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Reference         "Music, the greatest good that mortals know, And all of heaven we have below." --Joseph Addison

Techniques








Bending is exactly as it sounds: bending the string to the side by pushing it (towards the sixth string) or pulling it (towards the first string), often while a fretted note is ringing. The first three strings are normally pushed, and the others are normally pulled. This is particularly important on the first and sixth strings; you do not want the string to fall off the fretboard.

Many aspiring guitarists cannot bend properly. There are three keys to bending properly: proper thumb positioning, bending with the proper muscles, and bending to pitch.

Example Video

<googlevideo>-6362386473637342274</googlevideo>

Positioning

Thumb positioning

Do not keep your thumb behind the neck, where it usually is, but bring it up perpendicular to the neck. Press the inside of your hand (at the base of your index finger) against the side of the fretboard. Do not bend with your fingers, but rotate your hand with your forearm.

Finger positioning

Make sure to have more than one finger on the string. Many guitarists use their ring finger (and one or two below it) for bending. It is important when starting out to place you index and middle fingers on the string you will be bending along with your ring finger for support. All this will feel a little awkward at first, but it will come naturally after practice.

Technique behind Bending

Bending to Pitch

The most common bends executed are the 1/2 step and full step bends. When bending strings you are almost always aiming for a target note. An easy intro to bending would be to play 10th fret on the B string and then bend 12th fret on the G string to the same pitch of the note you played on the B string. Use you index finger for the 10th fret and your ring finger for the 12th fret. This is a full step bend.

When you are first starting, you should always chack your bends to make sure they are going where you want them to by playing the note that you are bending to on a different string or on a higher fret on the same string.

Pre-bending or Reverse Bending

Bending, whether by pushing or pulling the string, raises the tension in the vibrating portion of the string, and thus always raises the pitch of the note. To create the impression of bending down, the guitarist uses a technique called pre-bending, that is, bending before the string is struck, then releasing the bend (either gradually or quickly, depending on the intended effect).

Bend and release

The ideas of bending and pre-bending can be combined for a "bend and release", that is, striking a note, bending it up, then releasing it as you would with a pre-bend. This will often be perceived as a "bounce" in pitch, especially if played quickly.

Behind-nut-bending

This is a fairly easy technique, but it's slow. It's just like the name tells: you put your fingers behind your fretboard/nut on one of your strings and just press it down. The best would be to use your picking hand so you can still fret with the other.

Unisen Bending

Unisen bending is hitting two string and bending one string to match the others pitch. See Examples 3 and 4. This can also be done on other strings.

Duration of Bends

Bending With Vibrato

You can do a vibrato at the top of a bend. This is kind of difficult, but worth learning.

Bending Double-Stops

Right Hand Tapping With Bends

You can do Right Hand Tapping on a string while it is bent. Example:

E-------------------------------------------------
B-------------------------------------------------
G-----7b(9)h10p7h12p5-----------------------------
D-----------------/|\-----------------------------
A------------------|------------------------------
E------------------|------------------------------
                   | 
keep bent until here

(Is there a better way to wirte this?)

Tablature Notation

Bending is shown on tablature as a lowercase b. Usually you'll have to listen to the song to get the idea, but occasionally they'll have the step amount they want you to bend. The number in parenthises is the pitch the bend should reach.

E-------------------------------------------------
B-------------10---------10--------10-------------
G-----12b(14)----12b(14)----12b(14)---------------
D-------------------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------

Example Riffs

E--------------5-----------5------------------
B----------5-------5---8-------8b(10)---------
G-----7b(9)-----------------------------------
D---------------------------------------------
A---------------------------------------------
E---------------------------------------------

Exercise 1

In this exercise we are using the 10th fret as a target pitch and then bending the 12th fret to make it sound like the 10th fret. Make sure that your bent note sounds just like the target pitch to ensure proper intonation. This is a full step bend.

E-------------------------------------------------
B-------------10---------10--------10-------------
G-----12b(14)----12b(14)----12b(14)---------------
D-------------------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------

Exercise 2

This is the same thing using the E and B strings. This is also a full step bend but the fret spacing is different due to how the G string is tuned.

E-------------10---------10--------10-------------
B-----13b(15)----13b(15)----13b(15)---------------
G-------------------------------------------------
D-------------------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------

Exercise 3

These are double bends ala Jimi or Santana. When playing double bends be careful to only bend one string and keep the other one steady, don't worry it takes some practice. Notice the vibrato on the G string, this is essential to making it sound right. Make sure you play both the B and G strings at the same time.

E-------------------------------------------------
B-----10--------12--------13----------------------
G-----12b(14)~~~14b(16)~~~15b(17)~~~--------------
D-------------------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------

Exercise 4

Here are some more double bends on the B and E string.

E-----9---------11--------12----------------------
B-----12b(14)~~~14b(16)~~~15b(17)~~~--------------
G-------------------------------------------------
D-------------------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------

Exercise 5

These bluesy/country double bends sound like an approaching train, cool!

E----------------------------8-------8------------
B-----8-------8--------------8b(10)--8b(10)-------
G-----7b(9)---7b(9)-------------------------------
D-------------------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------


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