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Vibrato Control and Poplar Trees

Posted by mudbug on Sunday, July 3, 2011

I've been working on vibrato now for a year and a half,  and was happy as a clam just to get some kind of wiggle at first.  Then,  after getting the first three fingers to work,  it was getting my little finger to join the party.  Man,  that fourth finger on the G string seemed to take forever,  but now that I have movement in all four fingers my focus has changed.  I realized that I was forcing my wrist into a hyper mode,  kinda like shaking up a soda bottle to squirt someone,  and my vibrato was sounding nervous and jittery.  So now I'm working on getting a slow,  narrow,  relaxed,  controlled vibrato. 

I was watching a Poplar tree the other day.  It's in the Aspen family,  and each leaf stem is attached directly to the branch,  so each leaf moves independently of any other leaf.  When there's a breeze,  instead of whole branches and groups of leaves swaying together,  you get this shimmering and shivering of the whole tree,  and I realized that's what I want my vibrato to sound like,  a silvery,  shimmering of the note.

7 comments on “Vibrato Control and Poplar Trees”

Bart Says:
Sunday, July 3, 2011 @7:26:04 AM

Kudos to you for your persistence, and also for the great image of the perfect poplar vibrato. I haven't tried to work on it for a long time, and your post makes me sad about that! Your report is a good encouragement to get back at it. To me, it is one of the more discouragingly slow areas of development with this thing, and with really limited practice time, I have to pick and choose, and I've just let that one go. But, here you are, doing it! Good for you!!! Maybe this will prompt me onward...

mudbug Says:
Sunday, July 3, 2011 @2:20:51 PM

Thankyou, Bart. "Discouragingly slow area of development".......well put and too true!

Big Turtle Says:
Thursday, July 7, 2011 @8:11:15 PM

Great imagery! I have had a terrible time catching on to vibrato and had put it on the back burner. I was trying the the high speed like you and it sounded terrible. Your suggestions and image encouraged me to get back at it.

mudbug Says:
Friday, July 8, 2011 @6:43:20 AM

Why thankyou, Jim! A beautiful vibrato will sound so nice in the gospel that you're playing. I'm glad you're working on it again.

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Sunday, July 10, 2011 @8:50:25 PM

Well I s'pose you're aiming for the Classical vibrato, judging by your fine tree anaolgy, and granted that approach is a poplar one, yet I still stand by--and whilst standing, finger--my "guitar" vibrato for the fiddle.

mudbug Says:
Monday, July 11, 2011 @2:58:35 AM

Humbled, whether "classical" vibrato, as you term it, or "guitar" vibrato, as you do it, is moot. What matters is imparting the feeling to the note to express your soul. Get it how you will. All else is just technical gobledegook.

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Monday, July 11, 2011 @8:43:27 AM

Well I sense you have a good "vibe" so I s'pose it's just getting the rato down.

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