I think of tremolo picking as a bumble bee or Hummingbird wings. It’s actually just a fast version of alternate picking. It seems you stay on one note or chord longer but it’s just faster picking.
Al Dimeola is a master of this technique plus many other techniques on guitar.
The Practice Song
There is a song called The Flight of the Bumble Bee written in 1890 by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov which has been used for years as a test of a musician’s playing ability.
This piece can be used for any instrument Piano, Trumpet, Guitar, Violin even the Human Voice.
This style is used a lot in Classical guitar music where a couple notes are played in a tremolo style in the background with your ring and middle fingers while you play a melody using your thumb and index fingers or vice versa. This can take years to perfect for a Classical guitarist.
It doesn’t take that long for other styles where you use a pick or only two fingers.
Here are links so you can hear this song and get the sheet music.
The Flight of the BumbleBee – mp3
Flight of the Bumblebee – Sheet Music
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Pop Songs with Tremolo Picking
The song above is for practice and to show off your musical skills but here are some popular songs that use this technique in them.
Dirty Pool by Stevie Ray Vaughan is a very good example of this technique using more than one note.
Another one is Bob Dylan’s song All Along the Watch Tower done by Jimi Hendrix. He uses this technique all through this song in short bursts in his leads.
You will hear most guitar players use this technique in short bursts most of the time unless it’s being used as a back-up like the SRV song above.
The best way to get this technique down is to use eighth notes with alternate picking.
Practice slowly using one note with a metronome until you can maintain a speed without messing up.
After that point you can increase the speed and repeat the same process.
After you reach a point where you feel comfortable with this technique expand your playing to two notes and so on.
Practice Check Points
Your notes must be even and clear. Use a Metronome to work you up to speed and keep your timing good.
Don’t use any magic boxes or reverb when you practice this technique. This should apply to all practice. You want to hear the guitar notes as straight sound. This is what you want to sound good before you send it through any sound altering device.
Those notes might sound boring but this is the best way practice, listen for good tone and volume
This will help all your playing in general and tighten up your timing.
There is a software product for increasing your speed on guitar. This is different than the guitar fretboard software on the Guitar Fretboard page. You should know the guitar fretboard fairly well to get the most out Guitar Speed. This software is all about developing speed on the guitar.
This is a good product you will get years of use from. Check it out.
Guitar Speed(Opens New Window)