Complete Guide to Tremolo

taught by Richard Durrant

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Course description

Never be put off by the speed a concert guitarist’s fingers can move at - there is always a way in!

My Complete Guide to Tremolo will teach you exactly how a tremolo is created. I will then take you carefully from string buzzing misfires towards a purring perfection using some great new exercises and a collection of beautiful solos.

Tremolo Facts

The tremolo arm on an electric guitar (which RD calls a “whammy bar”) is used either to dramatically bend notes in either direction or, more subtly,  to add vibrato. 

Learn tremolo on the classical guitarTremolo is the actual repetition of the same note creating the impression of a single, sustained sound, whereas vibrato is the repeated, rapid bending (wide or narrow) of a single sound.

Tremolo can be played on single or multiple strings of an instrument using up and down strokes of a plectrum - this is more usual on steel strung instruments such as acoustic guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, balalaika etc. Bowed instruments can also produce a tremolo effect using rapid up and down bows. A bowed tremolo can create some dramatic, eery sounds and is often used in opera or film music.

One of the most famous guitar tremolo pieces of all time is Recuerdos de la Alhambra by the Spanish guitarist and composer Francisco Tarrega. The piece was made famous by a TV programme called Out of Town presented by Jack Hargreaves in the 1970’s.  Now that same version can be heard each evening on BBC6 Music as background music for the Gideon Coe show.

Learn to play Recuerdos as part of this teaching module!

Richard Durrant
Richard Durrant

Richard studied guitar, cello, composition and piano at the Royal College of Music. He is an Associate of the Royal College of Music, a Fellow of the London College of Music and a proud ambassador for the Brighton Youth Orchestra.

This guitarist and composer is instantly recognisable as he is the only virtuoso soloist who performs standing up - and usually in bare feet! His playing is richly romantic, truly virtuosic and crosses all musical boundaries.

He performs on concert guitar, tenor guitar, ukulele and a variety of other instruments.

Richard was born in Brighton, England. By the time he entered the Royal College of Music, aged 18, he had already begun to explore classical, folk and contemporary music and had a growing reputation as a concert guitarist.

Following his official debut recital at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London in July 1986, Richard turned sharply left and pursued his diverse interests in electro/acoustic music, improvisation, composition and multi-media. He has remained, by choice, outside of the classical music establishment ever since, in fact he recommends a total abandonment of what he calls “the C word”.