Vibrato at the top of bends, struggling.

What's Hot
zepp76zepp76 Frets: 379
i have got my bends and vibrato down pretty good but I'm still struggling with vibrato at the top of a bend, do any of you fine chaps have any advice to help please? Every time I try it just chokes and sounds awful, it would be greatly appreciated if someone could help, many thanks.
0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
«1

Comments

  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6699
    First thing I'd want to know is what is your string gauge and what is your guitar setup like?

    Applying vibrato to a string that has already been bent means the tension will be higher than just applying vibrato to a string that has not been bent.

    So the factors on your end are physical control, which requires a small amount of strength but mostly technique and coordination.  And the factors on the guitar end are how much pressure is required, which is primarily dictated by the setup.

    If you have a very high action or thick strings vibrato at the top of bends will be harder to perform smoothly.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • zepp76zepp76 Frets: 379
    First thing I'd want to know is what is your string gauge and what is your guitar setup like?

    Applying vibrato to a string that has already been bent means the tension will be higher than just applying vibrato to a string that has not been bent.

    So the factors on your end are physical control, which requires a small amount of strength but mostly technique and coordination.  And the factors on the guitar end are how much pressure is required, which is primarily dictated by the setup.

    If you have a very high action or thick strings vibrato at the top of bends will be harder to perform smoothly.
    Thank you for your reply, they are standard gauge strings with a medium to low action (Les Paul).
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Are you using your wrist or just fingers to apply the vibrato? using your whole wrist gives a lot of control and helps with the coordination.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • zepp76zepp76 Frets: 379
    Are you using your wrist or just fingers to apply the vibrato? using your whole wrist gives a lot of control and helps with the coordination.
    Yes I'm using my wrist, no problems doing standard vibrato this way but it all goes to pot once I apply a bend.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 102
    Where is the choking of the note occurring? If you're touching an adjacent string, and are using two fingers for the bending, use one finger for the bend and the adjacent finger to not only aid the bending but also to dampen the adjacent string. Also, does the issue worsen with wider bends? If so, practice with smaller bends and vibrato until you're happy with the results.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • axisusaxisus Frets: 9886
    I've been playing for decades and just can't do it at all. For a great many years I had a problem with my fretting hand in that at any time I did a big bend I could potentially rip my nail from the nail bed. Bloody painful and weeks of recovery every time. Wiggling a bend at the top would be just asking for trouble. I eventually got away from this about 7 years ago (amazing after all these years!), but I just felt too long in the tooth to try and get bend vibrato going from square one. I kind of feel that it makes me a sh*te lead guitarist by default.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • carloscarlos Frets: 1246
    It looks like you have enough finger strength to do it. When you say choke do you mean the note stops playing, i.e. the string stops vibrating? In that case it might be your setup as the string could be catching on the fret and choking it. This will usually only happen in guitars with a high radius like a traditional Fender. 
    If it's not the setup, could it be you're not catching the string with the meaty part of your finger and it kind of slips away? It's really hard to help you without seeing what's going on.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • RolandRoland Frets: 1600
    The same problem has been haunting me for decades too, not helped by using 10-52s on a 25.5” scale. My conclusion is that we use several different vibrato methods in our playing, and some of them work differently when the string is bent. Classical vibrato, along the line of the string, doesn’t really work at all in a bend. Bending is normally done with a combination of two motions, pushing or pulling the string across the fretboard, and rotation the hand from the wrist. You can normally apply vibrato by pushing/pulling the bent string, or rotating your wrist, a bit further. Both of these motions need more fingertip pressure, which can change the shape of the fingertip. 

    Is this a case where your attempted vibrato is causing you to lose fingertip pressure on the string, or is it that the side of your fingertip is contacting and dampening the string? 

    When I’m applying vibrato to a bent string I find myself moving from pad towards the tip, like a dancer going onto tip toes, to avoid dampening.

