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Dobro Lessons: Vibrato

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One thing that I wanted to talk
to you guys about is the topic of vibrato.
Now you're gonna hear me mention this term
coming up in some lessons and so
I just wanted to take a minute so show you
what this is all about.
So vibrato is basically when you play a
And you have a little bit of a sliding
A back and forth like this.
You hear it in vocals.
You hear vocalists do it.
You hear instrumentalists do it.
And on a slide guitar, we're particularly
set up well to make a nice vibrato.
So that's what it is.
That's what it sounds like.
Now what we don't want to do is use
vibrato to cover up intonation or
pitch issues.
You know, we want to make sure when we're
playing a note, we're playing it
right in tune, and we're not just using
vibrato to cover up maybe a pitch issue.
So you know, make sure that you're using
it for what it's,
you know, supposed to be used for.
Just to add some inflection and
a little sort of a human almost voice type
sound to what you're doing.
So you may wanna pluck a string.
Make sure you're in tune.
And then begin using your vibrato.
Now the way I do this, I'm gonna show you
really detailed here.
If I'm on a high string, I've got my bar
tilted forward and the pinkie and
the ring finger of the bar hand come in
really handy right here because
they're gonna rest on the low, on the
strings below and
give me a bit of an anchor so that I can
wiggle that bar back and forth.
It doesn't come from the elbow, it comes
more from the wrist.
And a little bit from the fingers.
you may wanna just practice that
You get your pinky and your ring finger,
they're not stiff, but they're there.
And there helping give you a little bit of
an anchor.
So the rest of this can move back and
forth and like I say,
doesn't come from the elbow, it comes from
the wrist and the fingers.
And so once again, I usually strike the
note, make sure I'm in tune.
And then begin the bi, vibrato.
And you want it to be at a nice moderate
You don't want it to be too slow.
You know, that creates sort of an odd
You don't want to be too fast.
I mean, you can, for effect, maybe
But, a vibrato that tends to be pleasing
is, is a sort of a mid.
And we also don't wanna go too far, we
don't wanna go.
Obviously, you know,
then you're doing more sound effects than
actually playing music.
you know, you just want it to be.
A little bit like this.
Back and forth over the, the fret marker.
You can do it slow.
I think the slower you go, the, the less
wide you want it.
Sometimes just a little bit can go a long
And so there's sort of two techniques you
can either do a back and forth.
Some people almost do like a circle.
Depends on how subtle or sort of
pronounced you want it.
But that single string vibrato you can
also do it, you know, with chords.
And here your bar is flat covering all the
A strum, say with my thumb.
And then just rock the bar back and forth.
You know, I'm not, I'm not rocking it too
much like this.
A little bit.
I'm using my hand and my wrist.
Still using these two fingers to anchor.
I'm going back and forth.
Now, you don't want it, the bar twisting
like this.
You want it to pretty much remain
I'll just be going forward and back like
Left to right
So when I play a note, say on this fifth
this is what vibrato sounds like.
It's sort of a vocal quality and it's
something that
we as slide players really should take
advantage of and, and sounds pretty cool.
So how we do this is we, if we're playing
on the high string,
we tilt the bar forward, we've got our
pinky and
ring finger resting and
we pluck the string and we go back and
Now, this doesn't happen from the elbow,
it happens from the wrist and
the fingers, and so,
you go back and forth.
You don't want to go too fast.
You don't wanna go too slow.
You want it to be a nice, moderate
And so what I don't wanna do is use the
vibrato to cover up any pitch or
intonation issues.
So a lot of times what I'll do is.
Pluck the string.
Make sure I'm in tune.
And then begin the vibrato.
And so again, I've got some pressure here.
The pinkie and ring finger are, are just
resting, they provide sort of an anchor so
that your wrist and hand can move back and
Now you don't want to go too wide.
Obviously, that starts to sound a little
Eh, you know, you can go pretty small.
And have just the small effect or you can
go a little wider.
And so, one way to do this is just the
back and
forth motion like I've been showing you.
Some people even can do.
Like a circle almost.
And so that's for single string vibrato.
If you wanna do a full chord vibrato, you
can do that as well.
I'm just strumming with my thumb.
and once again, I'm just guiding the bar
back and forth.
I don't wanna go too wide and I want, as
I'm doing this, I don't want the bar to,
to angle relative to the fret marker.
I want to stay perpendicular
and just have a nice left to right motion.
Again, pinky and ring finger helping sort
of stabilize
And a lot of this comes from the wrist and
the fingers
A little bit maybe from the elbow but
mostly from the wrist and fingers.
And, again, I want to make sure I'm in
tune and
the bar is lined up right with the fret
And then begin
my vibrato.