The sound of your vibrato determines the quality of your entire guitar playing. Awesome vibrato makes anything you play sound great (or at least very good). Poor vibrato makes your playing sound amateurish, even if you play fast and clean.
It doesn't matter if you prefer wide and fast vibrato, slow and narrow vibrato, or something in between. You need a practice strategy that enables you to do any vibrato variation without limitations.
These tips help your vibrato improve faster:
Tip #1. Master The Mechanics
There are 4 guitar technique elements that make this technique easy to do. You must wrap the thumb over the neck of the guitar, use more than one finger to perform vibrato, angle the finger the correct way and use arm rotation vs. finger flexion to perform the technique.
This video shows the easy way to master proper vibrato mechanics:
Note: of course there are many different ways to play/practice vibrato. That said, some approaches make vibrato easier to learn than others. The mechanics in the video make vibrato simple to learn, so you can make rapid improvements in your playing.
Tip #2. Train Your Ear
Your ears gives you feedback on the sound of your vibrato. Your hands make the right adjustments based on the feedback from your ears. Good sounding vibrato must be:
• In tune - it must not make the note you are playing sharp.
• Controlled and consistent - the speed and width of the pulses of your vibrato must stay consistent while vibrato is applied.
• Balanced - Very wide vibrato is usually done fast and narrow vibrato is usually slowly (most of the time).
Your ears must determine if your vibrato is (or isn’t) in tune, controlled and balanced.
Make a deliberate choice of how you want your vibrato to sound (to fit your style) and train your hands to produce that sound.
Tip #3. (Slightly) Exaggerate The Sound Of Your Vibrato During Your Guitar Practice
Fast and wide vibrato requires a lot more control than slow and narrow vibrato. Practice making your vibrato (a bit) faster and wider during your guitar practice than you intend to use in your actual guitar playing. This makes slower and more subtle vibrato much easier to achieve in your guitar licks and solos.
Tip #4. Track Progress With Your Vibrato Technique
You can track progress with your vibrato playing the same exact way you track progress with any other technique…by using a metronome. This article (and video) shows the process for tracking your progress with vibrato.
Implement these tips to master vibrato more quickly and make your lead guitar playing more expressive.
About the Author:
Mike Philippov is a guitarist in progressive rock and neo-classical styles. His expertise is in guitar technique training and perfect guitar practice coaching.