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Post by Michael Messer on Jul 13, 2020 17:07:10 GMT
Pete is right that it does kind of just happen and every player has their own unique signature. However, many years of teaching has taught me how to explain and teach it, which is a lot easier to do on a guitar that with a computer keyboard.
The idea of vibrato is to make the note sing, not to make it wobble or be in and out of tune. It is not a cartoon comedy effect, although it is great used in that way. It is to make a note sing and that takes practice and control. Too wide and the note wobbles, too fast and it sounds stupid, too slow and it is not a vibrato. So it takes care and attention to detail to get it right. I see so many slide players using it a bit like using lazy ways to talk, in other words they do lots of movement and it kind of makes everything join together and allows the player to miss out the detail. It needs to come from a very relaxed arm, not just the wrist. It comes from the whole of your arm, from the shoulder right through to the finger and all the points in between need to be relaxed and not tense. Caress the notes out of the guitar and make it sing. Don't worry about playing blues, just get sweet, good, pure notes on the top E string. Practice simple runs of notes and slide into them. Try not to look a the slide, look at the frets that you are going to.
It's hard to answer this, and I know Michael will do it better than me, but I think a really, really important thing is to hit the note dead on and only then apply vibrato. It means that your listener knows where you are working. I always try to think of it like a voice. If you hear singers they will always hit the note first, sustain it for a period - may be short or long, and only then vibrato. Listen to opera singers particularly for this - they get more big notes and have the power to sustain them.
So much of this is personal preference, phrasing and interpretation. It's hard to have rules. There are always exceptions.
Last Edit: Jul 13, 2020 23:16:22 GMT by richclough
There are no rules for slide guitar, your best bet is to emulate players you like and hopefully develop a style of your own. All finger style vibrato starts will the true note (if the guitar is in tune) and sharpens it. Most slide players go each side of the note, just how far is up to you! There are plenty of videos of great players out there , if you can’t work out what they are doing someone on the forum will be happy to help. Pete
If you decide to get a copy of Michaels instructional video vibrato and most other important technical things will be covered. Until then, try to keep your thumb glued to the back of the neck when playing vibrato , this helps a lot to keep you in tune ( there have been a few great players who don’t do this , but I think it helps) In fact playing phrases between 2 or 3 frets ( particularly high up the neck) it help to keep your thumb in one place and move your hand, it works for me. Pete PS: Don’t look at any Little Feat videos, Lowel George was someone who manages to play without a ‘glued thumb ‘, there are no rules
I would disagree with the comments above, there is one rule Never go sharp when sliding up to note. It sounds terrible.
One useful technique is to rest the thumb on top of the neck rather than behind so that your hand/arm pivot around this point. This puts less tension into the system and allows, as MM. says above, you to relax your arm and hand.
Vibrato is something that you really have to use your ears to get it right, but to me there are some good ideas. As told already I always keep my entire wrist, elbow and arm as relaxed as I can. My thumb stays there behind the neck but still very relaxed. Brozman told me that I should imagine having a pudding in my hand and going back and forth making the pudding slightly swinging (in one occasion when playin' together I was a little tense and he shouted to me on stage “More pudding, Frank!”).
When playin' slide I never go up the fret but always “down and up to the fret”. But I guess that going “up the fret” a bit is something that our ears find fine, since that's what we do when we do vibrato with our fingers.
When I feel my vibrato is relaxed and good sounding, then I pay attention to the width and speed, according to my taste and to what I want to hear.
Lastly, what I find important is not adding vibrato to every note, otherwise it would loose the effect. In slide indian music, for example, you don't need it all the time. Hope it helps, Frank
With regard to vocals the teaching suggests that you want to avoid an indiscrimate application of vibrato, where its used at the end of every phrase at the same speed and intensity. My guitar teacher many years ago urged me to start the vibrato slowly and speed up as the note fades. I think the underlying issue has to with whether the player is actually paying attention to the expressive content. A heavy use of vibrato at the end of every phrase, for example, sounds good initially maybe, but it quickly becomes abrasive IMO, and starts to sound more like a bad habit than a useful addition to the phrase. Different lines should get different treatments...