An Introduction To Electric Guitar:

Where To Start With Vibrato

The transition from strumming chords on an acoustic guitar to rocking out on an electric is actually a very simple one, yet it is made to seem more daunting then it is from the overwhelming amount of musical information found online regarding what new electric guitar players should be practicing.

I hear things like this all the time from new students; “there is so much information out there, and most of it contradicts itself, all I want to know is what am I supposed to practice to improve at the style of playing I like?”

If your a new, or improving electric guitar player and you can relate to the above statement then these series of FREE blog lessons are for you!

In this FREE blog lesson we will be taking a look at where new electric guitar players should be starting with vibrato.

Todays lesson will be an introduction to possibly the lead guitar worlds most important technique, vibrato! So without further a due let’s look at what it takes to execute this all important technique properly.

Holding The Neck For Vibrato

Great vibrato starts with how you hold the guitar neck. Your thumb should be wrapped over the top of the neck with the curve of the neck resting in the curve of your hand existing between your 1st finger and thumb. Holding the neck this way allows you to most easily execute the techniques necessary for great vibrato.

Gripping The String For Vibrato

Anyone who has ever studied with me will be well and truly aware of my hand position mantra; “Thumb in the back of the neck inline with the second finger, fingers curved at the knuckle and the distal joint”.

This correct way of holding the guitar neck will enable your finger tips to easily access the strings and it is the finger tips (not the finger prints) that hold the key to accurate playing, control, tone and effective execution of lead guitar techniques.

At first applying vibrato using your finger tips may feel a little bit alien and even painful, if so this is usually a sign that you play predominantly with your finger prints and that your left hand technique could do with some attention.

Executing Vibrato With Steady Rhythmic Pulses

Vibrato is essentially a small bend of around a ¼ of a tone. This bend is bent to the same pitch then released to the same original pitch repeatedly in steady rhythmic pulses.

The pulse of your vibrato should be controlled and steady, it should pulse consistently at the same rhythm. The standard rock vibrato will be bent around a ¼ of a tone and pulse 4 times within each beat of a metronome set at 65 BPM.

Play an A note at the 10th fret on the B string.
Fret this note with your 3rd finger, put your 2nd finger in the 9th fret and your 1st finger in the 8th fret on the B string to support your vibrato, remember that vibrato is essentially a bend, so standard bending mechanics still apply so remember to hold the neck with your thumb slightly over the top of the neck with the curve of the neck within the curve of your hand between your 1st finger and thumb and bend your A note at the 10th fret on the B string with your 3rd finger (as well as your supporting fingers) a ¼ of a tone, then release it to its original pitch.

Repeat this process being mindful to bend your string to the same pitch every time with the same rhythm. Now grab your metronome and set it to 60 BPM, return to the A note on the 10th fret of the B string fretting it just as you where before.
Now bend and release your vibrato along to the click following this formula:

1st Click; Pick. 2nd Click; Bend. 3rd Click; Release. 4th Click; Bend. 5th Click, Release. 6th Click, Bend. 7th Click, Release. 8th Click, Bend.

We are going to start this exercise at 60BPM. You will be ready to take the BPM up when you can comfortably execute your vibrato comfortably bending to the same pitch every time.

Next we will be taking a look at where to start with soloing.

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