    Look at how your finger changes orientation as you bend and apply vibrato. It’s your finger, and what works for you may be different to what works for another person
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • NPPNPP Frets: 131
    axisus said:
    I've been playing for decades and just can't do it at all. For a great many years I had a problem with my fretting hand in that at any time I did a big bend I could potentially rip my nail from the nail bed. Bloody painful and weeks of recovery every time. Wiggling a bend at the top would be just asking for trouble. I eventually got away from this about 7 years ago (amazing after all these years!), but I just felt too long in the tooth to try and get bend vibrato going from square one. I kind of feel that it makes me a sh*te lead guitarist by default.
    someone recently posted a very good video lesson by Robben Ford where he mentions he almost never does the bending and vibrato thing. So you can be a quite an impressive player without doing it if that makes you feel better. 

    Incidentally, I was struggling with the same problem with my nails for many years and I am slowly working away at bending and vibrato now. I find that it only works if I do the bend from the wrist, not the fingers which of course is the proper technique anyway. 

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • neilgneilg Frets: 12
    By coincidence I was just watching an interview with Paul Gilbert where he recounted a story of a conversation between BB King and Billy Gibbons, upon trying Billy's guitar when he was still using heavier strings, BB handed the guitar back and said "Billy, why are you working so hard?".
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • zepp76zepp76 Frets: 379
    Thank you for all the replies, I thought it was just me struggling but it seems to be quite common. I don’t think it is the guitars set up I think it’s purely my technique, when I try vibrato at the top of a bend I seem to be using the corners of my finger tips, that’s where the blisters/callouses are forming and it only chokes when I start the vibrato at the top of the bend it doesn’t choke when doing it normally. I’ll keep trying and take on any tips you fine gents can give.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • mistercharliemistercharlie Frets: 262
    I can do it, but if the string is already bent up 2 tones I just use the whammy bar for a bit of vibrato.

    In fact, on a Strat with a floating bridge, by the time you’re bent up two tones you’re already most of the way across the fretboard, dragging at least two extra strings along with you. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • KeefyKeefy Frets: 56
    I've never cracked this either, and I've bee playing nearly 40 years! I use 9s on Fenders and 10s on Gibsons (and Gretsch), so by no means heavy strings. When I've watched videos explaining this, they seem to be rotating their whole fore-arm. I just can't make it happen :(
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • carloscarlos Frets: 1246
    Maybe you need some scallops on your strat!
    What @Rolando is saying above is that your finger flesh might be going over the fret damping the string. You need to do it with as much control as possible and observe what you're doing. For what it's worth, I do my bent string vibrato by moving it up and down, increasing or decreasing the bend. I think side to side vibrato like a violin won't really work on a bent string as you'll lose your grip.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 464
    I cracked this recently after years of struggling with it.

    For me, I cupped the neck deeper into my hand, almost like I'm holding a ball, and the vibrato comes from hand, wrist and arm movement - when you get it right you'll recognise the movement instantly having seen other guitarists do it. 

    The palm of the hand sits below the neck, at 90 degrees to the fret board. That's the best way I can explain it. I stumbled across it playing barre chords, I think the barre chord position helps. 

    If you get it right the first finger, first knuckle, acts as an axis. 

    Good luck. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 714
    edited April 13
    There's some good advice already given above.

    One thing I'd add is that I've had problems when frets are too low, where I can't get enough skin under the string and there's too much drag off the fretboard.

    As you're OK with string bending, one exercise you could try is to bend up then release, then push up again slowly. Then increase the rate, gradually learning to control the rate and amplitude whilst trying to emulate that sound of players you like.

    People have different tastes. Listen to those that create sounds that are to your taste. You can hear my vibrato on this month's RotM#42. I used a mixture of techniques including whammy bar and unbent vibrato, but the last note is a bent string with finger vibrato. If you don't like it, don't listen to my opinion and look elsewhere.

