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Thread: Vibrato while holding bent notes

  1. #1
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    Vibrato while holding bent notes

    Hi!

    I have real trouble with vibrato while holding bent notes, and I have no idea of how I can improve my technique. I'm pleased with my vibrato technique in general, and usually I achieve it by placing the side of my hand against the bottom of the fretboard and using it to pivot my whole hand, including my finger. This works fine if i'm not bending the string, or if i'm bending the string towards the bottom of the fretboard, but obviously I can't bend that way if i'm bending the high strings. I feel like this is starting to hold me back, so any tips, advice, stories of your own experiences, links to places I can get help etc. would be appreciated.

    Cheers!

  2. #2
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    hey spudder,

    sounds like you're doing it right so far. bending the b and high e string works with the same technique, but maybe you have to move your hand a bit mor to "the left" away from finger and fret you are bending at.
    for a vibrato on top of a bend you should take the note you where bending to as the new "zero level" and make the vibrato on top of that. watch out for getting flat when the power disappears.
    that is probably one of the most difficult techniques to absolve on guitar, but one of the most beautiful and valuable ones !!!!
    it'll take a while probably until you're happy with the results, but it will make you sound more professional. it seperates the boys from the men .

  3. #3
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    I wrap my thumb over the top of the fretboard - that gives you leverage to bend the high strings. The side of my hand is along the bottom of the fretboard, like yours, but you can't really use that for leverage when bending. It's more of a pivot point I guess.

    Doing vibrato on a bent note really doesn't involve any "special" technique, you're just increasing and decreasing the bend very rapidly. That just takes a lot of practice. If you can do a good vibrato on an unbent note, that's a good start.

    One exercise that I find helpful is to play along with some music, bending every note and vibratoing them as best you can. Like a solo consisting of nothing but bent, vibratoed notes. It's very tiring playing every note that way, but playing along with music gives you a bit more adrenaline than just playing along with nothing. You'll really exhaust your hand/arm muscles, but after they rest you should notice some results.

    Good luck

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    Not meaning to be picky, but wrapping your hand around the top of the fretboard is something to avoid whenever possible, in my opinion. It is definitely a less than ideal position if you want to maintain full technical facility. Also, I really don't think that it's essential to producing vibrato with bent notes. As phantom said, if you bend the note first, and then treat the bent position as the starting place for your vibrato, you should do fine. Beyond that, the only real issue is hand strength, which comes through practice. If you're having serious problems, start with half-steps and build your way up- it won't take long to see improvement.

  5. #5
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    Also, I really don't think that it's essential to producing vibrato with bent notes
    i think having a good vibrato is essential to sounding good and having control. no matter if the note is bent or not.

    if i remember correctly it was Itzhak Perlman who said that vibrato is the most beautiful thing you can add to a note.

    i agree as far as that it depends on the style you play. i can't think of a jazz guy who is using vibrato or bending. so for them it might seem not really essential.

    practice makes perfect, more practice makes more perfect .

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantom
    i think having a good vibrato is essential to sounding good and having control. no matter if the note is bent or not.

    if i remember correctly it was Itzhak Perlman who said that vibrato is the most beautiful thing you can add to a note.

    i agree as far as that it depends on the style you play. i can't think of a jazz guy who is using vibrato or bending. so for them it might seem not really essential.

    practice makes perfect, more practice makes more perfect .
    I was referring to the technique of wrapping your thumb around the neck as non-essential, not vibrato itself. I agree completey that it's a very important technique to have. Sorry for the confusing sentence.

  7. #7
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    oh alright,
    maybe i messed it up somehow.. my english is getting worse and worse since school.

  8. #8
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
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    I think he was joking ? But I read a quote from Robben Ford recently where he said that early on he found that he couldn't do vibrato on bent notes so he just decided he'd live with that??

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashc
    I think he was joking ? But I read a quote from Robben Ford recently where he said that early on he found that he couldn't do vibrato on bent notes so he just decided he'd live with that??
    That does sound strange. Robben can sure play some blues when he wants to, and he's got a wicked vibrato.

