Lessons and info for the nylon string guitarist

Tremolo mastery – part 2

Tremolo Mastery Part 2
Flamenco guitar tremolo – 4 stroke (P m a m i)

Video Details

Tremolo Mastery Part 2
Flamenco guitar tremolo – 4 stroke (P m a m i)

Playing time: 0.39
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4 stroke tremolo –
P i a m i or
P m a m i

P i a m i
Most flamenco books indicate a 4 stroke tremolo as P i a m i.
Although this pattern seems logical to the people who use it, to me it doesn’t make any sense. If you leave out
the P for demonstration purposes and just write the remaining finger pattern
you get:

i a m i i a m i i a m i

Do you see how the i finger is doubling up. The argument in it’s favor is
that the P breaks up the doubling up effect and therefore it
makes no difference. Well I don’t agree with that logic. A more natural alternative it to use
P m a m i.

P m a m i
Now if we leave out the P as we did before we get:

m a m i m a m i m a m i

There is no doubling up of any finger. Try waving your fingers in the air in these patterns and tell me
which one feels more natural. I can play both, but P m a m i has been my personal favorite for years. WHY?
Because it’s easier to play, feels more natural and sounds better. I recommend you try both so you can decide
for yourself, but give the P m a m i a chance and I believe you will be
convinced it is the superior technique. Learning guitar should not be about following other people like a bunch
of sheep. It should be about getting the sound you want and daring to be different. By the way, this
P m a m i method is not my invention. I have seen books that use it and it was
taught to me one of my early flamenco teachers. If they can help you play better, such rules are meant to be,
and are destined to be broken.

The video shows:

redA demonstration of the technique that I use to play tremolo.
redThe staccato sound produced by the fact there is always one finger on the
strings. This is a key element to getting a good sound.

Video example:
(Flamenco guitar solo using 4 stroke tremolo)

For the record, tremolo is not the only technique that I play in a way that is different to what is
considered “standard” in many books. More often than not I tend to play picado starting with
m as in m i m i. Most books indicate picado
starting with the i finger as in i m i m. I’m
not saying all this because I want you to think I am some sort of rebel. I have tried all of these techniques
and I have come to the conclusion that what is taught as standard is not necessarily the best thing for any
given individual. It should be left to the individual to find what is best, rather than lay down standards in
books. Unfortunately most teaching methods do not show the alternatives and tend to mention only one method as
if it was the one and only way. Some standard things suit me and others do not. If I find an alternative that
is easier to play and sounds better to me, I will naturally tend to favor the alternative method over the
standard way. It’s as simple as that. At the end of the day, my body chooses the techniques that are better,
not my brain.

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Go to
Tremolo Mastery Part 3

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