Tips, Techniques, Examples about my favorite musical instrument, the Twelve-String Guitar.

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Monday, February 5, 2007


The way I originally fingered the tremolo in Tremblin' Whomp doesn't really sound like a tremolo for two reasons: the thumb striking one of the tremolo notes on an octave string interrupts the smoothness, and two, there should be a melody in the tremolo, but here it is all in the bass notes.

I spent a few days working out different fingerings, including one I previously mentioned, and which I've read is used by the classical guitarist Anna Vidovic, pmimi. The first day I tried this it seemed impossible. Classical guitarists often point out that these finger patterns can be drummed by your hand on a table top very quickly, and you should be able to play them just as fast. But for the life of me, I could not drum this pattern cleanly, and it was even worse on the guitar. So I went on to composing some later parts of this piece, where a real tremolo, with a melody, will be used on the first course, probably with the traditional pima fingering.

The evening of the second day, in some frustration, I tried the pmim again, and, surprise, it went considerably better. This morning it still seems worthy of pursuing, so I've re-written the beginning of the piece using the new fingering. The time signature is no longer 12/8, which is an easy way of writing a triplet rhythm, and is now 4/4.

As to the melody, I think it's fine the way it is. In a variation that comes right after this, when the tremolo is on the first course, I might have a melody. However, it sounds pretty sappy - like a jerky version of Spanish romance ballads. Melody is not my strong point.

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