Lesson 3 - Guitar Vibrato

  1. About Bending
  2. Licks as Exercises
  3. Guitar Solo

All we know what vibrato is, some guys associate this word more with non-musical stuff. Though the principle is the same, vibrato is an essential guitar technique that gives "singing" quality to long lasting notes:

Performing vibrato

Play a note you wish to vibrate, and start moving your fretting hand up and down around the fret.

First time do it slowly. Practice performing vibrato on different frets and strings.

You might experiment with the amplitude and speed of your vibrato, as well as vibrating the string by moving your hand in a circular motion. You can also involve a nearby finger to help the vibrating finger.
guitar vibrato example

In guitar tabs, vibrato is denoted as guitar vibrato symbol symbol.

In text-based tablatures vibrato notation looks like a series of upside down little v letters:

1 |-------------------------
2 |-------------------------
3 |-------------------------
4 |------3^^^^^^^^----------
5 |-------------------------
6 |-------------------------

Play the following exercise vibrating notes of the A minor blues scale.

vibrato guitar exercise guitar tablature

As you can see the blues scale looks almost exactly like the pentatonic scale from the end of the previous lesson, the only difference is that the A minor blues scale has an additional note (at the 6th fret on the 5th string and at the 8th fret on the 3rd string).

Guitar Licks as Vibrato Exercises

I am, as an advocate of the approach "make exercising fun when possible" put a few licks down below that sound quite musical and apart from vibrato, involve the techniques you are already familiar with from the previous lessons - hammer on/pull of and downpicking. So it's a good opportunity for smooth integration of all these techniques within your skill set.

After you practice these exercises, we'll go to the next level, building a guitar solo using the licks as pieces of a construction set.

Lick 1
guitar lick 1 - trill and vibrato
Lick 2
guitar lick 2 - vibrato
Lick 3
guitar lick 3 - pull off and vibrato
Lick 4
guitar lick 4 - hammer on and vibrato
Lick 5
guitar lick 5 - vibrato

Guitar Solo

Here is a rock ballad solo that I composed using these licks:

The tab
rock ballad guitar solo

Note that the last two notes which are drawn one above the other in the tab are played simultaneously. The picking hand strikes these strings in one downward motion.

You can use your index finger on the fretting hand to press the 5th string, and the pinky finger for the 4th.

The minus one track to play along with

You can also download this track in ogg and mp3 format.

I'd like to suggest you again, when you manage to play the solo well, without mistakes, you might try to improvise above the backing track, looking for interesting phrases and ideas.

In the following video I recorded a part of my improvisation: