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How to practice vibrato?

Cainer

Member
Messages
354
His is really wide, isn't it? The main thing with making your vibrato sound good, is to have the pitch you're bending up and down to be consistent. Practice slowly raising and lowering to the exact pitch to get a feel for the tension you need to apply. Also, if you're using your ring finger to bend a note up or apply vibrato, make sure to support the string behind it with your second and first fingers.
It might take a while to build up the strength and control, but regular practice will get you there.

Hope that helps.
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,690
The fact that you aware of it, is a step in the right direction. So many don't even know...It's a signature. If you like Yngwie, you'll probably also dig John Sykes. Great, classy vibrato. Every player I've know that had a good vibrato, also had ears. They didn't learn so much from paper, but from listening, and learning by ear and it develops naturally and sounds right, not forced. Develop the ears, and everything comes out thru the hands!
 

jimification

Member
Messages
237
Yeah IMO Yngwie has REALLY nice vibrato. Did you try a scalloped fretboard ever? they really help you get hold of the string (and reduce the friction against the fretboard too).
 

muzishun

Member
Messages
6,482
Vibrato should be musical. IOW, in time.

But I don't know if you mean the technique, or the result.

Vibrato, is best when it rhythmically lines up with the song. Easy right? No.

Check out more than a feelin'...he is bending a full step in his vibrato, in triplets. A challenge!

Physically, that's a different thread.
 

bob-i

Member
Messages
8,766
In the 60s my sax teacher had running through vibrato exercises. I applied them to guitar and really felt an immediate improvement.

Pick a scale, any scale as long as it uses all 4 fingers. Start with a metronome very slow, 20 BPM and play a whole note with 6 vibrations to the beat. Keep the notes in tune and the vibrato in time. That's it.

Once you're comfortable with that, do the same bending notes, 1/2 step and whole step.
 

ripgtr

Member
Messages
9,665
About 20 years ago, I decided to relearn vibrato. I had a kind of fast, small vibrato and did not like.
It was really hard to unlearn and then learn new.
What I did was this. On non gig nights, I would lots of nights sit and watch tv and practice scales to a metronome. Well, I tried working on my vibrato like that, but kept falling back into the old way. So I turned off the metronome and just moved the finger up and down, I don't know, maybe once or twice a second, Really slow. It was really hard at first. but it got better. working slow to make sure it was even and to train my fingers, and then gradually sped up. The thing bob-i is talking about sounds about the same speed.

I had a lot of unlearning to do, but now I now have a bunch of different vibratos and vary them not just from song to song or different lines in a solo, but even within a single line.
I can't tell you how many hours I worked on it, it was a lot, best thing I ever did for my playing. After 45 years, I now have a vibrato I really like, ha. Well worth the time.
 

musicman10_1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,902
This might sound crazy but when I was trying to get a handle on it I used to practice my vibrato technique in the dark. It seemed to allow me to focus on what I was hearing in relation to what I was feeling in a more meaningful way.
 

kimock

Member
Messages
12,520
Yeah, I dunno. .
It's been a long time since I started working on it so maybe I don't remember step 1, but I think you might work on vibrato by getting anything that sounds even remotely like vibrato, get that good enough to be "personal best" and seeing what develops from there.

Not sure about the super-slo-mo approach, some stuff just needs to happen in real time to dial in.
Like dribbling a basketball. There's a frequency range or rate you need to work in.
Maybe 4Hz to 8Hz, with the mean being 6.1 for vocalists. .
Kind of a funny number, "means" usually are, but that's the ballpark.
Somewhere between 4Hz and 5Hz as you slow down you lose pitch center, and I'd think if you were looking at Yngwie style wide vibrato which could be more than a semitone, you might not be working on something that translates into results you can hear.

By the time you sped it up you'd be starting over, which is generally true for the mechanics of variable pitched stuff, fretted or unfretted. Literally different techniques.
Anyway, I'm sure there's a case to be made somewhere for very deliberate, sub-4Hz vibrato rate practice, but I think the OP is looking for vibrato width, which is probably something you'd develop after you'd stabilized rate.

So, in my very humble opinion, vibrato rate and pitch center would probably need to be developed before you could push for width.
If you were looking for a rate range it'd be four to eight cycles per second, and six cycles per second would be a fine target.

That's independent of tempo, vibrato rate would be adjusted to the nearest subdivision regardless of tempo.
Not the other way around. The range is still 4 to 8 Hz. You apply that range to whatever tempo.

