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Thread: vibrato

  1. #1
    Registered User laggard's Avatar
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    Question vibrato

    Hi,

    I don't usually consider myself a beginner, but lately after watching paul gilbert videos I sure feel like one. Hearing his vibrato I couldn't believe how long I have neglected to work on mine.

    As a result, I have been working on my vibrato alot and I find that when I try vibrato on the high strings, particularly around the 12th fret, the strings really scrape the frets. The thicker wound strings really glide against the metal and aren't a problem. It's just the thin strings that are scraping. This bothers me because its like fingernails on a chalkboard and also, I really love my guitar Violet and I can't stand to do something that might mess her up. I have never even played her without washing my hands first. My first guitar, Betsy, actually has marks on the fretboard where I wore down the wood. I don't want something similar to happen to Violet, although I am actually more fearful that I might wear down the metal frets by scraping them.

    Does anyone else get really grating scraping like this? Am I treading into dangerous psychological territory by caring too much or should I lighten up and go a different route with my vibrato?

  2. #2
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laggard
    Am I treading into dangerous psychological territory by caring too much or should I lighten up and go a different route with my vibrato?
    Yes, and yes. Without any question in my mind. Naming an inaminate object should have been your first clue.
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 04-17-2004 at 04:34 AM.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  3. #3
    Registered User laggard's Avatar
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    Thanks for the response Bongo Boy.

    I'll keep working at my technique then until I can get a decent sound without scraping the frets.

    Perhaps I should also seek professional help. You know, a guitar teacher.

  4. #4
    Registered User laggard's Avatar
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    I didn't actually think naming one's guitar was uncommon. Violet has a distinct look, feel, and sound. I spend a lot of time caressing her, plucking, strumming, and even the occaisional pinching not to mention twiddling her knobs. Also, I need a name to whisper in my sleep.

    I was thrilled when I bought my V-Amp 2 and discovered that they made it so you could store a name for it in internal memory. I named mine Hans!

  5. #5
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laggard
    I spend a lot of time caressing her, plucking, strumming, and even the occaisional pinching not to mention twiddling her knobs.
    I don't need to know any more about this!!
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  6. #6
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Some of my Guitar's have names also.
    Pinky (RIP this was my favorite but I had to put her down since there were structural problems), BYRD (a home made firebird), Rose, Mucus (This is a strange pearl green Kramer that I called Mucus because of the color), Blackie (Black strat, Clapton calls one of his this also), '57 Chevy (its that damn seafoam green color!).RED or Crackle (the red cracle color). The two Takamines are unnamed as well as Several more electrics.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  7. #7
    Registered User laggard's Avatar
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    Excellent names szulc.

    My violet is also sort of named after her color. She's supposed to be "electric blue" but looks rather purple depending your distance.

  8. #8
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laggard
    I'll keep working at my technique then until I can get a decent sound without scraping the frets.
    Well, I can feel a little metal-on-metal too, as I learn my vibrato. From time to time I also feel my nails dragging across the fretboard. I just attribute this to poor form. No big deal, it gets better. I guess my feeling is that it's just a factory-made instrument...not a religious artifact. I wasn't serious about having a problem with naming your instruments, guys. Yup, I think it's a bit weird, but I fall asleep with my 'girls' too; so...who's the fruitcake?
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  9. #9
    Registered User laggard's Avatar
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    I definately felt that your posts were in good humor Bongo Boy.

    Thanks again for responding. I'm glad to know I'm not totally off the mark with my vibrato.

    I have a feeling that the scraping I have been getting lately is mostly due to technique, but probably party due to climate as well. It's very dry here. Also, like I said, I always wash my hands. I don't like a grimey feel. Perhaps the absense of hand oils is contributing to it because I noticed if I smear my fingertip against the fret before I start playing, it relieves the problem a bit. In any event, I'm pretty sure I'm giving this too much thought. I'm just going to keep working at it.

    edit:
    Oh yeah, also due to the age of my strings. I've been letting them get pretty old because of my budget. I usually don't hear a difference until after I change them but when I changed them yesterday, I knew for sure they were ready to be changed. The metal just gets a way after all that strain hardening that makes scraping so much more annoying. Changing my strings helped quite a bit.
    Last edited by laggard; 04-19-2004 at 03:15 AM.

