Vibrato Lesson 1 - Left Hand

by Marcus Lavendell

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  • ok, so lets talk about vibrato :)

    Vibrato is, in my opinion, one of the most important things to know about guitar playing because it gives your playing a soul. What it's about is that you change the pitch of the note (without moving to another fret), and there's basically two common ways to do that:

    1. using your left hand fingers to bend and release the string (most common).
    2. using the whammy bar.

    In this part we'll only go through the first and most common way.

    One thing you must know is that vibrato is pretty much unique of each player, and I can only tell you how MY approach is. As you all probably know by now - I'm mainly into the neoclassical stuff where we mostly use a very slow and "deep" vibrato and easily bend and release the string two, or even three half notes.

    You have to decide how you want your vibrato to sound; Do you like the slow and wide vibrato? or du you prefer it more faster and narrow? do you want it intense, or loose? maybe a mix of all of them?

    Don't be afraid to try out many different styles. I believe you will be influenced by many guitarists, and eventually you'll end up with your own style. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to copy another guitarists vibrato to 100%. So the chances to "get stuck" with someone else's vibrato is pretty small, in my opinion. So experiment with different styles, and as soon as you like what you hear - then it IS GOOD; if it sounds good - it is good.

    In this song I have included a few different vibrato styles (using the left hand): Slow & fast vibratos, and even while bending the string both up and down, or when coming from a slide or tapping note. It might be a bit overkill to use that many types of vibrato in one short song, but remember I made it as an exercise.

    In this PART I just want you to play along and try to imitate me as much as you can. The only thing I ask of you is that you really, really listen to your vibrato. In PART 2 we'll do the same song but only using the whammy bar.
    And finally in PART 3 we mix both methods together, and get detailed about the vibrato. We'll also talk about some great exercises to "polish" the technique.
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