Crappy’s Guitar 101: Episode 3 Vibrato and Bending notes

          This may be the most ignored and over looked ability, while being one of the easiest things to do correctly, and when done correctly, sounds just great. Not to mention, extremely important. Vibrato and note bending is a close family member, brother really, to using the vibrato bar as I covered in Episode 2.
         Let’s say you can’t pick for shit. Let’s also say, your left hand legato or your left hand anything is also worthless, and you’re lucky to pluck a few notes. Well pal, you’re in luck. Because, being able to bend and vibrato will be the one thing you will be able to do. And, if you do what I say here, you’ll do it very well.
The Problem 1:  Shallow, Nervous, Uneven sounding vibrato and not to PITCH.
The Problem 2:  Bends that are not to PITCH.
The Fix :   LOOK then LISTEN.
         To vibrato correctly, look at the fret you’re on, then bend that note so the bending note will match the note one fret up.
EXAMPLE: You’re on the E string 15th fret, move to the 16th fret E string and pick the 16th fret E string note first to hear how it sounds. Now, go back to the 15th fret, pick that and BEND it up to sound the same as the 16th note, then lower it back down, back up, back down, back up, back down. Making very sure you are listening to only bend to that same exact note on the 16th fret E string, and then lowering the string back to it’s neutral, starting position. Do not bend it beyond the sound of the 16th fret note and don’t fall short of the 16th fret note. There, IT IS THAT EASY.
Bending a note is almost identical as using vibrato. Except….
EXAMPLE: Except you are bending beyond one fret most of the time. You are going to have to figure out a little in advance where you are on the fret board, and the note you’re going to bend to. In most cases, when someone who knows what they’re doing, they normally will bend 1-3 frets up from their starting point and know that the note they’re bending up to will make sense musically. Your ear is very important in developing both of these techniques.
           When bending a note, more so than vibrating, have your third finger (ring finger) on the note that’s ringing with the middle and first fingers helping the third finger to bend the note. Also, you can use the fourth finger (pinky) on the note you’re ringing with the other three fingers helping. The more fingers involved, the more strength and control you’ll have to do this technique correctly. When vibrating, I would still suggest using the third or fourth finger on the ringing note.
             For crying out loud!! Don’t pull a fuckin’ B.B. King, and vibrato with your first finger (index finger)!! It’s not because B.B. King is as wide as he is tall. It’s not because he plays his guitar laying horizontally on top of his fat gut. It’s not because he’s older than dirt. It’s not because he plays an absolutely hideous piece of shit guitar. It’s because doing what he does puts a lot of stress on your finger joint. And just because you might get away with it now, doesn’t mean you always will. And, you don’t know what kind of hand problems King has because of his uneducated, Lucille, crossroads bullshit. So, don’t be a fuckin’ wise-ass!!! Plus, you don’t have any control that’s worth a fuck!!
           A more advanced type of vibrato is what Steve Vai does. Stevie, try’s to vibrato as close to the way a violinist and cellist does, which is rocking your finger forward and backward. Doing this creates a true vibrato by making the note go sharp (pulling it backwards away from the fret) and then flat (pushing it forward into the fret).  Well, since a guitar has frets, this is very difficult to do well, if not borderline impossible and impractical. So what Vai has done, is to vibrato with a circular motion in order to try to capture a true vibrato with the pushing and pulling. You could also say he’s massaging the string.
          If you don’t have the time or desire to develop any other technical ability, and want to still sound good, then a little time to get this down and I mean get it down well, then these two things will give you the best bang for your buck. By far the quickest and easiest things to learn and master. Just don’t do it half-assed, because it WILL SOUND HALF-ASSED!!!
p. s. What the fuck are you waiting for??!!  Close your other windows with porn and Go!! Start!!!!!!!!



Episode 4 Legato below




Episode 1 Pickup Abusers


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