  10. #10
    fan of the G string curiousgeorge's Avatar
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    You can also use the weight of the guitar to add vibrato to bent notes. Fix your hand in postion during the bend and then use your forearm to sort of lift the guitar up and down to get your vibrato. This move requires less strength from the fretting hand.

  11. #11
    Junkie for soulful guitar metalprep6969's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curiousgeorge
    You can also use the weight of the guitar to add vibrato to bent notes. Fix your hand in postion during the bend and then use your forearm to sort of lift the guitar up and down to get your vibrato. This move requires less strength from the fretting hand.
    I wouldn't do TOO much of that though cuz you might look like some guy that's never done vibrato before.

    If I'm playing in a way that my hand is "to the left" of the frets I'm fingering and my fingers are diagonal from the alignments of the frets, I generally bring my thumb up over the edge of the neck. If I'm playing something different and I'm playing with my fingers parallell with the frets, I generally keep my thumb at the top of the neck, just shy of the fretboard. I really don't think bringing ur thumb up over the neck is bad, some of the best players do it and it doesn't seem to hinder them. If you're practicing something and it seems to get in the way, then take a different approach for that particular instance, but it shouldn't happen too often.

    Try this. In 12th position, bend the 15th fret G to A. THen kill the note but leave your left hand in the bent position. Then hit the A and slowly release it down to the G and apply vibrato when you get there. This shouldn't be too hard since you say you can already bend well and apply vibrato to unbent notes. Then do the same thing, bend down from A to G, but this time, don't release all the way down to G, but just sharp of it, and apply vibrato there. Once you've gotten that, release it to about G# and apply vibrato, and continue until you don't release the note anymore and just stay on the A. Hope that helps, let us know how it goes!

    \m/
    ...Like a child who's run away...

    ...And won't be coming back...

  12. #12
    fan of the G string curiousgeorge's Avatar
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    Hey,
    I've been playing guitar for 13 years and I still use the weight of the guitar vibrato as well as the thumb over top pivoting vibrato and they both sound fine. I know a lot of vet guitarists who do this technique, especially blues players. Who cares how it looks, it's the sound you're after.

  13. #13
    Junkie for soulful guitar metalprep6969's Avatar
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    Oh I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say DON"T do it. I'm not saying your guitar has to remain perfectly still when you're adding vibrato, I've just seen a lot of guys that can't get a good feel for vibrato with their hands, so they resort to violently shaking their guitar all over the place and their vibrato sounds like crap. I agree, it's the sound that counts, but I think it's important to get the feel with your fingers.

    \m/
    ...Like a child who's run away...

    ...And won't be coming back...

  14. #14
    fan of the G string curiousgeorge's Avatar
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    Cool

    ...and if I can add something. You should try to use your fingertips (close to your nails) for bent vibrato. If you use too much flesh, you risk slippage and you will be ill-prepared to jump into other licks from that point. Metalprep, no offence taken dude, it's all good.

    the Beav.

  15. #15
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    I'm not saying your guitar has to remain perfectly still when you're adding vibrato
    the remain control i'd say it should be that way ( well not always perfectly - if your doing the "falling on your knees when playing that high bend vibrato at a gig" then you'd better shake the guitar like your nuts )

    it's the sound that counts
    definately a true word. there are different ways to get there though. some have advantages and some don't.

    You should try to use your fingertips (close to your nails)
    curiousgeorge, have you done doublestop bendings? how?

    myself, i won't recommend fingertip bending as much as i don't recommend fingertip playing. flatten your fingers a bit in the fretboard to mute surrounding strings. doing a bend does not save you from string dampening ;-). a good bend and a good vibrato is about control - you gain control when you have a good grip on the string, plus you have more power. if you have the right bending and vibrato technique then strings slippage won't be a prob for you.

    well.. my 2 cents and i guess you can get a more different opinions if you wait longer .

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