    I generally play a Strat with a floating whammy bar. I find I need to use my ears to quickly acclimitise  when I switch to one of my other guitars with a fixed bridge and/or different scale length and string gauge.
    It's not a competition.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • SamgbSamgb Frets: 618
    I had for years assumed that i was doing it but then i started actually listening to myself and i rarely used vibrato on a bent note. I decided it was something i would work on and i am *almost* there. Takes time, finger strength and maybe lighter strings. The irony is that i had always had a lot of bends in my playing but i was almost gripping the strings too hard to do anything when i got there! A super low action is not going to help either you need to get hold of the string almost.
         
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 714
    Samgb said:
    ...A super low action is not going to help either you need to get hold of the string almost.
         
    I also struggle when the action is low, and I'm more comfortable with a medium to medium high action. However, I think some players seem OK with a low action, but perhaps they have frets that are on the high side to get enough skin under the string.
    It's not a competition.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • KeefyKeefy Frets: 56
    Fuengi said:
    I cracked this recently after years of struggling with it.

    For me, I cupped the neck deeper into my hand, almost like I'm holding a ball, and the vibrato comes from hand, wrist and arm movement - when you get it right you'll recognise the movement instantly having seen other guitarists do it. 

    The palm of the hand sits below the neck, at 90 degrees to the fret board. That's the best way I can explain it. I stumbled across it playing barre chords, I think the barre chord position helps. 

    If you get it right the first finger, first knuckle, acts as an axis. 

    Good luck. 
    @Fuengi any chance of a quick video clip? You could take it with your picking hand.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 464
    @Keefy a bit tricky, not so close to a guitar until Wednesday. I'll see what I can do. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • neilgneilg Frets: 12
    Levi recently had a video on this


    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 464
    edited April 14
    Keith Lemon gives a an excellent tutorial here. This is exactly how I do it, but he is much better! 


    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • KeefyKeefy Frets: 56
    Fuengi said:
    Keith Lemon gives a an excellent tutorial here. This is exactly how I do it, but he is much better! 


    That does seem to be causing him inordinate pain though, judging by his facial expressions!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • soma1975soma1975 Frets: 246
    edited April 14
    vibrato at the top of notes I bring the whole forearm into it. Sort of lock the wrist and bring more strength to bear. 
    My Trade Feedback Thread is here

    Been uploading old tracks I recorded ages ago and hopefully some new noodles here.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • SamgbSamgb Frets: 618
    Samgb said:
    ...A super low action is not going to help either you need to get hold of the string almost.
         
    I also struggle when the action is low, and I'm more comfortable with a medium to medium high action. However, I think some players seem OK with a low action, but perhaps they have frets that are on the high side to get enough skin under the string.
    Maybe. My tele is very much a modern guitar with nice big frets and is easier to get the bends and vibrato. my strat is a 50s CP and maybe the more old school frets are what makes it slightly more work to play  
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • zepp76zepp76 Frets: 379
    Some great advice here, thank you to you all. I seem to have gotten closer to my goal but it's very shabby, I think I've picked up a bad habit where I bend the string and then try for the vibrato by using the natural weight of the neck, in essence shaking the guitar by the neck and letting the weight do the work. It sort of works but it's not the best technique. I'll keep at it.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • soma1975soma1975 Frets: 246
    to be honest whatever works is fine. Otherwise none of us would have our thumbs over the neck!
    My Trade Feedback Thread is here

    Been uploading old tracks I recorded ages ago and hopefully some new noodles here.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • fastonebazfastonebaz Frets: 144
     study some videos of Angus Young. That's his signature stand out playing usp.  His bent string vibrato is second to none.  
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ColsCols Frets: 173
     study some videos of Angus Young. That's his signature stand out playing usp.  His bent string vibrato is second to none.  
    *cough* Paul Kossoff *cough*
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • mburekengemburekenge Frets: 493
    Cols said:
     study some videos of Angus Young. That's his signature stand out playing usp.  His bent string vibrato is second to none.  
    *cough* Paul Kossoff *cough*
    Indeed. In fact didn't AC/DC tour with Free back in the day? 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Sign In or Register to comment.