Vibrato on the Mandolin

May 26, 2021

The effect called “vibrato” is the default setting most of the time for classical violinists and vocalists.

When the Beatles called in a string quartet for the recording of “Eleanor Rigby,” producer George Martin struggled to convince the seasoned, classically-trained session musicians to perform the entire session with no vibrato. And the musicians struggled to actually do it, so trained were they to add vibrato!

Even on the mandolin, for our colleagues in Germany and Brazil vibrato is an obligatory effect that is integral to their mandolin repertoire.

Yet, this simple, humanizing effect has essentially disappeared from the American style of mandolin playing.

In this lesson, you’ll learn what vibrato is, how to do it and when to use it to add life to your playing. 

Then you can take the technique for a test drive on these nice long half-notes from the A-Part of Vibraçoes, the piece I perform at the start of the video.


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