Tremoloa - Hawaii

Purchased in Bradenton, Florida, 1994

From Graciela's Notes

This instrument might well be called the Original Hawaiian Instrument. It has a Single Melody String upon which anyone with a tune to play can play. It does not require years of special training and practice. The soft, sweet, vibrant tones of Hawaiian music are produced as if by magic. The Bass Chords complete the Harmony and permit a wide scope of musical effects.  To play the Tremoloa  place it directly in front of you so that the bass chords are convenient to the player’s left hand and the single melody string can be played with the right hand throughout its length without difficulty.  To play the Melody String following directions is important. When the instrument is packed the roller rests in two felt holders. Lift the roller out of these holders and place it on the melody string. By so doing a spring on the opposite end of the roller bar forces the bar at right angles to the string. To play, take the celluloid pick between your right thumb and forefinger and move it until it is on the black line of the desired note and then pluck the string. The sliding of the roller as you move the celluloid pick produces the Hawaiian slide effect. Moving the pick a short distance back and forth rapidly after plucking the note produces the Hawaiian tremolo.  There are four groups of bass strings that are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4. Drawing the thumb or first finger over any one group produces a chord. The nail of the first finger or thumb is the best pick but a thumb ring may be used.  This particular Hawaiian Tremoloa dates back to the 1920’s so it is at least 65 to 70 years old. Í have never heard it played. Acquired this one, through a friend, at a Yard Sale in Bradenton, Florida in 1994.

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