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Question for Fretless players and/or Instructers

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by CatfishStudios, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. Ive just started on fretless.."yesterday" ..and Im having a great time with it so far..My question is on the vibrato technique..Im used to guitar style vibrato..and am aware that I must use a cello or violin type vibrato technique ...Ive been working on this..but cant decide which way it is supposed to be..do I roll the finger slightly back and forth with the whole hand..or does the finger actually slide a bit on the fretboard? I hope Im clear on this its hard for me to explain..I get a cleaner but less pronounced vibrato by rolling the finger..and a wider sloppier vibrato when I move the finger.which sounds to my ear more like the recordings Ive heard...thanks for any info.
  2. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings

    Welcome to the world of Fretless!

    So, I have a fretless jazz, that I have strung with rounds.
    I don't have any epoxy or anything on the board.

    I used to use vibrato like a guitar player (Up and down) and it scratched the wood.
    So, I was told by my teacher here at school to use vibrato like a violin player (back and forth). It feels a lot better, and doesn't rip apart the board!

    Hope this helped :)
  3. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    It's hard to describe, but yes, you roll your finger back and forth. Use your thumb on the back of the neck as a pivot/balance point. Your finger shouldn't actually slide.
  4. Thanks, Thats what I thought...I was getting more sound or more vibrato by sliding a bit...but better tone by rolling..so sounds like I just need to work on my the method for a while untill it sounds better....Thanks guys!
  5. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    Why must you use "violin style" vibrato? I use both types of vibrato depending on what I am doing actually. If I am doing a slower vibrato, or pitch bending to a "microtone" I still sometimes bend the string.

    If I am playing a more "violin" type of vibrato, though, it will depend on how wide the vibrato is and how quickly I play it to determine whether I slide or roll my finger.
  6. Id just like to keep the rounds from tearing the rosewood fingerboard up...at least minimize it..my bass is 10 years old and has fretboard marking...I cant afford to have it surfaced and setup..and Ive read that the violin vibrato technique cuts back on fretboard wear...also sounds cool.
  7. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    Not sure if this willl help, but, from a cellists view on beginning vibrato...
    > Take your right arm, keep the elbow low, and bring the side of your hand with your thumb up to your left cheek.
    > Take your left hand and plop your fingers down on the top of your forearm
    > Place your thumb under your forearm opposite the middle finger. The fingers of your left hand should form a "C" with your right arm filling the gap.
    > pull 1,3,4 off your right arm and rock your 2nd finger back and forth. It should pivot in place.

    Bending notes and vibrato are not the same, although they can sound similar.
  8. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    Well, you can "bend" a note without playing vibrato, but you can't really play vibrato without "bending" a note.
  9. Bending a note and bending a string are two different things though, we are playing with semantics now :atoz:
  10. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    By the same token you can bend a note without bending a string, but you can't bend a string without bending a note. Hooray for semantics!

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