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Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Dvorak, Dec 24, 2001.

  1. Dvorak

    Dvorak Guest

    Dec 17, 2001
    Ontario, Canada
    How do you do vibrato? I've tried practicing it but since I'm not sure how, I don't think it worked all too well :). Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I suspect everyone has their own opinion. Here's mine for vibrating on the neck (not in thumb-position):

    a) Listen to vibratos -- I'm not kidding -- get a sonic concept of what you're aiming for.

    b) Make your left hand into that perfect "C" so you're playing on your fingertips.

    c) Make your left forearm into that beautiful right angle, keeping your wrist straight and carpel (carple? car-pull?) tunnel open.

    d) Now you've got a strong pivot-point on fingertips. Rock them up and down gently.

    e) Many folks vibrate slower for lower notes.

    f) Above all, don't hurt yourself.

    Your mileage may vary dramatically. Enjoy.
  3. 1) I've always been taught that vibrato should come from the "rocking" motion of your forearm, not the twisting of your wrist. When I first developed my vibrato, I used the "twisting" motion and it took me a year and a half to relearn a more appropriate motion.

    2) Use a metronome to gain control of your vibrato. Set it at 60 bpm and start with quarter notes, then move to eighth notes, etc. Do this for each finger, in a variety of positions, on every string. It may sound tedious. But if you're serious about vibrato, it will payoff over time.
  4. .....now you have me wondering if I'm doing it right. I was told to relax everything and "work" the elbow...oh and when I'm all pooped out I move the string from side to side and seem to get the same result
  5. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Me too, if I understand you correctly. "Pivot point" was intended to refer to rocking the entire arm, from the shoulder, having the effect of rocking the forearm. I don't understand how you could rock your forearm without actually rocking your shoulder. My post says to straighten the wrist, not to twist it.

    For me, the most important thing is to relax and make a musical vibrato, not a nervous 'I wish a was playing a cello' sound.
  6. yea, the cello section always looks like their trying to start chain saws:D
  7. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    It's very important to practice different speeds of vibrato from the start. After a year of thinking I could vibrate properly I'm now having to re-teach myself to be able to do it at any speed I need.
  8. I was taught that vibrato requires an entirely different hand position than from the standard playing position.

    In the standard position, your fingers are more or less perpendicular to the strings and the wrist is straight. For vibrato, the forearm is twisted clockwise and the wrist is bent so that the fingers are at more or less a 45-degree angle to the string. That gives you more meat on the string.

    I don't know if I would call it a rocking motion, but more of a quick, downward push-push-push.

    Extremely hard to explain in person, much harder in writing.

    Your bass teacher, I'm sure, will work with you on it.

    You do have a teacher, don't you?
  9. dcardon


    Jan 31, 2002
    New York, NY
    Goin' out on a limb here, but the most helpful vibrato technique tip I ever heard was not exactly 'PC'. User your imagination. For most of us, the 'correct' motion is quite natural.
  10. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    Glad I'm not the only one that has been taught that description. Won't work with females though; unless they've...........well, I'll leave it at that.

  11. rablack


    Mar 9, 2000
    Houston, Texas
    Not to drag this too far down, but being right handed, well ... never mind.
  12. Hmm, I always thought it was in your knees.
    Finger the note squat, stand, squat, stand.
  13. I rock my finger back and forth, twisting my arm (sorta); not j-o motion, which I think would use a lot of extra energy and would be harder to control. I wasn't taught to do it this way, I just did it naturally and have never been corrected.

    I think vibrato is a very personal/individual thing. Everyone seems to do it differently, just watch any professional orchestra. Hell, Jeff Bradetich, in his video, takes his hand completely the bass except for the vibrating finger.

    If you already have a solid left hand technique, try do what feels right and natural and use your ear.
  14. Update: I discovered I actually do both. It varies with the fingering doing the vibrating, where I am on the fingerboard, and the speed of the vibrato.

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