Hillwood Music - All Things Guitar
Tod's blog


Vibrato is rarely discussed but is very important. It is to music what icing is to the cake. Vibrato is a steady change in pitch. It expresses emotion like nothing else. There are 2 ways it’s done on a stringed instrument.  
  1. – Think of the way a violinist or cellist moves their hand back and forth on the neck while playing a note.  On the guitar this is the most subtle type of vibrato. The idea is to keep the finger firmly pressing down on the note/string while moving the fretting hand back and forth or left to right. Changing the speed of the movement changes the speed of the vibrato. I use this type of vibrato for soft passages and for long tones, not short, staccato notes.
  2. – This is the most popular type and takes the longest to do well. Here’s the catch. With this type of vibrato the idea is to holdonto the fretted note/string and move the hand back and forth bending the string steadily. Anchor the base of the index finger to the neck. What beginner students do is move the fingers instead of the hand, which sounds like a spring going “boing”. It will never sound good or express the desired feeling.  
  There are 2 aspects of vibrato that must be mastered.   A)   The speed at which the pitch changes. i.e. slow – fast B)   The width. i.e. how much does the pitch change.          Practice these variations: slow and wide Clapton (bluesy and soulful) and fast and narrow (B.B. King).  The last thing to master is applying vibrato while bending a note. This is the most difficult but it’s powerful. When bending a note it’s important to first establish the pitch and then add the vibrato, not the other way around. Ever hear a opera singer or violinist with such a constant vibrato that you can’t really hear the exact pitch? Nasty stuff. There are many types of vibrato. Angus Young and Jimmy Page are 2 guitarists that have a vibrato when they bend a note that is distinctly British (o.k. Angus is Australian). Angus uses it half way through his solo on You Shook Me All Night Long and Led Zeppelin’s Since I’ve Been Loving You. Also, listen to the solo in All Right Now by Free. There’s soulful vibrato, 60’s San Francisco vibrato, of course all the many blues players have there own sound.   Finally and mysteriously to me I’ve never heard 2 guitarists with the same vibrato. It is a unique stamp on a person’s playing in much the same way that no 2 voices are the same. Listen for different types of vibrato in music and you’ll find the ones that appeal to you. Use different types of vibrato for different styles of playing and you’ll sound like a seasoned player.

2 Comments to Vibrato:

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ace on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 2:53 AM
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uk best essays on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 1:34 AM
There are a lot of people who are very into music. They are the one who will appreciate what you can do and will be willing to help you. People sing because that is how they express their feelings, but most of the people who sing don't mind if they are in tune or what. They don't care how it sounds like. We must be more careful if we want to sing, especially in front of many people. Singing can be learned, in order for you to sound good and get audience their attention, you must sing with your heart. This is a very helpful blog for those who wants to know more about singing.
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