“It’s the business card of cool guitar”: Paul Gilbert on the key to achieving good vibrato
Guitar legend Paul Gilbert has argued that the key to getting good vibrato lies in one’s wrist rather than the finger joints.
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In a new chat with Rick Beato, Gilbert – who’s known for his blistering speed and technicality – reveals that contrary to popular belief, there are some things he finds hard to play.
For starters, “any finger-picking stuff,” says the virtuoso [via Ultimate Guitar].
“A lot of my picking comes from stuff I can’t do otherwise,” he explains. “That Eric Johnson thing that he does with hybrid picking… I’ve never learned to hybrid-pick, so I tried to struggle through with just a pick. I can’t do it as fast or as well, but it toughened me up. I wouldn’t want to put that song in the setlist — leave that to the professionals.”
During the interview, Gilbert also shares how one of his goals as a kid was to be able to nail a vibrato similar to that of his guitar heroes. According to the guitarist, the secret to getting it right is all in the movement of one’s fretting hand’s wrist.
“As a kid, even early on the thing that, to me, was the business card of cool guitar — as much as I wanted to impress the grandpas with classical stuff — the thing I wanted, deep in my heart, was to be able to do Mick Ralphs’ Rock Steady vibrato, or Jimmy Page’s, the Ace Frehley stuff,” he says.
“To do that — the wrist is just a bigger body part than the finger joints. Post ‘85 guitar players started trying to use the joints [which] doesn’t work, but some people could do it. But it’s such a weaker body part. I found that my even elbow will come out if I have to do like a big [vibrato].”
Watch the full interview below.
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