By: Bill McRea
Bending strings is used to give the guitar a more personalized
and harmonic quality. The technique is used mostly by lead
guitar players but is also applied in all styles of playing.
String bending and vibrato techniques are two large components
in making up a guitar player's style. The combination of these
skills more or less defines a considerable part of what makes
your playing different than the next guy.
Bending the strings far enough to reach a desired pitch is the
goal. One of the keys is to use three fingers to bend the
string, instead of just one finger. Use your third finger on the
fret you're bending and place your first and second fingers on
the frets behind it, and use the strength of all three fingers
when you do a bend.
Fret the note on the 7th fret of the third string with your
third finger. Your other finger should follow on the 6th and 5th
fret. Our goal is to bend this note up one step (the equivalent
of two frets) and then release the note to its original pitch.
Before you do your first bend hit the note on the 9th fret, this
will be your reference note. When you do your bend the goal is
to make the tone of your bend "reach" the tone of the reference
note. Repeat: hit your reference note, then immediately jump to
the correct position and play a bend until to can consistently
match the reference note.
The length you hold the bend, how quickly you release it and any
vibrato you add to the bend will define a large part of playing
your style. It's good to just have fun and try doing a number of
bends and releases to hear all the different sounds you can
generate. Try bending the note before you strike it so you just
hear the release, or try using a wide or narrow vibrato so act
character and color to your bends.
Be patient you haven't used these muscles before, and is will
take time to strengthen. Keep practicing, and you'll get the
hang of it eventually.
About the author:
Bill McRea is the publisher of www.guitarwarehouse.com and