In Depth Guitar Lessons and Expert Help


April 18, 2013

Guitar Vibrato Lesson

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Written by: Mike Abbott

Like string bending, vibratos will make a guitar
lick stand up and be heard!

  1. Vibratos are like many bends and releases
    strung together on the same note
  2. A release is when a the note moves from the bent
    state back to the non-bent state(bend the
    note in one direction
  3. Use the 1st and 2nd finger for 2nd finger
  4. Use 1st, 2nd and 3rd finger for 3rd finger
  5. Keep the left fingers that are on the note
    to each other
  6. Push and release the bend on the1st, 2nd and 3rd
    string, pull and release the bend on the 4th, 5th
    and 6th strings.
  7. There are different types of vibratos also: wide
    and fast, wide and slow, skinny and fast, skinny
    and slow
    . A wide vibrato is made when
    you bend the string farther, a fast vibrato is
    made when you bend and release the note more

Let’s start with a skinny/slow

  • Every time you release the bend, be sure the
    guitar string returns to it’s normal position
  • The wavy line and 1/4 written above the fret #
    tells you this is a skinny vibrato. If you saw a
    1/2 above the fret, it would be a wider vibrato.
    If you saw a 1 above the fret, it would be wider
  • After practicing Vibrato Ex. 1, try more
    on the fretted notes of the E
    blues scale(See Thrill
    of Soloing

See how a  vibrato note is written in standard and guitar tab notation

  • The easiest way to use vibrato in a
    guitar lick is on longer notes like quarter,
    half, or whole notes

Vibrato lick 1

See how vibrato is used in a guitar lick. This lick is written in standard and tab notation

Vibrato lick 2

This vibrato lick includes eighth notes also.

  • Practice vibrato notes
    first before attempting the guitar licks
  • Practice each guitar
    lick 3 times in a row (keep a steady beat)
  • Practice each guitar
    lick 3 times in a row with the metronome
  • Write out a vibrato
    lick with quarter notes and half notes.
  • Then write out a
    vibrato lick using eighth notes, quarter notes,
    and half notes
  • Practice each one of
    your licks 3 times in a row
  • After writing a couple
    of guitar licks, make up vibrato licks on the spot.
  • Make sure your licks
    are 4 beats long

About the Author

Mike Abbott
Mike is a pro guitarist and music educator.  He has performed with such diverse acts as the Rolling Stones Horns, Sammy Davis Jr., and Burt Bacharach.   After spending much of his music career in New York City, He now is a very busy guitarist in the Denver area, performing and teaching extensively. Mike's latest work is a book, The Guitar and Amp Sourcebook, published by Harper Collins and released in December 2012.



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