Jim Bottorff's Banjo Page
Play-Along Tremolo Exercises
 
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Below are eight progressive exercises for practicing tremolo technique.
Test your skill and see how far you can go.
 
Play-Along Tips:
 
Play continuous down and up strokes.
Make the down and up-strokes sound the same.
Always start the tremolo at each new measure with a down-stroke.
The 1 and 3 rhythm strokes are always down-strokes.
First learn on single strings, then progress to multiple strings.
Playing the chord as part of the tremolo is an advanced technique.
 
(The midi sound file is a plectrum banjo with CGBD tuning)
 
 
Exercise No. 1
Eighth-note tremolo with chord on first beat (8 per measure)
 
Single Play (click here)                                                      Repeat Play (click here)
|
C    /    /    /    /    /    /    / F    /    /    /    /    /    /    / G    /    /    /    /    /    /    / C    /    /    /    /    /    /    /
 1        2        3        4       1        2        3        4  1        2        3        4  1        2        3        4
C chord with E melody F chord with F melody G chord with D melody C chord with E melody
The above chord sequence (C, F, G, C) and 4-beat rhythm remains the same for all the exercises.
 The rhythm stays the same but the speed of the tremolo increases as the exercises progress.
 
 
Exercise No. 2
Eighth-note tremolo with chords on first and third beats (8 per measure)
 
Single Play (click here)                                                        Repeat Play (click here)
|
C    /    /    /    C    /    /    / F    /    /    /    F   /    /    / G    /    /    /    G    /    /    / C    /    /    /    C    /    /    /
 1        2        3        4       1        2        3        4  1        2        3        4  1        2        3        4
C chord with E melody F chord with F melody G chord with D melody C chord with E melody
This is the same as Exercise No. 1, only with a chord added on the third beat.

 

Exercise No. 3
Quarter-note triplets with chord on first beat (12 per measure)
 
Single Play (click here)                                                     Repeat Play (click here)
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C  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /   F  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /   G  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /   C  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  
 1        2       3       4       1        2       3       4        1        2       3       4        1        2       3       4      
C chord with E melody F chord with F melody G chord with D melody C chord with E melody

 

Exercise No. 4
Quarter-note triplets with chords on first and third beats (12 per measure)
 
Single Play (click here)                                                         Repeat Play (click here)
|
C  /  /  /  /  /  C  /  /  /  /  /   F  /  /  /  /  /  F  /  /  /  /  /   G  /  /  /  /  /  G  /  /  /  /  /   C  /  /  /  /  /  C  /  /  /  /  /  
 1        2        3        4       1        2        3       4        1        2        3        4        1       2        3        4      
C chord with E melody F chord with F melody G chord with D melody C chord with E melody
This is the same as Exercise No. 3, only with a chord added on the third beat.
 
 
Exercise No. 5
Sixteenth-notes with chord on first beat (16 per measure)
 
Single Play (click here)                                                          Repeat Play (click here)
|
 C / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /   F / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /     G / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /    C / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /   
  1       2      3      4          1       2      3      4        1       2      3      4         1       2      3      4           
C chord with E melody F chord with F melody G chord with D melody C chord with E melody

 

Exercise No. 6
Sixteenth-notes with chords on first and third beats (16 per measure)
 
Single Play (click here)                                                           Repeat Play (click here)
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 C / / / / / / / C / / / / / / /   F / / / / / / / F / / / / / / /  G / / / / / / / G / / / / / / /  C / / / / / / / C / / / / / / /
  1       2       3      4          1       2       3      4        1       2       3      4         1       2       3      4    
C chord with E melody F chord with F melody G chord with D melody C chord with E melody
This is the same as Exercise No. 5, only with a chord added on the third beat.
 
 
Exercise No. 7
Sixteenth-notes with chords on all 4 beats (16 per measure)
 
Single Play (click here)                                                           Repeat Play (click here)
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C / / / C / / / C / / / C / / /  F / / / F / / / F / / / F / / / G / / / G / / / G / / / G / / / C / / / C / / / C / / / C / / /
 1        2        3        4         1       2        3      4       1         2        3       4         1        2        3       4    
C chord with E melody F chord with F melody G chord with D melody C chord with E melody
This is the same as Exercise No. 5, only with a chords on all 4 beats.
 
 
Exercise No. 8
Eighth-note triplets with chord on all 4 beats (24 per measure)
 
Single Play (click here)                                                           Repeat Play (click here)
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C ///// C ///// C ///// C /////  F ///// F ///// F ///// F ///// G ///// G ///// G ///// G ///// C ///// C ///// C ///// C /////
 1        2        3        4         1       2        3      4       1         2        3       4         1        2        3       4    
C chord with E melody F chord with F melody G chord with D melody C chord with E melody
This is similar to Exercises No 4, but the tremolo is twice as fast.
 
Click here to play all 8 exercises in sequence (32 measures)
 
Click here and tremolo along with a song using all 8 exercises (32 measures)
 

 
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