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Need vibrato bending chops building help!

MasterEvan07

Where's that buzzing coming from...?
Gold Supporting Member
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4,461
Title says it all...I'm trying to develop a good vibrato in my bends but man it kills my fingers and it's never consistent or comfortable, but some players make it look so easy.

Can anyone help me conquer this technique?
 

Seraphine

Member
Messages
3,600
Size of strings may help... I remember when working Santana's style out years ago.. He uses really light strings and I favored heavy strings... so I took what I needed....
 

stevel

Member
Messages
15,138
I don't know if this might be one of your stumbling blocks, but for me, when I vibrato a bent note, it's not the same technique as vibratoing a plain note. Instead, I do more of a "release and bend back up" thing.

I would offer four exercises:

1. Practice by over-bending - overshoot your target pitch then come back down to it (once at a time).

2. Bend a note a half step before playing it, and then play it and bend it up another half step (pick the first note, but not the second). Relax back to the original bent half step note. Repeat until you can build up speed and get what basically is a half-step trill - but don't let the string relax - don't go down any further than the original bent up half step (so your moving between bent a half step up and bent a whole step up the whole time).

3. Do the same thing in reverse - start with a full step bend, pick it, and relax to a half step bend (not picked) and bend back up a full step - again never letting it go back to the unbent note.

Do both of the above and when you're comfortable with them, pick only the first note and move between the two full and half step bent notes. Also begin to experiment with less than half step difference between the two notes and speed up. Lastly, combine the two ideas to that your target note is either the highest pitch and bent up to as you vibrato, or your target note is in the center with bent up to and bent up from notes on either side. Doing vibrato from above the target note is less common (though it's like what you do with a tremolo/vibrato system).

4. Practice bends on thicker strings, or, on higher gauge strings than you normally use to help build up bending strength and endurance.

HTH,
Steve
 

dcarroll

Member
Messages
140
I can tell you how I did it:

I took time and was not easy but here is the real truth to practicing it and getting good.

Put your metronome on 60 bmp,

Bend up to the note on each click then go flat a bit then back up.

Repeat till your hands fall off.

A few months of that and you will be able to do it effortlessly.

I personally listened to lots of Peter Green during this period.
 

anderson110

Member
Messages
478
I can tell you how I did it:

I took time and was not easy but here is the real truth to practicing it and getting good.

Put your metronome on 60 bmp,

Bend up to the note on each click then go flat a bit then back up.
I'd add two things to this:

1. Try to mimic a vocalist: bring it up to pitch, let it breathe a moment, then ramp in the vibrato. You don't have to always do it this way, but it sounds good some of the time, in contrast to a "stabby" vibrato that comes in immediately.

2. It can further help develop control to work on a triplet-feel vibrato, where you're at the top of the pitch on the first click and the *bottom* by the next click, going back and forth:

Code:
ududududud
c  c  c  c
where u,d is up, down and c is the click.
 

MasterEvan07

Where's that buzzing coming from...?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,461
My fingers...how they scream in terror at the future ahead of them!

I appreciate the thoughts and will begin working on all y'alls suggestions ASAP.

It's funny, I had a great practice yesterday but today I couldn't play worth anything...I was very disheartened. It's frustrating to have such fickle fingers...that whole progress/plateau thing gets damned annoying sometimes.
 

dcarroll

Member
Messages
140
I hear you, just broke my picking technique again to redo it. Can't play a lick to save my life right now.
 

Jday413

Member
Messages
65
I would caution against over-bending. That is just practicing a physical task that has little musical application.

Practice bending TO pitch. Both half-steps (one-fret) and whole-steps (two-fret). Set the metronome at 60, play your target note for two-beats, then bend up to it and hold for two beats. Use a tuner. This will help train both ears and fingers to bend TO a pitch.

Enough of me. I'll let Carl tell you.

 

MasterEvan07

Where's that buzzing coming from...?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,461
Man...I never thought of all four of my fingers being trained for it. I was just starting to use my pointer and that hurts, but my wuss pinky...well, back to the drawing board!

Any recommendations about setup? I have a 12" radius SG that seems to work fine, but with my 9.5" Strat I always seem to be getting strings under my fingernails...would flattening out the curve of the strings help for a better bending setup on the Strat?

