So I've been playing guitar for about 9 years and have come to the realization that my bending/vibrato technique is HORRIBLE! I've been using my fingers to push up on the strings rather than using my wrist to pivot my hand. After 9 years of somehow being content with my out-of-tune bends, I've been trying to adapt to the wrist technique and it's pretty frustrating trying to get used to it. My wrist seems to be too stiff to get a wide, fluid vibrato at the peak of a bend. Any tips on how I can improve this?
It's not an easy technique, so it's normal for it to take a while to get it worked out. The best way I've found is to take 5 or 10 minutes each day, taking an unbent note and vibratoing it in various widths and rhythms, and each time sliding down two frets (or one, or even three) and trying to match it with vibrato on a bent note. Start with slow deliberate vibrato rhythms, and with notes that are easier to bend. Just keep at it a little bit every day, and before long the improved vibrato will start showing up in your playing.
Thanks for the tip another problem I seem to have is when I do a full step bend (with the wrist motion) and try to add some wrist vibrato, the string I'm bending always seems to slip out from underneath my finger
About the string slipping - it sounds like your fingers are too much on top of the string. You need to get them just behind it, so your pushing against the string, rather than over it and kind of dragging it. If that makes any sense at all!
Some techniques I've seen people use are basically using your whole arm to do the vibrato, without having your thumb on the back of the neck at all, so your arm is somewhat stiff from your elbow to your finger including your wrist.

Another technique I personally use it to be very aware of where your thumb is on the back of the neck(every angle makes a big difference) and push up using my middle finger on the fretboard, and do slow "massaging" vibrato's and bend's. When you push up on the string if it slips out from under your finger you are not placing the fretting finger far enough underneath the string at first, or maybe not putting quite enough pressure on the neck with your thumb, but never use excessive pressure, bad habit to get into. Switch fingers after a bit and get the hang of it with each different finger on the fretboard. Hope that gives you something of use to try out.
Last edited by Adam Meachem at Feb 12, 2014,
Thanks Adam, usually when I bend I anchor my thumb around the neck to get more leverage
Quote by xDaFormer
Wait. are you seriously not supposed to bend/vibrato with your fingers?

You shouldn't use your fingers, using your wrist gives you more control and accuracy of your bends/vibrato. Trust me I used my fingers for 9 years and when I would try to do a full step bend I would find myself "searching" for the note rather than bending to pitch right away. I've been practicing the wrist method for a few weeks now and its a lot easier to hit the target note with full step bends.