Bending with vibrato

One of the primary techniques that I’d like to improve is applying vibrato while bending. I’ve been practicing it for a while but just can’t seem to nail it and I’m stuck. I recorded a video of me practicing it with a blues lick. I first play the lick with a slide instead of a bend, then play with a bend as it it’s usually played.

I can’t put my finger on what I am doing wrong. I think it’s almost there. I feel it’s in the ballpark of being bent in tune but the vibratos just feels off to me. I tried to apply @twistor59´s advice here but not sure if I´m doing it right.

Any help is appreciated! Thank you.

Hi Nadim,
…It starts here
Here is the lesson ,

Hope this helps,


Your first mistake is you’re bending the string using your fingers and not your hand.
Bending with vibrato will always sound a little different that fretted string vibrato because bending vibrato goes to pitch then down then to pitch. Fretted string vibrato goes to pitch up then to pitch.

In other words you bend the string to pitch then release some of the tension then back to pitch repeat.
When you fret a string then add vibrato you raise the pitch then go back to pitch then raise it again repeat.


At the top of the bend, let the gravity do the work.
Basically, don’t try to oscilate around the top of the bend going up/down in pitch, just relax and go down a little and up again, and repeat. This is Justin’s advice from the last Blues club live session.

I also think you are practicing way faster than necessary. Get the mechanics down correctly at slow pace, then speed up.


What Stitch said, Nadim …

Instead of pushing the bend up with your fingers, keep your fingers mostly static, but rotate your wrist inwards, using rotational leverage to bend up, if that makes sense. The vibrato is much easier to control at the top of the bend then … by using wrist rotation.


Thanks for all the feedback! I was an a short holiday and couldn’t get back to this earlier.

I don’t feel I am bending with my fingers instead of my hand. But I can see there is almost no hand movement when looking back at the video.

I’d appreciate if you could also give some feedback about what’s sounding bad. I feel that I bend to pitch, but then the vibrato messes everything up (is my feeling correct?). Also, I feel much more comfortable bending with vibrato on higher frets (probably easier because there is less string tension). Maybe I should record that as well and watch for differences in the technique.

I will try to apply your feedback, record again and upload. Hopefully there will be some improvement.


I see it now. Practicing a bit more I can now tell when I am bending with the fingers instead of the hand and I’m able to avoid it. I am still not able to do it every time but getting there…

I will share a video with my progress hopefully during this week.

1 Like

Here’s another go at it. I feel/hear improvement. Please let me know what you think and what I should work on. Thanks again @roger_holland , @stitch, @Wishbone71 and @Boris1565 !


Looks better, it just a case of practicing.

1 Like

Don’t forget Nadim, Justin said in the BLIM string bending lesson, that he will be covering vibrato when bending in a future Unit. But as always some great advice here and good to see you engaging in the wider community. Getting better for sure !

Eagerly looking forward to that lesson. Although Justin already has a couple of lessons about vibrato, they are never enough (for me). I find it very challenging to maintain control of bends, especially on lower frets.

Looks and sounds better, definitely better than I can do. :slight_smile: I notice you are moving your wrist towards the neck with the bend/vibrato. That makes it harder to make vibrato in my experience, but looks like it is working for you. Not sure if there is a correct approach there.

1 Like

That was the only way I could get it right and control the string instead of it controlling me :sweat_smile:. I admit though that in some occasions the vibrato stops prematurely. Obviously I am still missing something with the mechanics.

1 Like

:+1: @nadim86