  10. #10
    I, Galactus oRg's Avatar
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    I've named all my guitars.
    Ibanez GRX720 (black) - 7 string "brutus" it betrayed me at one point and busted me in the mouth.
    Jackson "chupie" it was an older model jackson that I got from the pawn shop and I cant rember the model but it had a white with black cracks paint job. Very much a shredder guitar.
    Ibanez RG150 "Cassius" the first guitar who betrayed me and fell on my toe.
    Fender Strat "Whitie" I named it this becuz it was a nice artic white. It had been sold to me by a friend who smoked alot so there was alot of tar stuck to the paint job. Very nice guitar and I loved it's tone.
    Gibson Flying V 1959 "I hate myself" I named it this becuz I loved the guitar then i got into a fight with my brother and smashed it to pieces. My parents weren't happy becuz it was the original 1959 flying V which was given to my dad by his dad and was given to me by my dad. It was a nice Candy Apple Red color. It was the days of youth and 5th grade. I had quite a temper...thank god ist has settled otherwise I wouldn't be playin guitar today...lol.

    As far as vibrato goes I would say not to worry about wearing down the crowns. It's bound to happen. The strings have to touch either the crown or the wood (for fretless guitars). Wear and tear are the nature of the business. It'd be nice to play on a guitar without having the crowns be filed down but it has to happen.

  11. #11
    Registered User laggard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oRg
    As far as vibrato goes I would say not to worry about wearing down the crowns. It's bound to happen. The strings have to touch either the crown or the wood (for fretless guitars). Wear and tear are the nature of the business. It'd be nice to play on a guitar without having the crowns be filed down but it has to happen.
    This makes me almost as sad as reading about what happened to your flying V. I know that you're right though. I hope it takes me a very long time to wear the crowns. Hey, at least it sounds like I'm doing something majestic when I put it that way!

  12. #12
    Registered User laggard's Avatar
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    followup

    followup:

    I've been working on my vibrato a lot. I have transitioned myself from using finger movements to using wrist movement.

    This has pretty much taken care of the problem that I described in the original post. Without my fingers overapplying pressure to keep a grip on the string while also bending it, the string isn't scraping.

    Thanks again to those who replied.

  13. #13
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laggard
    I have a feeling that the scraping I have been getting lately is mostly due to technique, but probably party due to climate as well. It's very dry here.
    I understand, I'm in Colorado Springs. Bone dry. But I don't think humidity provides much of a practical lubricant.

    I'm not an instructor, experienced guitar player or musician. But for amusement when you practice the vibratto, try applying the absolute minimum pressure needed to keep the string fretted and in control. See how little pressure you can apply without losing it. This should allow the maximum amount of 'finesse', and the minimum amount of distraction.
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 04-28-2004 at 02:55 AM.
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  14. #14
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by szulc
    Some of my Guitar's have names also.
    I have to admit it, all of mine do too.

    The 1st one is called "The 1st piece of s**t I bought that I can't play."
    The 2nd one is called "The 2nd piece of s**t I can't play, either", and
    the 3rd one is called "The 3rd really cheap piece of s**t I can't play at all."

    I'm convinced that if I would just stop buying these crappy guitars, I'd be able to play like [your favorite guitar icon here].
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  15. #15
    Registered User laggard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bongo Boy
    I understand, I'm in Colorado Springs. Bone dry. But I don't think humidity provides much of a practical lubricant.

    I'm not an instructor, experienced guitar player or musician. But for amusement when you practice the vibratto, try applying the absolute minimum pressure needed to keep the string fretted and in control. See how little pressure you can apply without losing it. This should allow the maximum amount of 'finesse', and the minimum amount of distraction.
    Hey, no way? I live in Pueblo.

    Anyway, I seem to have tackled my original problem. Using a wrist motion(the jaimey andreas method you described in other threads), I find that I am not applying nearly as much pressure.

    Your advice still sounds very wise. I've had tendonitus in two fingers so I always pretend that I'm putting my fingers sleep as I put them down on the strings. Sometimes I could swear I fall asleep myself while playing. I fret a lot lighter these days. I'll just have to work on vibrato and bends similarly.

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