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Thumbs and Vibrato

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Rimas, Feb 24, 2003.

  1. What do you guys do with your thumb when using vibrato?
  2. try using it as a Supporting Member...

  3. Shlomobaruch


    Dec 31, 2002
    Boise, ID
    Vibrato in any case involves the whole hand, so in normal positions it acts as a pivot point. If you'll imagine one of those wand metronomes, where the wand meets the base is how the thumb basically works. Unless you're asking how you vibrato *with* the thumb a la thumb postion, in which case the wrist becomes the pivot point and the thumb just rolls back and forth like any other digit... generally to be avoided, as a clear vibrato is more difficult to achieve, but sometimes any other fingering option would be even more problematic.
  4. Just checking, because Id never been taught how to vibrato on the bass, But Id always done it using the thumb as a pivot point and a "supporting Member". However on the cello I had been taught, and the thumb is generally supposed to be loose, and is not the same as the bass. Thanks ..
  5. HIJACK: I did not mean to be offensive, just my wicked sense of humour.
    BTW, You did not mention are you speaking vibrato
    in arco or pizz. My arco playing is crap, but I use strong vibrato in jazz pizz where ever it is possible.
    Makes my poor intonation a little less audible...

    More seriously speaking: the vibrato in lower positions ( where you keep your thumb under the neck ) should be a vertical movement. The thumb can work as a pivot, but remember not to press it against the neck so hard that it prevents your hand to move up and down naturally. The main thing is to keep the movement vertical, as you were taught in cello lessons, I guess.
    However, in thumb position the vibrato movement is angled from the fingerboard direction, more or less towards horizontal. This is just because you just go on with the same hand movement as in lower positions, the only thing that changes is the angle of your elbow and arm.

    Here´s a little test which explains what I mean.
    Try resting your left hand in front of You on a table. Lift up your wrist and arm with one finger, no matter what and shake the whole arm so that you support it only with one finger. Keep the finger arched as if You were pressing down a string in thumb position. It is easy to shake the whole arm from left to right, but it reguires different muscles to shake it back and forth. That´s the natural direction of the vibrato movement.