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Vibrato: The Key Ingredient to Your Own Sound

Instructors: Rick Graham, Richard Lundmark Total lessons in study:
Vibrato gives guitarists a unique sound and feel. Learn the best ways to incorporate vibrato into your playing so you can create your own unique personality on your guitar.

1. A Basic Overview of Vibrato

Free 1. Vibrato Technique - Introduction
Technique
Any Style
Beginner
Hi everybody and welcome to this tutorial on vibrato. This tutorial is the next step on from the previous string bending tutorial. I like to think of vibrato technique as essentially a different form of string bending in that they are both a manipulation of pitch for expressive means. Vibrato tends to be a repeated oscill...Read More
2. Vibrato Technique - Different Strings and Fingers
Technique
Any Style
Beginner
The next logical step is to take the basic principal we talked about in the previous video and apply it across all 6 strings. We are going to start with the 6th string at the 5th fret and we will do the semi-tone bend using a downward movement starting with the 1st finger. Please remember to use the whole wrist when you ar...Read More
3. Vibrato Technique - Applying Vibrato with Bends
Technique
Any Style
Beginner
Now we are going to have a look at a technique which I consider to be a very difficult one. What we are going to do is apply a string bend to a fretted note and then apply vibrato whilst holding the bend at the target note. This can present some difficulty as it does require a lot of control to do effectively but I have fo...Read More
4. Vibrato Technique - Different Vibrato Styles
Technique
Any Style
Beginner
So far we have only looked at the standard blues-rock style vibrato. There are other techniques that we can use to manipulate the pitch and while I very rarely use anything other than the standard vibrato technique, it is well worth experimenting with others as you may find an opportunity to use them to spice up your playin...Read More

2. A Technical Overview of Vibrato

5. Vibrato 101: Part 1 - Do's and Don'ts of Vibrato
Exercises
Any Style
Beginner
Welcome to this tutorial on Vibrato! In this video I've put emphasis on the 'show & tell' principle rather than tons of text for you to read, and enforced my video examples with the graphs below. So I won't be ranting too much in the text in this tutorial, but rather encourage you to watch it through. However, some wo...Read More
6. Vibrato 101: Part 2 - The Door Knob Vibrato
Exercises
Any Style
Beginner
So, the first vibrato technique we will look into is what I call the 'door knob' vibrato. The term refers to the rotation of the hand, rather than the fingers creating movement and exacting force. In this case there are two main things to always keep in mind; 1.) That you anchor your left hand index finger knuckle aga...Read More
7. Vibrato 101: Part 3 - The Push/Pull Vibrato
Exercises
Any Style
Beginner
So, probably he most common type of vibrato is what I have labelled the 'push/pull' vibrato. This is the vibrato that most of us learn from the get go. Grouping several fingers together (often) and pushing the strings by manner of extending your fingers (how much depends on the pitch of the vibrato, and the desired effect)....Read More
8. Vibrato 101: Part 4 - The Open Hand Vibrato
Exercises
Any Style
Beginner
This vibrato that I call the 'open hand' vibrato, IS what it's called. You're using a open hand around the neck, to facilitate greater, quicker, and more aggressive movement of the fingers and hand, and thus increasing the impact of the vibrato. This type of vibrato is most often seen (and heard of course) amongst texas blu...Read More
9. Vibrato 101: Part 5 - The Violin Vibrato
Exercises
Any Style
Beginner
The violin or classical vibrato is not something you'll find many players using these days, Holdsworth being one noteable exception. As mentioned in the vid, and exemplified below, it entails pulling and pushing the string along the length of the fretboard, thus lengthening and shortening the string. This will cause th...Read More
10. Vibrato 101: Part 6 - Circular or Elliptical Vibrato
Exercises
Any Style
Beginner
The circular vibrato is one of these things that looks cooler than it actually is. What it is, is a combination of the violin vibrato and the regular doorknob vibrato. You should try to move your finger in an elliptical movement along the string, creating a pitch that goes both above and below starting pitch. Used regularly...Read More
11. Vibrato 101: Part 7 - Chords and Headstock Bending
Exercises
Any Style
Beginner
CAREFUL here! You do NOT want to take these examples too far. Pushing the neck of the guitar back and forth in relation to the body has been a way to do chord vibrato without a tremolo for ages. Doesn't mean you should do it forcefully and all time though. It is however, quite pleasant and effective as a vibrato tool, so pl...Read More
12. Vibrato 101: Part 8 - Vibrato and Bending
Exercises
Any Style
Beginner
Bending and vibrato are pretty much like Love and Marriage, you don't see one without the other (to quote Sinatra). And having a good, stable, controlled and IN PITCH vibrato when bending is of course essential! In this first graph you see how a proper bend and vibrato should look (seems similar to the first one in part 1 r...Read More
13. Vibrato 101: Part 9 - Professional Vibrato Secrets
Exercises
Any Style
Beginner
So, what are these so called 'professional secrets'?? Well, what unites most players that have a reputation for excellence in vibrato (such as Gilmour) it is the 'vocal' quality of their vibrato that is most prominent. Just as with a singer you do not want them to use 100% vibrato on every note, or they would sound like Jim...Read More

3. Vibrato and Timing

14. Vibrato and Timing - To the Beat
Technique
Any Style
Intermediate
Welcome to this follow-up to the Vibrato 101 tutorial. As I mentioned in that tutorial, I thought that timing and vibrato merits its very own tutorial, so here we go. First of all, remember how we discussed the 'smooth and even' vibrato in the previous tutorial, to avoid using the 'EKG' vibrato? Having a smooth, and above ...Read More
15. Vibrato and Timing - Floating Time
Technique
Any Style
Intermediate
Okay, so what do I mean by 'floating time'? What this means is that you, whilst keeping your vibrato even, play faster or slower in relation to the beat. For example, one thing you could try is to set your metronome at 120bpm, and then practice the 16th notes. Then while still having that 16th note in 120bmp speed in your f...Read More
16. Vibrato and Timing - Improv Demonstration
Technique
Any Style
Intermediate
What I've done here is improvise over a 120bmp backing in Am. You can view this as either being pure Amin (A Aeolian), as I'm mostly doing in this improvisation. However, since the backing is largely situated around the G chord, you can also play the G Mixolydian scale, and make both yourself and the listener feel that...Read More
Audio Guitar Lesson
17. Vibrato and Timing - Backing Track
Technique
Any Style
Intermediate
And here's the backing track. As you can see it's in A min, but as I mentioned earlier, you can treat it as G mixolydian if you'd like. The chords are Amin7 (no5), Fsus2 (even though the G is an octave up doesn't make it a 9, since there is no third), and G5. A funny thing to note here is that our ears will tend to 'fill i...Read More