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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Three types of Vibrato
Three types of Vibrato
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Moon Cat
825 posts
Jan 15, 2021
6:48 PM
Hope yall enjoy me doing the best I can to explain three common types of vibrato here. Subscibe to my channel in addition to Adam's and many others for HUNDREDS of FREE instructional videos. Thank you!

Grey Owl
1086 posts
Jan 16, 2021
6:18 AM
Nicely done Jason. Butterfield, Chris and Big Walter Howard Levy...O yeah. Great photo of Chris btw.

Some folk prefer to label breath vibrato as tremolo, as vibrato involves a pitch change but I've always preferred to lump them together in describing a pulsing sound.

I've always loved Chris Michalek's mouth vibrato style, so smooth and sweet. I think he said he enjoyed playing it so much he'd almost forgotten how to throat vibrato. I also think he found it easier to vary the speed of the mouth vibrato pulse and of course he could use this technique on all holes blow and draw. This is the style I am working on at the moment as it just sounds so darned good and is less in your face and is more versatile than throat Vib.

It's funny because for some reason although I've always been able to play throat vibrato and I do like playing it when the song calls for it EXAMPLE, I can't do proper throat vibrato above hole 3 on a C harp or higher and I revert to a breath or mouth Vib it's as if my throat won't resonate at that pitch?

Grey Owl
1723 posts
Jan 16, 2021
12:21 PM
@Grey Owl - Restricting the meaning of vibrato to just pitch is a fairly recent idea.

Historically, anything that can put a pulsing ripple in a sustained tone has been called vibrato. In the harmonica community, for the better part of a century, chromatic players have talked about hand vibrato, which changes tone color and volume, but not pitch.

You can modulate volume, tone color, and pitch on the harmonica, using different parts of your air column (diaphragm, vocal folds, tongue, hands) to great effect. Looking at them all as linked systems that can be combined and layered gives a rich set of possibilities.

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Last Edited by WinslowYerxa on Jan 16, 2021 12:23 PM
Grey Owl
1088 posts
Jan 16, 2021
1:08 PM
Yes, I share the same view Winslow. Can't recall where I heard this counter argument but possibly on the Forum.

Grey Owl
528 posts
Jan 17, 2021
10:10 AM
Great and useful presentation, as always, Jason. Thanks for putting it out there!
Moon Cat
826 posts
Jan 19, 2021
12:35 PM
Thank you all! Especially Winslow for that historical information. A small group of people on YouTube decided to take time away from learning the techniques and indulge in semantics and arguments. HAAA! Tempting but fairly pointless. Glad yall liked it.

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