The pitch center is at the top of the vibrato width, not middle or bottom, and you'd be within a few cents at the the top of the vibrato.
"Wide" in the sense the OP is using as a model would be +70 cents, not an easy target on fretted guitar for pitch center.

Might be best to start with a decent vocal quality vibrato and push it out from there.
I'm not convinced there isn't a lower limit to the rate you can practice vibrato and still be executing something you'd perceive as vibrato.

Ymmv, 02c etc.
 
Last edited:

amstrtatnut

Member
Messages
12,712
A really effective thing to do with vibrato is to bend up to a given pitch and then apply vibrato after a second or two. The trick is to record it so you can tell if youre in tune or not. After a while it becomes automatic.

Good luck.
 

aiq

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,474
Go over to a door, loosely grasp the knob with your fingertips, practice lightly shaking left and right until a smooth motion happens. Stiff wrist, but not excessive, just fixed.

Try it on the string.

Then again, what do I know? :D

I really just watched people and trying to copy them. One day I didn't fall off the bike.

Once something starts happening then the analysis is helpful. Up/down, Side to side for sustain, the little shake at the end of the bend. Fast, slow.
 

muzishun

Member
Messages
6,482
Yeah, I dunno. .
It's been a long time since I started working on it so maybe I don't remember step 1, but I think you might work on vibrato by getting anything that sounds even remotely like vibrato, get that good enough to be "personal best" and seeing what develops from there.

Not sure about the super-slo-mo approach, some stuff just needs to happen in real time to dial in.
Like dribbling a basketball. There's a frequency range or rate you need to work in.
Maybe 4Hz to 8Hz, with the mean being 6.1 for vocalists. .
Kind of a funny number, "means" usually are, but that's the ballpark.
Somewhere between 4Hz and 5Hz as you slow down you lose pitch center, and I'd think if you were looking at Yngwie style wide vibrato which could be more than a semitone, you might not be working on something that translates into results you can hear.

By the time you sped it up you'd be starting over, which is generally true for the mechanics of variable pitched stuff, fretted or unfretted. Literally different techniques.
Anyway, I'm sure there's a case to be made somewhere for very deliberate, sub-4Hz vibrato rate practice, but I think the OP is looking for vibrato width, which is probably something you'd develop after you'd stabilized rate.

So, in my very humble opinion, vibrato rate and pitch center would probably need to be developed before you could push for width.
If you were looking for a rate range it'd be four to eight cycles per second, and six cycles per second would be a fine target.

That's independent of tempo, vibrato rate would be adjusted to the nearest subdivision regardless of tempo.
Not the other way around. The range is still 4 to 8 Hz. You apply that range to whatever tempo.

The pitch center is at the top of the vibrato width, not middle or bottom, and you'd be within a few cents at the the top of the vibrato.
"Wide" in the sense the OP is using as a model would be +70 cents, not an easy target on fretted guitar for pitch center.

Might be best to start with a decent vocal quality vibrato and push it out from there.
I'm not convinced there isn't a lower limit to the rate you can practice vibrato and still be executing something you'd perceive as vibrato.

Ymmv, 02c etc.
I dunno about the pitch center part.

If it's at the top of the vibrato, then how do we duplicate this on an unbent note? Without whammy obviously.

The unbent note can only be vibrato applied sharp, while the bent note is to be shaken ONLY flat?
 

kimock

Member
Messages
12,520
Interesting, does this mean that all vibrato notes must be bent to?
No, it just means the majority of the unbent vibrato you hear on electric guitar is sharp.

Notable exception being the minor third which is 16 cents flat in equal temperament, and to a lesser extent minor sixths, major seventh, and raised fourth, all between 14 and 10 cents flat.

Depends on the vibrato width, but you can get away with more shake on some notes than others even if you are playing totally "flat-fingered".

Not pitch-flat, just down on the pads of your fingers playing side-to-side rather than up on the tips playing lengthwise to the string.

The majority of the in-tune "hittin' the note" stuff in modern blues-rock guitar is bent string vibrato tho for sure, yes.
Some of it sharper than the same note you'd find on the piano, some flatter, it just depends on where you are in the harmony.
 

kimock

Member
Messages
12,520
I dunno about the pitch center part.

If it's at the top of the vibrato, then how do we duplicate this on an unbent note? Without whammy obviously.

The unbent note can only be vibrato applied sharp, while the bent note is to be shaken ONLY flat?
You push the string toward the bridge to flatten it.
You can "bend flat", it's not hard, just not the first thing most guys figure out.
 




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