Learning How to Bend Strings

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by jeff_farkas, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. jeff_farkas

    jeff_farkas Senior Member

    Messages:
    32,809
    Likes Received:
    21,197
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    I'm staring to learn/teach myself how to bend strings. What I would love to get is some basic advice on how to start and what I should be doing to do the right.

    I've found stuff on the Internet and that's nice but I just would love to get some input from the group as well.

    One question,. do you folks have or know of any backing tracks that I can use to practice with and then record over? I think this might help me know if I'm doing it right or not.

    TIA..
    Jeff
     

    Attached Files:

    Stoli likes this.
  2. DotStudio

    DotStudio Silver Supporter

    Messages:
    3,994
    Likes Received:
    7,445
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    To be honest, I learned everything I know regarding bending and vibrato by listening to and playing along with AC/DC when I was younger.

    It just so happens the backing track of the month is of that particular persuasion...

    http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/nov-btotm.400456/
     
    jeff_farkas likes this.
  3. jeff_farkas

    jeff_farkas Senior Member

    Messages:
    32,809
    Likes Received:
    21,197
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008

    My teacher said something similar. He just figured it out as he went along. I got that backing track already and it's good to know I can use it for that purpose.

    Thanks so much for the replay
    Off to work on this
    Jeff
     
  4. I Break Things

    I Break Things Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,524
    Likes Received:
    6,874
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2016
    One thing I would recommend is using a tuner. Pick a string and a note. Then, pick an interval to bend to. Half-step up, whole step, minor third, whatever. Then, slowly bend up to that interval while watching the tuner. Do this up and down every string. It'll give you you a good starting point because you can hear the original note being brought up to a specific pitch. Plus, you'll get used to the feel of bending in different places.
     
  5. jeff_farkas

    jeff_farkas Senior Member

    Messages:
    32,809
    Likes Received:
    21,197
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008

    Thanks. I thought I heard that before or somewhere else but I will keep this in mind
     
  6. I Break Things

    I Break Things Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,524
    Likes Received:
    6,874
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2016
    It can be very helpful. It sped up the process tremendously for me. Now I can just bend and get the note by ear. If you learn how bending to the proper pitch sounds to begin, it saves a lot of trouble. Plus, then you can get creative and do micro bends to just barely pull notes out of tune in interesting ways.
     
    jeff_farkas likes this.
  7. Duane_the_tub

    Duane_the_tub Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,013
    Likes Received:
    3,402
    Joined:
    May 31, 2015
  8. jeff_farkas

    jeff_farkas Senior Member

    Messages:
    32,809
    Likes Received:
    21,197
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
  9. filtersweep

    filtersweep Senior Member

    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    1,241
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    I would have never thought of that- am also a trombone player.

    To the OP- what are your goals? Bending is easy enough. Big bends with vibrato- not so easy. Whatever you do, start easy.
     
    Sailor Juan likes this.
  10. DotStudio

    DotStudio Silver Supporter

    Messages:
    3,994
    Likes Received:
    7,445
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    @jeff_farkas

    A great way to get your feet wet would be to practice the main riff from Wonderful Tonight. As an added bonus, you can say you play just like Eric Clapton when you get it down :h5:

     
    Stoli, jeff_farkas and Duane_the_tub like this.
  11. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

    Messages:
    75,893
    Likes Received:
    185,692
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    I started with unison bends, to calibrate my ear, then moved onto oblique bends, then double-stop bends.
     
    Frogfur and jeff_farkas like this.
  12. jeff_farkas

    jeff_farkas Senior Member

    Messages:
    32,809
    Likes Received:
    21,197
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008

    Thanks.. that's going to be fun.

    Jeff
     
  13. spitfire

    spitfire Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,804
    Likes Received:
    1,996
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    I always felt like this was just one of those things you learn by doing. Like learning to walk. I suppose there might be some specifically tricky thing some guitar god uses in a specific solo, but otherwise, just start playing and bending. Your ear will tell you what sounds good or not.

    String bending like vibrato is one of those things that is part of your sound. Nothing wrong with learning to mimic someone else. But in the end, you'll do it your way.

    As for backing tracks, youtube is loaded with them. But, there is a lot of variation in type and quality. For practicing something like blues, especially if you are just starting, you want a track that really defines the chord progression. That way you can concentrate on the soloing and fitting in to the groove more then defining it.

    I've really liked these tracks. They strike a good balance between being extremely repetitive, yet not so open ended you can't tell what's going on.

    http://cvls.com/product-category/guitar/jam-tracks/

    They are about $10 a set of about 16 songs. They give you a PDF with the chord progression and key and some suggestions on scales to use. Well worth the cost.
     
    jeff_farkas likes this.
  14. LenPaul

    LenPaul Premium Member

    Messages:
    2,916
    Likes Received:
    3,998
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Just starting out bending strings,, I'd have ta say get in the habit of using all your fingers to push them strings.
    cool little practice thing to try.


     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
    jeff_farkas likes this.
  15. tzd

    tzd Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,622
    Likes Received:
    3,466
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    Learn to play While My Guitar Gently Weeps, it has all kinds of bends you can think of. You’ll be bending like a pro by the time you master it. Oh it hurts so much when I first learnt it! But once you built the strength in your fingers it’s with you forever.

    Here’s me playing said song:
     
    jeff_farkas likes this.
  16. Hatefulsob

    Hatefulsob Senior Member

    Messages:
    589
    Likes Received:
    561
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2015
    Yeah, I have a Vio Lab tuner that emits a harmonically saturated tone, set the note you want and bend up to it. That said, I rarely if ever bend.
     
  17. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

    Messages:
    75,893
    Likes Received:
    185,692
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    A great tip. If you bend with your ring finger, put the middle in behind it ... if your bend is by the pinkie, put the ring and middle both.
     
    James R likes this.
  18. James R

    James R Premium Member

    Messages:
    5,554
    Likes Received:
    10,159
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2013
    Are you a Pink Floyd fan?
    Listen and try to play along to something like Shine On You Crazy Diamond, or any number of other songs that Gilmour does the big bends in.
    His style and phrasing are fairly simple, but sonically astonishing in their outcome.
    If you can bend with Gilmour you're doing just fine, imo.
     
  19. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

    Messages:
    75,893
    Likes Received:
    185,692
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    And if you need simpler harmonies, grab the Beano album. "All Your Love" was the song that got my bending into shape.
     
    jeff_farkas and James R like this.
  20. Stoli

    Stoli Senior Member

    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    160
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2015
    Sounds like you are working on the same thing that I am. I started working with bending a few months ago and used the Wonderful Tonight riff to start with. Another I use is the opening lick in the Stairway to Heaven solo. It has a big bend in it and some pull offs too. You could Google and find some basic blues licks as well. Both of those riffs are good and bits and pieces of them can work well with blues type backing tracks. I found bending to be very difficult initially but like most other things with guitar, if you practice it a little each day the strength in your fingers will come. I do not have much of an ear but I am getting to where I can sort of tell if the bend sounds right. Those that know more than me can say but I read someplace to not use a tuner to learn bends with so I did not use one but I check on occasion and get pretty close just from playing at them a while. I don't know how close you have to be and sometimes giving your bend a little wiggle can sound pretty cool too.

    I like Quist backing tracks. He has a lot of bluesy sort of tracks that I like to noodle with. You can slide, hammer, vibrato, bend, pull off, and just sort of make your own stuff up.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/QuistTV
     
    jeff_farkas likes this.

Share This Page