One of the innate characteristics of the human voice that we as listeners find to be so musical and pleasing is a singer’s ability to glide seamlessly from one note to the next, bending the pitch and sliding across micro-tonalities as they transition between a whole or half step. Just about every melodic musical instrument that humans have designed incorporates a feature of some kind intended to mimic this quality of the human voice.
Stringed instruments, including the guitar, are a perfect example of this. Like the human voice, stringed instruments offer players the ability to easily raise the pitch of a note smoothly across microtonalities in real-time using techniques called bending and vibrato.
In this online guitar lesson, shred guitar icon, founding member of legendary groups Mr. Big and Racer X, and ArtistWorks rock guitar instructor, Paul Gilbert, teaches his unique approaches to string bending and vibrato. In addition to providing instruction on the physical elements required to execute these techniques, Paul also delivers guidance on using these methods to add tasteful musicality to your licks, riffs, and solos.
“Bending strings is one of the coolest things that you can do on an electric guitar,” Paul explains. “Bending and shaking the strings creates such a unique effect that you can hear across all kinds of different rock guitar styles.”
For many guitarists, particularly in the rock and blues genres, the manner in which a player bends the strings, produces their vibrato, and integrates these techniques into their phrasing becomes a huge part of their sonic signature. Therefore, as you begin exploring these methods, be thoughtful about how you incorporate your bends and vibrato into your playing, and how it will influence the musical message you want to convey.
“How you execute your vibrato can convey a huge array of emotions,” explains Paul. “Sometimes I play a really smooth gentle wavering vibrato, and other times I put some anger behind it and add some speed to the vibrato and it conveys a totally different emotion.”
Bending & Vibrato with Paul Gilbert:
Have you always wanted to learn how to play rock guitar? Through our comprehensive guitar lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned shred guitar master Paul Gilbert, and get personal feedback on your playing.
Paul’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner guitar to advanced rock riffs, shred techniques, improvisation methods, and beyond. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as guitarists and musicians.