VIDEO

In the third of our ex­clu­sive clas­si­cal master­class video se­ries, Car­los Bonell demon­strates his tremolo tech­nique to Brid­get Mer­mikides.

Guitar Techniques - - Front Page -

The amaz­ing Car­los Bonell presents his third video on clas­si­cal-gui­tar tech­nique.

Tremolo re­ally is a great ef­fect, and although you do of­ten hear a sim­i­lar sound com­ing from other stringed in­stru­ments - man­dolin in par­tic­u­lar - the way it’s per­formed on the clas­si­cal gui­tar is unique. Tremolo is a way of cre­at­ing a melodic line by re­peat­ing the same note in quick suc­ces­sion. On clas­si­cal gui­tar this is done us­ing three fin­gers of the pick­ing hand and is com­bined with a bass line played by the thumb.

This month Car­los takes us through the steps of play­ing an ar­peg­gio us­ing ‘pami’ across dif­fer­ent strings and grad­u­ally bring­ing in the fin­gers to re­peat on the same string (Ex 1 and 2). The idea is to achieve flu­ency in the tech­nique by us­ing the same re­flex ac­tion as with a re­peated down­wards ar­peg­gio.

Next Car­los talks about the po­si­tion­ing of the fret­ting hand. A clas­si­cal gui­tar has a wide neck and wide spa­ces be­tween the strings and, un­like elec­tric gui­tar tech­nique where the thumb reaches around and ‘grips’ the neck, a clas­si­cal gui­tarist needs to keep the thumb lower down be­hind the neck to en­able the fin­gers to reach all of the strings more eas­ily. Also to ac­com­mo­date the larger fret board size, Car­los demon­strates how ‘piv­ot­ing’ the arm from the shoul­der rather than fish­ing with the fin­gers in­di­vid­u­ally, can help to reach dif­fer­ent chords shapes (see Ex­er­cises 3 and 4).

The rest stroke, be­ing a heav­ier stroke, is per­fect for play­ing sin­gle-line melodies and also for pro­duc­ing the ac­cent and the rhyth­mic shape.

Con­tin­u­ing with the fret­ting hand, Car­los now shows us some use­ful ham­mer-on and pull-off ex­er­cises. Th­ese short ex­er­cises use all the com­bi­na­tions be­tween the four fin­gers and first of all sep­a­rate the ham­mer ons and pull offs, be­fore then com­bin­ing the two. Th­ese are very much stamina build­ing ex­er­cises and Car­los warns not to push the speed if you feel pain or aching in the arm. It’s a ques­tion of grad­u­ally in­creas­ing what you can man­age and be­ing aware and care­ful when in­creas­ing a speed and du­ra­tion.

Th­ese ex­er­cises are for build­ing tech­nique and stamina, and need to be prac­ticed with care and at­ten­tion to how you feel. Car­los warns that if you ex­pe­ri­ence pain you must stop and rest. Lit­tle and of­ten is the best way to build up strength in the fret­ting hand.

Car­los Bonell: demon­strates tremolo pick­ing

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