Introduction to String Bending - Guitar Lesson

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Bends are a very soulful way of creating emotion with the guitar, using flesh against steel to alter and control pitches. All guitarists have their own unique, signature way of bending notes.

The row of tab staffs below show bends using the third, fourth or first fingers. The “B” above the staff indicates a bend, and the arrow with a “1” above it means to bend the note one whole step in pitch. First try the third finger bend. While fretting the note with your third finger, keep your first two fingers down on the string behind it and push upward using all three fingers. This will give you added coordination and control.

Use the same technique for the fourth finger bend, using all four fingers to bend the string upward. The first finger bend will probably be the hardest since you are only using one finger to bend  the string. In some situations, you may even pull the string downward with your first finger to bend the note.

The following exercise shows what bending looks like in context when playing a solo using the 1st
position A minor pentatonic scale. Play through this exercise and start to get a feel for how to incorporate bends into your own riffs.

Below is the audio to help you hear how bending should sound.

©2009 - 2013 Fred Russell Publishing, All Rights Reserved. This article can not be used without permission from the Author. To Contact the Author email jm@RockHouseMethod.com

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