Vibrato on guitar

Dynamic Vibrato

How to develop the ability to control the speed and feel of your Vibrato.

Level: INTERMEDIATE

You are where you need to be. Just take a deep breath

Lana Parrilla

At first I was thinking about writing an article on developing your signature vibrato technique. After all, that alone is what separates you from other guitarists. But if you break down anybody’s signature vibrato, it can be described with just three parameters: frequency, amplitude and timing. If you manage to find your own combination of these three factors, it will serve your recognizable attribute, your signature. On the other hand, however, it will limit you and your performance delivery.

What I find to be more useful is dynamic vibrato, which is dependent on rhythm, mood, and the song in general. You can, for example, start with a slow, deep vibrato and gradually accelerate it while the note is decaying. Or you could even do the opposite. The point is to be able to change the vibration speed and amplitude in real time, but it’s not easy since slow and fast vibratos use different muscle groups in your left hand.

Dynamic Vibrato

All you have to do is to play one melody focusing on the different vibrato frequencies. First start with the extremes – play a melody with only a slow vertical vibrato. Then practice the same melody with fast horizontal vibrato. After that – and this is the most complicated – practice on gradual increase and decrease.

The slower the vibrato – the bigger the amplitude should be.

The first analogy that comes to mind when you think of vibrato is breathing. Depending on the situation, your breathing is different. And depending on how you breathe, your voice and the way you speak can also be different. By being able to control your vibrato, you are in complete control of both the melody and the sound!

Your vibrato is a part of you signature style arsenal.

P.S. Don’t forget that using a vibrato bar on your guitar adds a whole new emotional level to your music.

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