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Tremolo? finger picking question

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by t77mackie, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    I noticed Geddy Lee in recent times and some others using what I'd call a tremolo finger picking technique. There's probably a proper term for it.... extra credit...

    He 'picks' notes by stroking the string alternating between the bottom then the top of his index finger repeatedly.

    I've never done this before and as expected I don't have the muscles built up to do this technique very well. So what I end up doing is crossing my middle finger over my index to add some strength to it. Right now I can do - albeit weakly - 16th's at ~100 bpm just the index and ~140 with the middle finger cross over crutch.

    My question for guys who have this technique down: Is that^ bad technique what I'm doing and a bad habit I'd have to grow out of as I get better at it? Or is that how he's doing it (I don't think so), or it doesn't really matter?

  2. Kyle_S


    Sep 11, 2013
    What you're doing sounds like what Bryan Beller demonstrates here (relevant bit is five minutes in):

    So no, I don't think it's bad technique. I do the same and it's worked really well for me after getting used to it. I tried it with one finger at first, but it sounds a little thicker and feels stronger with two.
  3. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    what geddy do or bryan beller isn't a tremolo at all.

    it is just a way to pick the note two times in a single finger movement ... pretty much like using a pick.
  4. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    I've really wanted to employ this technique, but I have a very hard time coping with the different tone of the meat of the finger on the downstroke, and the fingernail contact on the upstroke.

    I tried for a long time keeping my nails super short, and just using the very tip, without catching the nail at all, and even after the weeks it took to get used to string crossing with an upstroke and not-catching the nail. I still found I couldn't get an even volume on the upstroke.

    I never tried it with more than one finger though, just the index only finger only... Maybe I'd get different results.
  5. wild4oldcars


    Jan 22, 2012
    Garner, NC
    I don't feel like its bad, but i do feel like its cheating. I can't play 16ths at 160bpm consistently when doing alternating strokes, but i can with the flamenco technique geddy used/uses. I feel like using the middle finger gives you thicker tone than the index, but the index is more focused. Overall, I feel that alternating plucking is the *right* way to do it, but it is a skill, and everyone could use a bigger tonal toolbox :)