Unison Bends - Guitar Lesson from Mark Daniel

Unison Bends

By: Mark Daniel

In this lesson we will be enhancing the bending technique. Bending is recognized as one of the most defining techniques for guitar and has become an incredibly important aspect to guitar playing. Many times you can recognize a guitar player not only by his signature tone but just by his bending technique. Bending your strings on your guitar can add punches and accents where they may have not been as well as add additional soul and emotion to your lead playing. Unlike the single string bends taught in John McCarthy’s bending lesson, these bends will use multiple strings at the same time. So lets step up our bends from using one string to two strings!

Example 1 The Unison Bend on the G and B Strings. This is a popular technique that is used in all genres of music. Place your 3rd finger (ring finger) on the 7th fret of the G String and your 1st finger (index finger) on the 5th fret of the B String. Strike both strings only once (G and B Strings) at the same time while bending only the G string up a whole step. * Do Not Bend the B String! The B string stays stationary, with only the G String being bent upward. When done properly the bent G string note and B string note should match in pitch creating a wide open rich sound.

Example 2 Walking up a few frets while using the Unison Bend. Keep your fingers in the same positions they are in. You only have to move your hand up the fret board. Take it slow your first few times so that you can master this and move on. Also try moving down the neck. A great example of this can be heard on Motley Crue’s song; Shout at The Devil. You will hear it right before the vocals begin in the songs intro section also check out Jimi Hendrix’s Highway Chile. The main riff is all walking unison bends.

Example 3 The Double Pump. After mastering the above techniques move onto the Double Pump Unison Bend. Much like the above unison bends only one strike of the strings is required. Strike both the G and B strings simultaneously and bend again only the G string up a whole step, then bring it down to its original non-bent position and pump it up one more time. This is done rather quickly and all during one strike of the strings.

Example 4 The Double Pump Unison Bend moved up the neck. The Double Pump Unison Bends sounds equally great when walked up the fret board. It can be used in many musical genres depending on your tastes. If Jazz is what you like, this could be used in place of or with Horn punches. If Rock music is what you love, this technique carries the same punch driven feel.

Further Listening

To hear examples of this technique, reference these songs below:
• Santana: Black Magic Woman
• Janes Addiction: Strays
• AC/DC Hell's Bells
• Motley Crue: Shout at the Devil
• Jimi Hendrix: Highway Chile

Mark Daniel is an Artist/Instructor for The Rock House Method and guitarist for The Limit

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