Ben's Vibrato Odyssey 1

by Ben Higgins

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  • Hi everybody and welcome to my first lesson at GMC !

    This is part 1 in a small series of lessons focusing on vibrato and this time, we're taking a look at Classical style Vibrato. This vibrato is achieved by moving your fingers from side to side, rather than up and down. It can be quite tricky to get right.. and it will take a bit of work to get it to sound very effective.. but when you do, you'll be glad you put the effort in !

    One great thing about this type of vibrato is that it enables you to put more expression into notes that otherwise may be difficult to add vibrato to... notes on the high E string, for example, where it is difficult to use the standard 'up & down' type of vibrato as your fingers don't have a lot of room before they slip off the fretboard ! I find that classical style vibrato is most effective on the G,B & high E strings from the 7th fret and upwards. However, please experiment for yourselves and experience the variations with this technique.

    Classical style vibrato works best with your 2nd, 3rd & 4th fingers (middle, ring and little fingers)and is practically unachievable with your 1st (index) finger. As you can see from the videos, I use the fingers that are not fretting the note to strengthen, or bolster, the finger that is playing the note. This gives you more of a solid grip on the string and allows for a harder and wider attack. For example, if my 2nd finger is playing the note, then I use my 1st finger to get behind it and give it more 'push'. If my 3rd finger is playing the note, then both my 1st and 2nd fingers are behind it.. and if my 4th finger is playing the note then, you guessed it.... all of my fingers are being used to give strength to my little finger.

    The other things I'd like to mention are; please notice how I vary my speed with the vibrato. Even half way through, I might start slower then speed up to add intensity. The other thing is; I don't always add vibrato to a note straight away. You can wait as long as you like before you choose to put some vibrato on. This is where we get our control with our vibrato. We choose how, when and where we use it. This understanding brings us so much more freedom in expression and makes things very exciting indeed !

    I hope you have fun experimenting with this technique and that it will lead you to discover some new and exciting possibilites for yourselves !

    As always, if you have any questions then please don't hesitate to ask.

    So enjoy.... and remember, the only opponent is within !

    B Aeolian Mode:

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