How to Vibrato an Open String

String vibrato can be played on guitar, violin, viola, cello and bass.

In order to play a vibrato, the finger holding the string has to rock back and forth. Sometimes a vibrato is called for on a note normally played on an open string. Since there is no finger touching an open string, it is impossible to vibrate the string. However, there is a way to create a vibrato on a note that is normally played on an open string. Violinists and guitarists use the technique to create a consistent vibrato from note to note.

Find the note that you want to vibrate on another string. Even though you can't vibrate on the open string, you can play the same note on an adjacent string. The nice thing about string instruments is that there are several ways to play a single note.

Place your finger on the note that you want to vibrate. Be sure to keep your finger in the same place and begin to rock it back and forth very quickly on the string. With practice, you will be able to play a vibrato effectively.

Continue practicing the vibrato until you are able to get a consistent sound and it comes naturally. Learning all of the alternative ways of playing a pitch on your instrument is essential to becoming a good performer. Practice daily to refine your technique.


Learning vibrato requires training the muscles and arm to work properly. It can take several weeks of practice before you begin to get a good sound.


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