Add personality to your playing with Eric Johnson’s string stretching and vibrato techniques

Eric Johnson has been posting lesson videos to help support food banks during the coronavirus pandemic, and now the electric guitar great is back with his third installment, which covers string stretching and vibrato.

“I feel like those are a couple things that can add personality to what you’re doing,” he explains, demonstrating by way of a lick played first without any embellishment, and then again with some patented EJ flair.

Regarding string stretching, he says, “You can do half tones or full tones, or start high on the note, stretch and come down.”

As far as vibrato, Johnson outlines two types – the first, “where your hand’s free, without holding the neck,” and the second, “where you’re holding your thumb in the back [of the neck] like a fulcrum. You balance your thumb on the back of the neck and you just rock back and forth.”

And as always, Johnson ends the mini-lesson with a plea to donate to your local food bank

“I hope those two ideas might help a little bit and if you can please contribute something to a food bank in the city of your choice or in your area so that people who are maybe less fortunate than us can have food to eat for their families during this time,” he says.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.