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Author Topic:  Jerk
Rick Aiello


From:
Berryville, VA USA
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 2:28 pm     Reply with quote

What does a high school chemistry teacher do on a snow day ... when he's sick as a dog ... grade tests, plan labs, etc ...???...

Nope, he tries to describe why Jeff Au Hoy's vibrato is so pleasing ...

Let's choose three positions on a string in an Au Hoy vibrato "cycle" ... The note being played (n) ... The furtherst point his bar reaches toward the bridge (b) ... And the furtherest point his bar reaches toward the nut (a).

No, this is not another discussion of rate and extent ... although it is interesting that studys show a clear decrease of the mean vibrato rate (−1.8 +/- 0.3 Hz) accompanied with an increase of vibrato extent (56.4 ± 0.3 cent) over the last 100 years among sopranos ... Keep reading .. Wink

For simplicity ... Initially ... lets just consider the straight line distance traveled by Jeff's bar :
A <---> B ... Call this distance "x" ...

The change in distance x as time changes .. is velocity (v) ... v = dx/dt

The change in velocity as time changes .. is acceleration (a) ... a = dv/dt

The change in acceleration as time changes ... is jerk (j) ... j = da/dt

The secret of Jeff's vibrato lies in his "jerk" ... No jokes please Wink

If acceleration changes are too abrupt ... well, its just not pleasing ... like an elevator that starts and stops to fast ... Riding in a car with a driver's-ed kid, etc ...

Yes, jerk is a "physics thing"... the third derivative of position.

The key to any smooth ride is to reduce jerk ... The key to Jeff's vibrato ... he reduces jerk !

His bar doesn't travel in a straight line between A <---> B ... It travels in an elliptical fashion (think more oval than circle).

Of course the net result of his bar movement is a straight line between A and B ... The elliptical nature of his bar movement ... makes his change in acceleration/time less drastic ... less jerk.

For anyone's vibrato on a string ... at point A, velocity is zero and the bar accelerates to point " n" where it reaches its maximum velocity ... From point "n" to point B, the bar exhibits a negative acceleration (commonly called deceleration) until it comes to a complete stop ... Velocity is zero ... Then ... well, yada, yada. yada Wink

By adopting an elliptical motion ... The velocity at A and B is still zero ... And at "n", its velocity is still at its maximum ...

But the changes in acceleration as "n" goes to B ... and as "n" goes to A ... are much more subtle ... Ala smooth

Jeff Kearns and I always chat about vibrato and on his last visit he brought this up ... Got me thinking of it, and this is the result (blame him) ...

I may never achieve "Au Hoy-ish" levels of pleasing smoothness ... But after 30 years of playing ... This old dog is changing his spots ... Oops, mixed cliché alert Wink
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Stephen Abruzzo


From:
Philly, PA
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 3:27 pm     Reply with quote

LMAO.......that was great too....an excellent study.

I agree that vibrato/sliding is best achieved via elliptical movement or bar/slide manipulation that implies something other than a straight line.

If you note that top-shelf slide guitarists do a similar thing when they slide from one position to another....they tend to slant the bar in the direction they want to go a smidge before they actually change position. Bonnie Raitt does this.
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Loren Tilley


From:
Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, USA
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 4:15 pm     Reply with quote

I was lucky enough to see Jeff play at the Halekulani last weekend, and I can authoritatively state that the magic in his vibrato was at least partially caused by the mai tais served at the House Without a Key. Wink
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David M Brown


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 14 Mar 2017 4:23 pm     Reply with quote

Loren Tilley wrote:
I was lucky enough to see Jeff play at the Halekulani last weekend, and I can authoritatively state that the magic in his vibrato was at least partially caused by the mai tais served at the House Without a Key. Wink


I've felt that magic before too.

I'd like to feel it again.

Seriously, interesting analysis of the vibrato of a master player.


Last edited by David M Brown on 15 Mar 2017 8:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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Andy Henriksen


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 15 Mar 2017 7:16 am     Reply with quote

It's entirely possible that I'm remembering incorrectly, but I thought on one of Troy B's podcasts with Alan Akaka, Alan basically corrected Troy's technique in the opposite direction of what's being endorsed here - Troy was playing vibrato with a sort of circular or elliptical motion, and Alan tried to get him to be more linear.

Ultimately, it just might be a matter of multiple ways to skin a cat, and everybody has their own style/technique.

Regardless, I really appreciated the analysis here! And, I learned about 'jerk' as a physics concept. Cool!
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post Posted 15 Mar 2017 7:32 am     Reply with quote

There is nothing like a really good vibrato. Jeff definitely has it.

That said, for my personal style, sometimes no vibrato is as important as vibrato. When I began to re-evaluate my own sound, I turned to my experience as a vocalist and what I learned from listening to numerous singers carefully. Sinatra was really the one who taught me the importance of control with vibrato and the strategic placement of it. Also, listening to many sax players made it clear that there is no "one size fits all."

Sometimes I think I can use a little more in spots, but it is difficult when you are being spontaneous to get it right.

Hope you're feeling better!
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Sebastian Müller


From:
Berlin / Germany
Post Posted 15 Mar 2017 8:57 am     Reply with quote

Ha Rick, I always love your approach to these topics : ) I think what ever works, one thing for sure, if you read some of Jeffs old posts he always cared a lot about other players vibrato, so no wonder that his vibrato is excellent, but yet has his own touch !
Get better soon, Rick !
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David Knutson


From:
Cowichan Valley, Canada
Post Posted 15 Mar 2017 10:23 am     Reply with quote

A brilliant piece of scientific observation, Rick (although it did sort of remind me of a recent fever dream). This brings nerdy into a whole new realm of artistic excellence! Nicely done. And ya, get well.
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Joe Breeden


From:
Virginia, USA
Post Posted 15 Mar 2017 10:39 am     Reply with quote

Well said Rick. Now I know why I am not good at it. Hope you get well soon Joe
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 15 Mar 2017 10:46 am     Reply with quote

At last! The secret of vibrato!

Quote:
The note being played (n) ... The furtherst point his bar reaches toward the bridge (b) ... And the furtherest point his bar reaches toward the nut (a).



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HowardR


From:
N.Y.C. & Fire Island
Post Posted 15 Mar 2017 10:46 am     Re: Jerk Reply with quote

Rick Aiello wrote:
For simplicity ...



Laughing
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Rick Aiello


From:
Berryville, VA USA
Post Posted 15 Mar 2017 12:56 pm     Reply with quote

David Knutson wrote:
although it did sort of remind me of a recent fever dream


I've had my best ideas from fever dreams ... Laughing

Anyway, figured I best stop at the third derivative of position ... the fourth (snap) dj/dt, the fifth (crackle) ds/dt and the sixth (pop) dc/dt .. start getting a tad strange ... those are the real terms ... dont know if Kellogg's got it from physics or visa versa Wink

Anyway ... I present "Exhibit A"

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fv4XrNr9AnI



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Scott Thomas


From:
Oregon, USA
Post Posted 15 Mar 2017 6:25 pm     Reply with quote

^^^
That's a beautiful performance. It never gets old. Jeff channels the greats, but has a touch all his own. I guess part of that being because every vibrato is a little different--like a voice. Another thing he does so well that gets overlooked is the way he slides into the target notes--a fast approach that comes up just short before almost squeezing it to its true pitch. This is a big key to the Hawaiian sound to me...as important as a person's vibrato.

Anyway, I love your analyses even though I don't understand the science behind it. I imagine if you taught physics, your students would be learning about Jeff, Sol, Iona, etc. as you used Hawaiian music for demonstrations.

My pet theory is that a person's vibrato tends to be the same rate as their vocal vibrato. A comparison of both Jeff's playing and singing vibrato would be interesting.
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Wally Pfeifer


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 15 Mar 2017 8:58 pm     Rick Reply with quote

Very Happy It's nice hearing from Rick.
Just don't go to dinner at Al's Steak House in Joliet Il. Rick will have the biggest steak in the place and stick you with the bill..
Just kidding. Very Happy : Very Happy
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Chris Templeton


From:
New England
Post Posted 15 Mar 2017 10:25 pm     Reply with quote

Jeff Au Hoy is God!
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Steve Marinak


From:
Delray Beach, Florida, USA
Post Posted 16 Mar 2017 12:25 pm     Reply with quote

I'd love to hear from Jeff, and any others on their Vibrato technique.

Do you consciously plant your left ring finger so it's immobile? Therefore doing a "Spock Vulcan" scissor?

Do you shake your whole arm?

Where's you get your concept of how to wiggle?

Thanks.
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Rick Aiello


From:
Berryville, VA USA
Post Posted 16 Mar 2017 1:55 pm     Reply with quote

I remember Jeff, Jeff Kearns and me sitting in an IHOP at 2:30 in the morning, eating pancakes and talking vibrato in Ft. Collins on a Saturday nite Wink

That was a fun time ... Smile

He plants that ring finger and lifts his pinky ... like he's applying vibrato on a Cello ... with that ring finger ... the middle, index, thumb and bar ... just along for the ride Wink

That's what I saw .. and I really was paying "close" attention ... what a treat, hope I get the chance to hang out again Smile
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Andy Costigan


From:
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Post Posted 16 Mar 2017 2:33 pm     Reply with quote

i had the pleasure of spending some time with Jeff in 2013 when i was in Oahu for a wedding. i asked him if he'd had trouble developing his vibrato. he told me "no" as he'd played cello at school!
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Steve Marinak


From:
Delray Beach, Florida, USA
Post Posted 18 Mar 2017 9:33 am     Reply with quote

Thinking about what you guys have said, planting the ring finger and letting the middle/index/thumb along for the ride.

I tried that out. It floats more. I had been applying much more pressure to the index and other two fingers. When pressing hard like that it's not as flowing for the vibrato.

Am I headed in the right direction?
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 18 Mar 2017 9:54 am     Reply with quote

I can see the cello connection too... I'm also reminded of BB King's "butterfly" vibrato when I watch and hear Jeff. It's a sweet sound!
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Last edited by Doug Beaumier on 18 Mar 2017 6:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Rick Aiello


From:
Berryville, VA USA
Post Posted 18 Mar 2017 4:31 pm     Reply with quote

Steve ... I can't handle the ring finger being the "vibrato" finger ... but have had a modicum of success using my pinky for that purpose .. especially on forward slants ...

I've done it so many ways in the last 30 years ... it's kinda ridiculous .. but to me and what I hear in my head ... the vibrato is the main thing ( I guess folks that have been on the forum since 2000 .. are tired of me discussing it) ..

I haven't played much since Ft. Collins 2015 ... spent the rest of that year working on Lee Jefferies' new NIB Trap pickups ... what an ordeal ... Wink .. then getting roped into teaching high school again, since Luigi started kindergarten, didn't need to be a stay at home dad anymore and an IB chemistry position opened up at Ellie and Emmie's high school

Then after Kearns visit in Feb, I started thinking again .. I showed my IB students Jeff Au Hoy on YouTube one day at the end of a two day lab .. and started to play again ... just as a diversion from day to day school shit.

Since it had been 1.5 yrs ... I lost any muscle memory I had acquired ... started with a clean canvas as they say ... and decided to try and emulate my favorite - Jeff AH ...sorry JB Wink

Jeff showed me and Kearns at IHOP that nite he had hyper-flexibility (commonly termed Double jointed) ... as did JB ...

Its like his hand has five distinct entities... moving independently... while mine move more like "lobster boy" ... Wink

But I think I've made some good progress ... adopting the "pinky finger" as the fixed vibratoing point ... and not even thinking about my middle, index, thumb and bar ... just letting it hang loose and do their own thing ... removed from any conscious control from me ...

Turns out they travel in an elliptical "orbit" around the note being played... producing the sound that has eluded me for so many years ... leading to me writing the post ... reduce your third derivative of position ... and let the good tone roll Wink
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