Tremolo Question

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Tremolo Question

Post by hwk » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:39 am

I am confused as to the movement of the right hand fingers when playing tremolo.

Over at Delcamp, on 17 August 2006, Scott wrote:

"Here's my suggestion:
P plays, the A finger alternates, (extends)
A plays, M and I extend, I the farthest
M play, I follows in sympathetic motion
I plays and the fingers are in a gentle fist.
I also understand the it seems to make better sense to extend A, M and I all out at the same time. But this creates one of the major problems with most players' tremolo - unevenness.

But on 21 November 2012, Scott wrote:

"The pattern I use for tremolo when P plays AMI extend. My A finger is closest in the hand, M next closest and I the furthest from the palm. I teach specific positioning points for each; extended is where the A lines up with the tip of P, extended-plus is where the M is half exposed beyond the sightline of P and finally I is in the super-extended position where it's almost completely exposed beyond the sightline of P. A then flexes (to the MCP joint of P), pulling M in sympathetic motion into position (extended position mentioned above), M flexes to the MCP of P pulling I into position and finally I plays joint ALL fingers in the flexed position. Being in the flexed position builds a natural static tension in the extensor muscles (felt in the top of the hand). When P plays again these fingers can then execute what's called a passive recoil, returning to where the tension began to load then assisted slight by the extensor to set the fingers back in position."

These two different approaches as to how and when the fingers are extended when playing tremolo can be contrasted with a third way, proposed by another sympathetic motion advocate, Christopher Berg. In his book Mastering Guitar Technique: Process and Essence Berg writes:

"Although the p-a-m-i arpeggio movement, widely used for tremolo, may seem to fall in the category of sympathetic motion, it is better studied as a patter requiring opposed motion between i and m. The a finger is the slowest of the three commonly used fingers and will have difficulty extending and then immediately flexing as the first finger to play after the thumb. A better solution is to place an alternation between i and m-a. This will give the a finger ample time to comfortably extend. ...

P flexes (i extends)
a flexes
m flexes
i flexes (p-m-a extend)

So, three different approaches to how one should best approach the tremolo. Any views on which is best?

Berg's, to me, is complicated and uncomfortable - but perhaps that is because I am not used to moving my fingers in the way he suggests. I am tempted to try Scott's 2006 suggestion, but has Scott's thinking moved on since that time? And if so, what happened to the belief that extending i-m-a at the same time, when p flexes, creates unevenness?

Thoughts and comments appreciated.

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