How To Master Guitar Vibrato In 10 Steps
By Tom Hess
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No doubt about it:
Vibrato is the #1 guitar technique to master if you want to sound great.
Because notes without vibrato sound boring, lifeless & dull.
I learned this the hard way years ago, when I started to build my speed.
I quickly realized - although I could play fast, something was still missing.
My playing lacked feeling, fire & passion.
How did I finally fix it? I did 2 things:
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And I modeled the sound of my vibrato after my favorite singers.
This helped me create 10 simple steps anyone can use to master vibrato quickly.
What are these steps? Check out this video to learn them today:
Now that you know the basics, here is how to take your vibrato to the next level:
Advanced Guitar Vibrato Tip #1: Use Several Vibrato Styles In Your Guitar Licks & Solos
Want to know the fastest way to improve any guitar solo?
Mix up the way you use vibrato.
Use instant vibrato. Delayed vibrato. Delayed vibrato with re-articulation. Wide & slow vibrato. Vibrato with Rubato. And combinations of all of them.
It’s simple to do.
Watch this video to see how this tip improved the sound of one of my students’ guitar solos:
Advanced Guitar Vibrato Tip #2: Study Great Singers.
This helped my vibrato more than anything else.
What you do is:
Transcribe your favorite vocal parts and do your best to mimic the sound of the singer’s vibrato on your guitar.
Don't worry about technique or hand positions when you do this. Focus on the one thing that matters: the SOUND of your vibrato.
(Let your ears guide your hands to the correct motions.)
Want to see an example?
My all-time favorite singer is Fabio Lione.
Watch this video as Fabio and I improvise melodies together (and notice how I match my guitar vibrato to his vocal vibrato):
Advanced Guitar Vibrato Tip #3: Master Bent-Note Vibrato.
Bent note vibrato is much harder than vibrato on an unbent note. But when you get it right… it’s the single most beautiful sound you can play on guitar.
The biggest challenge about bent-note vibrato? It's keeping the bent note as the target pitch.
Plus, you have 3 options for bent note vibrato:
1. Raising the pitch above the bent note.
2. Lowering the pitch below the bent note (you need a guitar with a floating bridge for this).
3. Swirl the vibrato above AND below the bent note.
The 3rd type of vibrato is by far the hardest (and in my opinion – the best-sounding).Watch this video to see what I mean:
Want to see even more bent-note vibrato tips? Check out this guitar vibrato video by one of my top students Mike Philippov.
Advanced Guitar Vibrato Tip #4: Do Vibrato On Chords.
It’s no secret that many people prefer playing lead guitar over rhythm guitar.
Truth is: most people struggle to be expressive when they play chords.
This is one reason why playing lead guitar is generally considered “cooler” than rhythm guitar.
But what if you could apply a lead guitar technique (vibrato) to chords? Is that even possible?
Yes it is.
Check out this video demonstration to learn how to do vibrato on chords and sound great when you do it.
Bonus tip: you can do vibrato on double stops too. (For best results, it helps if you have a floating bridge.)
Check out this video to see great examples of double stop vibrato:
Now that you know how to master vibrato, the next step is to troubleshoot the rest of your guitar playing & fix your hardest guitar playing challenges.
How do you do that?Download this free guitar technique cheat sheet and take all guesswork out of your guitar practice.
About Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He teaches rock guitar lessons online to students from all over the world and conducts instructional live guitar training events attended by musicians from over 50 countries.Ready to improve your guitar playing? Read this page about online guitar lessons.
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