New hybrid-picked tremolo etude - Tommo's entry for the Mercuriall and Paul Santo contest

Hey All,

This is my first ever entry in an online music contest! The challenge was to write a 40-second soundtrack to the picture shown at the end of the video. I took the opportunity to write another tremolo etude to demonstrate my hybrid approach to the classical tremolo:

EDIT: re-uploaded with correct audio-video syncing.

EDIT2: and here are some tabs :slight_smile:

The picking pattern is

Down, mid finger pluck, Down, Up.

It is important to maintain a “DWPS/escaped upstrokes” setup throughout.

I did many takes and then had a crazy idea: what if I could find two takes that went well together for stereo double tracking? This was very unlikely since I recorded the tune without a metronome, but after a lot of auditioning I found three takes that I think work pretty well: to my ears, the slight phase issues are not too disturbing and add a sort of eerie atmosphere. But of course your experience may differ :slight_smile:

Hope you like it and will be back soon with a post on the signal chain (everything is done with amp sims and VSTs) - I had to do quite a lot work to get a tone in the ballpark of a classical guitar!

Edit: this is a short tutorial I made a while ago about the technique:


Hey, that’s awesome - really, really great example of a piece where the technique serves the music and not the other way around, and your dynamic control here is pretty impressive!


Thanks a lot Drew! I did get quite a bit of help from a compressor and an EQ :wink:

Maybe so, but even the way you’re maintaining a fairly gentle tremolo picking while bringing out melodic lines with a bit more force, is very tasteful, and that’s definitely not just a compressor or EQ!

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Hey, sorry for the delayed response! Replying here to avoid diverting the other thread. If I remember correctly I had the middle finger nail fairly short for this one, but a tiny bit of the nail would probably still contact the string at the end of the pluck. I tried using longer nails as well but found that they would get continuously chipped by the unwound strings - super annoying!

There’s a few “cheats” that go into this tone, as you can see from the discussion above :wink:

One element is that I plucked the strings pretty hard with my middle finger, but a lot of the final effect is also due to the double tracking and the signal chain. In particular I was using very dark amp + cab settings, with a compressor in front, and I also had a pretty aggressive low-pass filter in the final EQ to try and kill the “plink plink” effect of steel strings.

I just realised I forgot to post the signal chain by the way! If it is of interest I can try and dig that up.

Hey @tommo thanks! I’m very much a purist when it comes to the classical stuff, so no need to go hunting for the signal chain as I’ll be doing this pretty raw if I give it a go :grin: I’m thinking whether I try this hybrid or not, the approach having “p” (or “pick”) involved with every other note could allow me to focus more on my “a” finger. So, p a p a is what I may try, rather p m p m – I suspect my issue with classical tremolo is that I was not preparing the “a” finger early enough. I could play the pieces, but it always felt difficult. I’m learning if something feels difficult, it is because I am making it difficult haha. As in, not using the best/most efficient technique. I can’t wait till I get my magnet to see what I’m actually doing on a classical tremolo.

Anyway, I’m getting off track. Thanks again for sharing. Your playing sounds great and even got the attention of a classical snob (i.e. me) so excellent work :slight_smile:

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I had/have the same issue! A very good classical player then gave me this advice: “look, the accent is on the a, not on the p!”. This seemed to help, at least psychologically.

Yeah agreed. That focus shift is probably helpful.

I had 2 very good classical teachers. The one was very ‘technique’ oriented the other was more expression and musicality. I learned the tremolo with the latter and I wish the it had been with the technique guy :slight_smile: The advice I got was of course to just play it slowly and work my way up haha. So much wasted time.

I think the amazing Pepe Romero has it solved, at least the issue with identifying not getting ‘a’ ready quick enough. His tremolo sounds amazing, of course, as does everything he plays

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TOMMO! You sly devil, that’s fantastic and sounds amazing.

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@tommo well done sir! This must be tougher on electric.

It’s not exactly the same thin that I’m doing but I’ve been using hybrid for arpegiated sequences like in malmsteen’s ecllipse. Late deployment had to be tackled with anticipation, the setup meant I had to keep the stance ready to deploy like a cat about to pounce :blush: