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Giving advice on vibrato


Malpaugh

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I'm directing an ensemble with an 18 year old guitarist. He's a nice young man, works hard and plays well. However, his use or OVER use of vibrato destroys some of his lead playing. His vibrato is real fast and narrow and is kind of his crutch. When he runs out of ideas or holds a note longer than a quarter note he throws vibrato on it. It is just not soulful and it inhibits the rest of his playing.

 

He enjoys great players like B.B., Stevie Ray and Clapton. I've mentioned trying to slow it down and to use discretion but he becomes defensive. I don't want to discourage him or have him become self conscious.

 

Any advice on how to handle this would be greatly appreciated.

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Yhup; offer him listening examples of other players who use vibrato with variety. B.B. King, Clapton, and SRV all used vibrato with great taste and discretion, knew when to slow it down, change it up, and when not to use it at all. As Reif pointed out, David Gilmour always exhibited perfect control, taste and soulful feeling with his bends and vibrato.

 

Get him so sing and scat solo and fill ideas; taking time to breath suggests good phrasing sensibilities, and exaggerated Martian Ray Gun vibrato sticks out like a sore thumb when sung.

 

A wider vibrato can be very dramatic, fast or slow. Michael Schenker has one spectacular wide vibrato; his excellent bluesy hard-rock solos in songs like "Born To Lose" and others from U.F.O.'s Obsession are showcase examples.

 

Sometimes a bending note that abruptly ends is just the thing, other times a long sustained note bending and vibrato-ing does it.

 

Play some of the tunes from Kind of Blue and point out how soulful Miles could sound when letting notes fade whether short or long- without vibrato.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Have you tried recording his playing, and then playing it back for him?

Many people that think they have good singing voices, cringe when they hear a recording of their voice. Maybe he'll "hear it" when you play it back. Maybe not - worth a try.

SEHpicker

 

The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." George Orwell

 

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You also might want to help him understand the rhythmic component of vibrato... raising and lowering the pitch in some subdivision of the beat. That combined with how much he's raising and lowering the pitch will give him both amplitude and frequency control... which will give him a nice palette of options to choose from.

 

Also note that if the "held note with vibrato" is a crutch, then the vibrato itself may be the lesser part of the problem (more of a symptom, actually). Why is he running out of ideas? How's his understanding of the chords he's playing over and their related scales? Is there anything else you can think of that will unlock additional ideas and prevent him from going to his crutch so often?

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Are you a Holdsworth fan? If so, do nothing, it's probably just you...

 

:P

 

J/K - Kind of...

 

Maybe that's what he wants it to sound like. A recording is the best way to find out. Vibrato takes years to master and isn't "sexy" or impressive to a new player. So, he may need to mature to appreciate it.

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One way to approach controlling someone's playing, w/out being so obvious, is to have them match parts with another instrument.

Develop some arrangements that "require" that & then have him play to match the other player (sax, trpt, etc)---or, as it should be put, play w/the same contour.

 

d=halfnote
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It seems like it ought to be the other way around, but a slow vibrato is tricky to develop. It takes time. I agree with the suggestions about getting him to listen to some folks who have developed one, and to make recordings of his playing to compare, so he can hear the difference.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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:confused: By the way, Malpaugh, is he doing this fast break shake with his fretting-hand fingers, or with a whammy-bar in his picking-hand?

 

Maybe that's what he wants it to sound like.

 

Good call. :rawk:

 

Maybe that's what he wants it to sound like.

 

Vibrato takes years to master and isn't "sexy" or impressive to a new player. So, he may need to mature to appreciate it.

 

Truth. :thu:

 

Maybe that's what he wants it to sound like. A recording is the best way to find out.

 

Good idea. thumbs_up.gif

 

It seems like it ought to be the other way around, but a slow vibrato is tricky to develop. It takes time.

 

Truth. :cool:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Having taste in a technique like vibrato is learned with age, to help shape his idea maybe show him other things to ad as apposed to the vibrato.

