We all know the feeling of that bended note hitting us right in the chest at the climax of a great guitarsolo. There is no greater feeling in the world. This technique is a make or break technique for any guitar solo. If its done right it can be fantastic, but done wrong it will make your playing sound amateurish and it will not provide you with the satisfaction of of bitchslapping your audience with your guitarsolos. For the purpose of you doing so, I have written this article to explain the in’s and out’s of making your bend notes sound truly kick ass.
Use your ears.
Bending out of tune is the number one mistake I hear beginner and intermediate guitar players make and it is causing their playing to sound amateurish. There are two major
reasons for this happening. The first one is the actual physical ability of bending the string high enough to produce the desired note. The player may not have practiced this enough, but it is fairly easy to overcome and I will return to this point later on in the article. The second reason is, that they simple don’t hear that the note is bend out of tune. They haven’t trained their ears along with they physical skills. This is critically important. So don’t be that guitarist. This is not hard to do, but it does require that you spend some time practicing it. Here is a great way for you to this. It will have you master you in tune bending in no time. Watch this video:
Video 1: https://youtu.be/5eUMUCtTq0s
The physical technique of bending.
A common mistake that guitar players make is trying to bend the not with their fingers only. The fingers are actually not very strong and trying to bend with your fingers only will make it hard for you to get the technique under control. Instead you need use a combination of your forearm and your fingers to bend the note. The muscles in your forearm are strong compared to the muscles in your fingers. Using these will give you the strength you need to bend in a controlled way without getting injuries. You also need to support you bending finger with the other fingers your are not bending with. Lets say you are performing a bend with you ringfinger. Then your index and middlefinger needs to be on the string as well to support the ringfinger in the heavy lifting so to speak. Note that I haven’t talked about applying vibrato to your bend. If you are not able to control your bends you will not be able to apply vibrato either.
Muting the strings.
A very important aspect of string bending is the ability to mute the strings around the string that you are bending. This is done in a combination of both the fretting hand and the picking hand. The fretting hand will be muting all the strings that are higher than the string that you are bending, while the picking hand will be muting all the strings below the string that you are actually bending. For an in-depth look at the nut’s and bolt’s of the physical bending technique, take a look at this instructional video:
Video 2: https://youtu.be/I753f2HSRVk
By applying the principles in this article you will be able to greatly improve your control of the notes that you bend. Doing so will improve you overall playing greatly.
About the author: Janus Buch is the founder of the Guitar Academy in Copenhagen. Here he teaches, coaches, and trains his guitar students into killer guitar players. If you are serious about improving your guitar playing you will want to check out the guitar academy. No if you are experienced og searching for Beginner Guitar lessons in Copenhagen the guitar academy is here to help