Any other setup concepts to aid in the slinky-ness of the strings (springs, angle of the trem, etc.?) my Strat feels kind of tight and I think I may need to revisit my setup concept.
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,927
Ya, when strings roll under my fingernail I know they are too high. I like to get under them, but not that far.
 

mjm59

Member
Messages
1,833
Man...I never thought of all four of my fingers being trained for it. I was just starting to use my pointer and that hurts, but my wuss pinky...well, back to the drawing board!

Any recommendations about setup? I have a 12" radius SG that seems to work fine, but with my 9.5" Strat I always seem to be getting strings under my fingernails...would flattening out the curve of the strings help for a better bending setup on the Strat?

Any other setup concepts to aid in the slinky-ness of the strings (springs, angle of the trem, etc.?) my Strat feels kind of tight and I think I may need to revisit my setup concept.
When you look at Carl's hand closely, he is using his other three fingers to support the pinky, it's not doing all the work by itself. As far as setting up your Strat, try floating your trem as much as you can (while still keeping the guitar stable and in tune) and this will definitely add more slinkyness back to your strings. You'll have to start compensating for the fact that adjacent strings will go flat when you bend (as in when you do pedal steel type licks that incorporate two strings), but it's not the end of the world. Good luck.


Mike
 

anderson110

Member
Messages
478
Man...I never thought of all four of my fingers being trained for it. I was just starting to use my pointer and that hurts, but my wuss pinky...well, back to the drawing board!
IMO, don't bother unless it comes really naturally. If you're gonna bend, use a strong finger for it (not a pinky). And always reinforce with the other fingers.

Any recommendations about setup? I have a 12" radius SG that seems to work fine, but with my 9.5" Strat I always seem to be getting strings under my fingernails
Strings always go "under" my fingernails, on the pads of my fingers, so I'm not sure why this is a problem.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,240
string gauge is kinda dependent on fret height; with big-ass frets, you can go thick stevie ray-style (it might hurt, but you'll be able to grab and push OK), but with little vintage frets, you'll likely need to go "old british guitar-god" style, with thin strings.
 

MasterEvan07

Where's that buzzing coming from...?
Gold Supporting Member
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4,461
I've had nines on my Strat for a while, just recently decided to move up to tens and am enjoying them on it. 9s are just too small...I have a hybrid skinny top/heavy bottom on my SG 9-46 (not really heavy) and that works pretty well.

Yes, anderson110 - they always go under mine as well, but I'm talking about the relative radius and going directly under and not on the upper pad of my fingers. I don't so much care for that and I dunno how flattening the radius on a 9.5" is going to affect my playing as I'm used to the curve on that...then again, I could just *gasp* experiment and see!
 

MasterEvan07

Where's that buzzing coming from...?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,461
I have been having some pretty decent progress with my pointer, middle, and ring fingers but don't know if I really feel the need to develop my pinky for controlled vibrato bends...I just don't see myself using my pinky in that application (but I'm a big advocate of pinky development!).

It's bloody hard to get good control with vibrato bends...what blows my mind is the guys who seem to be able to bend in such a way as to make it like the tremolo picking of vibrato bending, just crazy fast and wild...if that makes sense.

I like that kind of unbridled intensity and that is what I'm ultimately aiming for in expression...as more controlled bends are becoming more comfortable (slowly, but surely) the frenetic, intense ones I can't begin to touch yet :(
 

Badfrog

Member
Messages
1,267
Doesn't bother my finger near as much as my hand/wrist/forearm get sore/tired. I think it's one of those things (as others have mentioned) you gotta earn your keep and it's best to go slow and work your way up. Plan on spending several months trying to get a good vibrato on bends. I know it's something I seriously need to work on.
 

Motterpaul

Tone is in the Ears
Messages
13,322
I bend notes all the time and have a good sustain on them, but I have been doing it for 40 years. I do use 9s, I think they actually sound better, a little more pick sound and way more ability to use vobrato (because they are more giving).

One thing - when you bend up using your ring finger, are you also using your first (mainly) and possibly also your second finger to hold the string? This gives you a lot more ability to hold on.
 

ChazMania

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,719
That Carl V video was great- this bending vibrato thing is something I've worked on and rarely hear progress. When I hear recordings of me, it is the thing that stands out as bad. I've learned that I'm alot better with this on fixed bridge guitars than floating bridge guitars.

Gary Moore and old Michael Schenker are the Uber kings of this for my taste.
 






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