 

As to someone to steal good vibrato have him listen to Paul Kossoff and Jeff Beck. Schenker has moments of greatness at every thing, and vibrato is always tasty from him as well.

 

Lok

1997 PRS CE24, 1981 Greco MSV 850, 1991 Greco V 900, 2 2006 Dean Inferno Flying Vs, 1987 Gibson Flying V, 2000s Jackson Dinky/Soloist, 1992 Gibson Les Paul Studio,

 

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Thank you for all these suggestions! I know this is going to be a work-in-progress with this young man and self-awareness will help.

 

I appreciate the suggestions on other guitarists and players with good vibrato. The Holdsworth comment was kind of cryptic so I missed that. Nevertheless, I am a fan of his. I also really like the idea of recording him and getting him to sing his solos and to match the appropriate vibrato for the tune.

 

Yes, I do feel his vibrato is a symptom of him not knowing what to do so he tends to rely on that as his go-to lick without considering it's usefulness or musicality.

 

Thank you all...

 

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whack his knuckles with a ruler while preaching the mantra "slow the F*** down, it ain't a race" worked for me...

 

;)

 

:mad:"How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?!" :freak::D:thu:

 

whack his knuckles with a ruler while preaching the mantra "slow the F*** down...

 

So, you're saying that such rapid, narrow vibrato is "the Fasterisk X 3"?

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. . . . :blush::crazy::D

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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  • 2 weeks later...

And once in a while, listen to Andres Segovia, the great classical guitarist. His use of vibrato and tone and phrasing were exceptional. He got more beautiful tones out of an acoustic guitar with nylon strings than lots of today's guys can get out a rack full of effects.

Yes, indeed he didn't play rock, blues and jazz - but still - he could take a rather routine classical piece and turn it into pure poetry.

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And once in a while, listen to Andres Segovia, the great classical guitarist. His use of vibrato and tone and phrasing were exceptional. He got more beautiful tones out of an acoustic guitar with nylon strings than lots of today's guys can get out a rack full of effects.

Yes, indeed he didn't play rock, blues and jazz - but still - he could take a rather routine classical piece and turn it into pure poetry.

 

Yes, indeed. :cool:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Recently Dave Mason played a show here-he is not someone who is on most peoples` radar for guitarists, but I remember seeing him on TV several times many years ago and I used to love the way he used his whammy bar for vibrato-it just sounded so fluid and violin-like and slow, in fact I think it would be a real effort do to the chipmunk thing with that device. I`m not sure how much of that comes across in his recordings but, if you can find some live videos I think it would be instructive-if the guy likes vibrato but has can`t get his fingers into another mode maybe whammy is a solution.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

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www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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I would emphasize that variety is important. You don't play the same licks and phrases for every type of song; you don't want the same vibrato for every type of song.

 

Yhup- or even all the way through the same song.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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or even thru the same phrase. playing classical music when i was a kid on cello then doghouse, it was ALL about "appropriate" vibrato..i used the same kind i use playing guitar sometimes, and they'd freak over it, as it is such a ballsy and aggressive kind in comparision to classic "normal" vibrato.

 

it all comes down to feel and taste, and application.

 

are you using vibrato to emphasize a note or passage?

 

emulate a voice?

 

sustain a note?

 

mess with chorusing/flanging/ddl repeats?

 

do ya go from hummingbird bb to sloppy bj kossoff over the course of a sustained note, or a legato phrase?

 

so many variables and types, yet in the end, it all comes down to taste.

 

i shut up now. ;)

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I just wanted to thank the OP for starting this thread, because over the last several weeks since I noticed it, I've been paying more attention to my own vibrato technique, and forcibly learning to slow my finger down and be less aggressive with it, which is yielding much nicer sustained notes and less "senior citizen choir" kind of sounds...
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Re: seasick eel-weasel:

 

Is an eel-weasel a cross between an eel and a weasel? Do eels get seasick? Do weasels? What do either of the two have anything to do with human beings playing guitar?

 

More to the point: does Eric have too much time on his hands?

 

Seriously, vibrato is very important in most guitar styles, and getting it right is well worth the effort!

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