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Thread: Mando vibro?

  1. #1
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    Default Mando vibro?

    How do you do vibrato on mandolin - guitar sideways string bending style, violin style longitudinal finger rocking, varying pressure behind the fret, or everything that works?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Mando vibro?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    How do you do vibrato on mandolin - guitar sideways string bending style, violin style longitudinal finger rocking, varying pressure behind the fret, or everything that works?
    Vibrato isn't really a core part of the mandolin sound -- the lack of sustain/quick decay of the instrument means it's fairly infrequent that you're letting a note really ring a long time and the paired nature of the strings makes it both physically hard to do and makes it hard to sound really good.

    Generally speaking on a mandolin, when you'd be emphasizing a long, held note, you'd be using tremolo for that similar effect. You can use variable speeds and volume to help give that vibrato feel.

    4 or 5 string Electric mandolins do use guitar techniques and have longer sustains available thanks to electronics, so you could use vibrato that way.

    If you get an effect you like from either technique that you mentioned, then go for it, but I don't think about vibrator on the mandolin myself.

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando vibro?

    I am with KEB on this one. The short scale length, quick decay and higher tension of the strings, plus the double courses all seem to go against vibrato, and tremolo would probably be the choice for mandolin playing. But I am sure there will be players out there who have developed ways of getting vibrato from acoustic, 8-string mandolins.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando vibro?

    I think some of the choro players bend strings but they also use light gauge strings on their bandolims. Not sure anyone uses true vibrato though I suppose it could be done and maybe has been done on a slow piece.
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    Default Re: Mando vibro?

    I found this video, in which Caterina Lichtenberg explains, how tremolo is executed on classical mandolin.
    It's done in a sideways motion like in classical guitar, as opposed to an up-and-down-motion like electric guitar players do:

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    Default Re: Mando vibro?

    I do vibrato on mandolin the same way I do on guitar - rotating my wrist in alternating directions around the pivot point of the noting finger.

    Although on mandolin the technique is constrained by rapid decay, it has it's value to me - it's one more tool for being expressive.
    Clark Beavans

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  12. #7

    Default Re: Mando vibro?



    Having difficulty embedding this so here's the link to Tim Connell

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxzKoTIm_I0&t=463s

    You so often see it argued that vibrato is impossible on mandolin - because of the short scale length leaving not enough flexibility in the strings to do it at all, because of the lack of sustain meaning you'd never even hear it if you could do it and because the double courses would immediately send the intonation painfully off.

    That's why I love this video. It's not just a demonstration that it can be done - it's an explanation of how to do it and above all else a demonstration that it is worth doing.
    Last edited by des; Dec-06-2022 at 9:21am. Reason: embedding issues

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  14. #8

    Default Re: Mando vibro?

    Violin style.
    Only audible for a couple of beats, but adds a nice touch on slow tunes.

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    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando vibro?

    I would assume that most guitar players who use vibrato on guitar, who then pick up mandolin, would use some vibrato on mandolin. It would be natural, though adjustments would have to be made due to the characteristics of a mandolin, already described. Often when I make assumptions they turn out to be incorrect, lol, so maybe that’s just not the case. I certainly have been using small doses of vibrato on certain notes even on fiddle tunes, ever since I picked up the mandolin.

    Max, you’re making a broad generalisation about guitar vibrato (sideways bending), vibrato technique on guitar can vary amongst players.

    The videos from Catherine L. and Tim C. are the best I’ve seen on mandolin vibrato, and those have already been included above; check them out
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando vibro?

    Here’s the Tim video embedded:

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