Today's lesson is about the string bending technique on guitar! Grab your guitar and let's take our string bending technique to the next level with this simple two-part exercise.
Building a strong and consistent bending technique will help: • Play better/more complex solos. • Reduce tension when performing string bends • Get rid of any sloppiness in your bending technique. • Develop a better ear for string bending.
Now, of course, when we are playing, and something doesn't sound right, there could be many reasons, but today we will focus on perfecting the string bending technique inside your solos and riffs.
Before jumping into the exercise, let's start with the technique first and make sure we're on the same page. As a deficient or flawed technique can make or break your bending and pitch accuracy.
The String Bending Technique Explained
How do we perform the string bending technique? What fingers do we use, and how do we use them?
To answer these questions, we will demonstrate things on the B string. Let's suppose I am on fret12, and I want to perform a full bend (meaning I want to hit the note or pitch that is two frets up on 14):
1. Use your third finger or the ring finger to fret the starting note (on fret 12) 2. The second finger (middle finger) will also support that third finger and grab the string. (Now we have the third and second fingers one after another on the B string) 3. The index finger can now: Help support the others while gently resting on the string right above (for muting) Or just lay/rest on all the other strings. (For muting purposes) 4. The bending technique is one of the few exceptions where you can wrap the thumb around the fretboard. (For more leverage)
Note: If you are doing a bend with the second finger, everything mentioned above will stay the same, but now the index finger will act as a supporting + muting finger at the same time.
Timestamp: Check out the video lesson at @2:04 for a detailed showcasing of the string bending technique.
And that's how you perform the string bending technique! It's important, because having a proper string bending technique will help to keep your bends in tune and reduce tension because you will need less strength to perform your bends.
The Ultimate String Bending Exercise Part 1
Now assuming you have a good technique to begin with (or that you actually took the time to hone your chops), let's jump into the exercise:
Before we start, take the time to review and get comfortable with the E major scale on one string because, in our exercise, we will apply the string bending technique to it. Check out the diagram below.
Note: You can apply the exercise to any one string scale, the concepts will stay the same, but for the sake of this lesson let's stick to the major scale.
So, the general idea in part 1 is to ascend any given scale going from one note to another using the string bending technique (instead of playing the scale as is), just like here below:
1. Listen to a note within the scale. 2. Bend the previous note (of the scale) into it.
For example: 1. Play fret seven and listen carefully. 2. Bend from the previous note, fret five in this case, into the actual pitch. 3. Repeat the same procedure for all the other notes in the scale.
Check @6:04 of the video lesson for the string bending exercise part 1 representation!
If you are more advanced and want a challenge, you can try to pre-bend without hearing the pitch first but make sure to always check if you were hitting the correct pitches after. This will help tune your ear to the exercise and the string bending technique in general!
The Ultimate String Bending Exercise Part 2
Now that we've ascended our one string scale, it's time to descend.
This time around, we will: 1. Start with a bend (hitting the following/next note within the scale- ascending) 2. Release the bend 3. Play the previous note within the scale (descending).
For the descending part of the exercise, check out minute @7:44 of the video lesson.
Advanced guys, you will evaluate your pre-bend and try to hit the correct pitch on the spot, just like we did in part 1.
Once comfortable playing parts 1 and 2 or ascending and descending your scale using the string bending technique, combining them together is what creates the ultimate string bending exercise!
And that is all! There is nothing fancy here; however, building a solid string bending foundation will do wonders for your ear, solos, and improvisation.
Important: Try to replicate this on other strings/scales, and remember, the strength you need to apply when bending will differ depending on the strings you're playing and the area of the fretboard you are playing in.
You can do all kinds of crazy things with this exercise, you can try doing 3-note grouping and or go for big jumps within the same scale!
Have you always wanted to play killer bends just like the ones in your favorite solos? Do you struggle to consistently hit the correct pitch and would like to master the guitar string bending technique among others? Check out "guitar elevation'', our premium guitar training program!
Author: Jack Haddad
Jack Haddad is an expert Guitar educator and teacher and has been helping guitarists, through his innovative methods, get incredible results on the guitar, whether they want to jam with friends or rock out on the big stage.
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