Your Guitar Vibrato Sucks? Here's How To Fix It

Tommaso Zillio

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What is the technique that most is responsible for how well your lead guitar playing sounds? What is the technique that elite players spend up to 30% of their time refining? What is that technique... oh my, I think I gave the answer away in the title already. It's your vibrato.

Once I did an experiment for fun. I played a simple solo, putting a "good" vibrato on all the right notes. Later I edited the solo, and I punched in some "bad" vibrato wherever there was a "good" vibrato before.

Then I had a few friend listening to the two versions of the solo, and some of them were guitar players.

To my surprise, they did NOT realize that the only difference was the vibrato on a few notes... they described the bad solo as "out of tune", "out of time", "amateur"... and the good solo as "professional and well-played".

Not only that (and here's the freaky part): they started talking about how the fast licks in the good solo were much "tighter" than the ones in the bad solo... but I did NOT change these parts! They were EXACTLY the same!!

This is what is happening: a "good" vibrato has a "halo effect" on the rest of the solo, that is, your brain is listening to the WHOLE solo, and when the notes in there have a "good" vibrato, your brain reinterprets everything it heard accordingly.

As strange as it is, this is what is actually happening.

Then again, you knew that already. Have you ever described a guitar solo as "having something special"? Go back and listen to it again, and pay attention to the vibrato. I can guarantee you, the vibrato is going to be excellent.

So the question is... what is a "good" vibrato? And how can you learn to play a "good" vibrato consistently so that your solo will sound good too? I explain all this in this video:

See, once the whole technique is broken down this way, it's not hard to train. And you can also see how a good vibrato is rarely a consequence of "natural talent": rather it is a learned skill. Which means that YOU can learn it too... so that literally everything you play will sound better. Enjoy!


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