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I need your help with my vibrato
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
June 8, 2012 - 2:42 am
Member Since: May 30, 2012
Forum Posts: 24
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Hello everyone,

m8 here, and I've uploaded my first (cheesy) violin video. Lately I've been trying to get around the mechanics of vibrato, and I've been watching Fiddlerman's videos on arm, wrist/hand, and finger vibrato. I would really like some feedback from all you vibrato aficionados, to make sure that I have the basic movement down. Below is a video I just uploaded.


In the FM videos, FM himself mentions how it's bad vibrato to move the hand to the left and right (i.e. when he mentions the bad video), and unfortunately I think I've been guilty of using this bad vibrato years ago when I played a little in high school (the vibrato, if it could even be called that, is very narrow and limited). So now, I want to 1) confirm if the general motions used in my video below are correct [I know they're stiff ;)], and 2) That the general motion of moving the palm forward and backward (i.e. towards and away from the fingerboard) instead of left and right (when looking at the palm of your hand) 


You'll notice when I do an example of finger vibrato, I actually revert to this fast-paced shakyness. Is this the only case where the left and right motion is appropriate? I'm trying to break this habit completely, and believe it or not, I've come a long way already. Will the speed of this forward and backward motion really pick up naturally?


Thanks for reading all of this, I apologize for the length. I'm really looking forward to everyone's feedback. By the way, did you notice those strings on the Cecilio, I put those on myself. In all my years of playing the violin, I never changed out all the strings. Thank you FM and the FM community for giving me the confidence I needed.

Coleshill, Warwickshire

June 8, 2012 - 4:35 am
Member Since: December 15, 2011
Forum Posts: 1726
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Hiya M8, I'm a beginner at Vibrato and ages off officianiado status lol..
My teacher got me to start with arm vibrato.
Move the hand from first position to 3rd position, making sure there is no wrist flex by checking in a mirror.
Then increase the speed.
Then keep the thumb in first position but move the fingers as though going to third.( can't go all the way coz the thumb is now stationary).
Use the free movement of the skin on the thumb so the thumb still stays in the same position.
If the index finger is straight, it means there is tension. Relax and curl all the fingers.
Checking your video, it looks like a case of less is move when it comes to using the thumb, and your index finger is prone to point.
You probably kept each individual vibrato short for the benefit of the video, but while practicing, keep it going.
That's the view from my beginners perspective, how does your vibrato actually sound?

I am amazed at how old people of my age are.....


June 8, 2012 - 6:04 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
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Remember that I am not an old hand at this myself, M8.. But with most of it, it looked to me like your fingers were pressing down on the string harder than they need to.  That makes vibrato or any sort of slide harder to do.

And at about 1:00 on the vid, what you were doing there.. The 3rd and 4th fingers looked like they were rolling more across the string from right to left than up and down the string.   Maybe turn the palm just a little more towards you when trying to do vibrato with that particular move.  

But for me, at least, I find that it helps to lighten my touch on the string a lot.  Try touching the string with just the flesh of the tip of the finger and playing slides up and down the neck from the nut to where the body starts.  Find out how hard you actually have to press down to make a clean note while sliding.  If that goes easy enough, try taking the thumb and palm away from the neck so you are only touching it with the flesh of your fingertip and then slide up and down the string while bowing.  When you get that to work, let the thumb or palm just very slightly touch to steady the neck a little and try any of those vibratos with that.  Or maybe just a tiny bit more pressure than that, but still very very light.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

June 8, 2012 - 7:39 pm
Member Since: May 30, 2012
Forum Posts: 24
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Thanks TerryT and DanielB for your input

@TerryT Thanks so much for pointing out that stiff index finger, I never even noticed.

I'll try to keep the hand more relaxed too, that's probably the toughest part.

And believe it or not, I haven't actually used the bow with this recent vibrato technique (which I've only been working on for a few days) so I don't know how it sounds. I used to do this fake vibrato crap as seen @1:06, which doesn't sound too good. I want to totally break that habit.

Anyway, I actually just put on a new set of Pro Arte a couple of days ago and was trying to give the strings a rest.


@DanielB I think you're right about my pressing too hard. I feel so robotic (and almost a little frustrated) because I feel so stiff. I'm hoping the speed will pick up naturally in-time, like FM says, I just hope I'm doing it right too.

@1:06 you're totally right, that's a little bit of the bad habit coming out of me. I'm trying to work on this forward and backwards motion vs. the left and right.


I'm really wondering whether I have the basic directional movements correct (i.e. the palm moves towards and away from the fingerboard, which I've been referring to as forwards and back)?

King for a Day, Peasant for many

June 8, 2012 - 10:30 pm
Member Since: February 13, 2012
Forum Posts: 1813
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So M8, have you reviewed the many threads on this forum regarding vibrato yet? I know, there's a bunch and it'd take a long time to go thru them all.

Well, here's one that has like 3 pages of posts and videos and expert/amateaur advice. You should get a lot out of it. enjoy.cheers

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

Fort Lauderdale
June 8, 2012 - 10:59 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 13271

I think it looks great and you are well on your way. Keep up that kind of exercise and you will learn vibrato really well. I like that you exaggerate the movements and that will pay off later when you need less. Try not to point the first finger when using the other fingers, rather keep it close to the string so that it will always be ready to play when needed.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

June 9, 2012 - 5:43 am
Member Since: May 30, 2012
Forum Posts: 24
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Alrighty! I'll keep on practicing. smile

Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa

June 9, 2012 - 9:14 am
Member Since: September 10, 2011
Forum Posts: 1969
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You have an electric, just step om the vibrato pedal.

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