Watch the Breakdown 6 online guitar lesson by Andy Aledort from Slow Blues Power

Bar 6 ends with a vibrato-ed E note (second string/fifth fret). Vibrato is a technique wherein the string is shook, or moved side-to-side parallel to the fretwire on the fretboard, to create a wavering sound. Adding vibrato to any note, bent or unbent, will lend a vocal quality to the sound. All of the best blues guitar players have a strong handle on vibrato techniques, and will often use different types of vibrato—slow, medium, fast, wide, very wide and not-so-wide—to express different feelings through sound.

The vibrato used here is one that I refer to as a “forearm” vibrato, in that the wrist and fingers are held firmly, while the forearm is moved up and down, creating the sound of the vibrato through the “rocking” of the neck. The point at which the string is fretted serves as a fulcrum, and the neck is allowed to move freely.

If I were to vibrato the bent F# note, the note is fretted with the ring finger and the other fret-hand fingers are in line along the string behind the ring finger to provide extra support and control. When executing a bent vibrato, the vibrato technique must encompass the increment of the bend as well.