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
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”
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 publisher of
www.guitarwarehouse.com/ and www.kansasfans.com/