger?! Then I wanted to see somebody like John Williams, and he seems to pluck it differently! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?! :confused: But I’ll say, William’s hand almost looks magical, like a wave… then again, he is John Williams.


“I spoke with the outstanding guitarist, Ana Vidovic about her tremolo. She uses “pmim”. I asked her how she came to use that pattern. She told me that early in her studies she couldn’t get the traditional “pami” pattern to work for her. No one told her to try “pmim”. She just did it, it worked, and she has used it ever since.” That’s from an article by Douglas Niedt - apparently Vidovic just never got the hang of pami.


Very cool idea. I’ve always done it with alternate picking. The advantage, of course, is that it’s easier to get an even sound on those high three notes compared to if you’re combining pick and fingers.

I do a double escape stroke on the low string, then 3 pick-slanted strokes for the high notes. It could all be done with double-escape strokes for a slightly more even sound, but it would get exhausting. Plus having a heavier type of stroke on the bass strings gives you a natural accent on those notes. It’s way, way less economical than your way, though. I can play it about as smooth as you have it, but only at about 2/3 the speed.

There’s a mandolin player named Evan Marshall who plays almost everything in a bass + tremolo style with all pick. He’s pretty fearsome, although I think there’s some swiping in there, and of course the string skips are a lot smaller on mandolin.