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What is it?
Vibrato is a guitar technique you'll use to artificially pulsate the pitch of a plucked string with the fingers on your fretting hand.  This techniques adds tremendous effect to your playing and is used in all forms of music. 
* If you don't know what this is,
see how to read guitar tabs *
So you've got some techniques mastered?  Proceed to the next lesson - Beginner guitar Tabs

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Do you hear that extra vibrating sound on the second note?  That's vibrato!

Bending Vibrato
This vibrato effect is used by electric guitar players, to add dimension to riffs, licks and solo's when using guitar effects (or otherwise).  It can also be used by acoustic or classical guitar players. 

The effect is achieved by bending the string upwards and downwards in a rapid fashion.  If the bending motion is done too slowly it may sound like a normal string bend which is not what we want.
With bending vibrato it's a good idea to rest your thumb on the top of the neck and pull your bending finger towards and away from your thumb.  This helps add some stability to the bending motion.

A common problem that new guitar players have with bending vibrato, is that they'll bend the strings in a inconsistent pattern which means the effect sounds out of tune

I'm sure you don't want your guitar to sound like a cat scream (and distortion effects only amplify the terror) so practice this one slowly at first - using a metronome if possible.

Using Vibrato in songs
Vibrato is a skill that will take you some time to refine and now that you know what vibrato sounds like, chances are you're going to recognise it in most of your favourite guitar solo's or riffs.  Here's a very simply lick I put together which you can use to practice your vibrato.
Vibrato is one of the most expressive techniques guitarists have at their disposal and I'll be honest, the videos that I'm using might not give you the full spectrum of the possibilities of this technique.  That's not their purpose!  Their purpose is to aid you in making sure your technique is solid.

Remember, the idea here is to teach you the technique and make sure you do it properly.  It's a good idea to experiment with it on different kinds of guitars with different effects.
There are two different types of vibrato, both of them being accomplished differently.  Here's the first one:

Normal Fingertip vibrato
This vibrato effect is achieved by, once you've plucked a string, rotating your finger back and forth on the fret.  This adds a slight vibrating sound to the played note.  It might be difficult to understand vibrato if you've never seen it, so click play to see what it should look and sound like.

In this video, I'm playing the 7th fret of the 3rd string normally, and then I play the note again adding normal fingertip vibrato.  Listen to the difference:
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