Bending, the rules?

MichaelAndrew3435

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When you guys bend, do you push/pull with your fret fingers, or do you do a little of both? If you push, what combination of fingers do you prefer to use? I used to always pull, then a guy in a previous band told me I should push instead of pull so I started pushing more. However I'm trying to play solo's with really fast bending and for fast bending, I think it's much easier to pull assuming you're not on the first 2 strings. I typical only bend a full step max, maybe 1.5 steps if my fingers are feeling strong.
 

Brek

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Depends on the phrase, I favour pulling, but on some riffs I can’t get away with it, fingers trip over each other. One thing I am really liking about using ultra slinkies is Gilmore range bends are now doable, almost makes me sound competent.
 

CB91710

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No rules.
Push far more often than pull.
Usually ring finger aided by the middle.
If I'm being with my index finger, I'm more likely to pull, but normally on the bass strings.
 

simon connor

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The way I learned was to always bend toward the middle - so the three high strings are "push" and the three low strings are "pull." I was also instructed to use two fingers together if possible, because you have more strength and stability to the bend.
 

HogmanA

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No rules.
Push far more often than pull.
Usually ring finger aided by the middle.
If I'm being with my index finger, I'm more likely to pull, but normally on the bass strings.
This describes what I do too.

To the op:

For incorporating bends in fast passages, I find pushing is easier.
Exercise:
Do an air guitar bend by pulling - release - fret next note.

Look at what your finger has to do: release the string from a contracted state, extend, then contract to fret next note.

Now do the exercise by pushing.
Push to bend string - release - contract to fret next note.

Pushing requires 2 movements, while pulling requires 3. The former results in a more fluid line than the latter, and I will change position on the neck to better enable a pushed bend instead of a pulled bend in a fast passage.
 

MichaelAndrew3435

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This describes what I do too.

To the op:

For incorporating bends in fast passages, I find pushing is easier.
Exercise:
Do an air guitar bend by pulling - release - fret next note.

Look at what your finger has to do: release the string from a contracted state, extend, then contract to fret next note.

Now do the exercise by pushing.
Push to bend string - release - contract to fret next note.

Pushing requires 2 movements, while pulling requires 3. The former results in a more fluid line than the latter, and I will change position on the neck to better enable a pushed bend instead of a pulled bend in a fast passage.

So you're saying there are less movements when pushing vs pulling? Hmm, I always thought pulling fast was easier since my fingers are already bent at that angle in a "curl" position when normally playing:laugh2:
 

Guy Named Sue

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It totally depends on the position, the string/thickness and how many steps you want to bend. There's no right or wrong, just what's appropriate for the situation.

BTW if you have a nice comfortable neck profile, bending isn't that hard. It only becomes hard when the profile of the neck makes it a PIA. This is why I like thick necks, they allow me to comfortably bend and vibrate notes. Effortless
 

NotScott

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I push and pull with all 4 fingers. My ring finger pushes best and my index finger pulls best, but unless I need a wild bend, I can use any finger. For me, it is more a matter of maintaining my hand position to improve picking efficiency.

Regarding the guitar setup, it helps having a bit higher action and taller, smooth frets.
 

HogmanA

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So you're saying there are less movements when pushing vs pulling? Hmm, I always thought pulling fast was easier since my fingers are already bent at that angle in a "curl" position when normally playing:laugh2:
Its not really about easier, it's about fluid movements.
If easier is more important to you, then easier is better, no?
 

Southwest

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Great question. Until I saw the thread I honestly didn't know. So I went and played a bit. Obviously you don't pull the top E string or push the bottom E string, but otherwise try both and see what works best for you. If you are like me it won't be the same for all songs or solos.

I bend with just one finger most of the time, but after playing and checking today I realised that sometimes I am supporting the bend with another finger. It's completely subconscious.

Sorry if this doesn't give a definitive answer, but I guess my point is that I don't think there is one.

You don't mention which guitar(s) you play or string gauge. That could also make a difference, particularly to whether bending with one finger.
 

Michael Matyas

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I push the first four strings, and use as many fingers as are available to bend. I find that if you push up, it's a lot easier to do a quick release and pull-off.
 

CB91710

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I push the first four strings, and use as many fingers as are available to bend. I find that if you push up, it's a lot easier to do a quick release and pull-off.
Ya, it depends on the goal.
I find that by pulling down, it's easier for a quick "snap" release without bending back down to the fretted note before releasing to an open string.... like pulling a G to a G# and a quick release to E.
I have a hard time doing that pushing upward.
But most of my bends are on the top 3 or 4 strings and nearly always pushed upward.
 

HogmanA

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Some further things to consider:
When bending, if you pull, the opposing force is provided by your palm, which is pushed against the neck. Not good for a quick position change.
If you push, your thumb is the opposing force which enables a quick position change anywhere.

**try bending a note, and while still bent, slide it to a new position. Yes, I often do that. Try it both pushing and pulling, see what happens**

Also, when bending, the release is arguably more important than the actual bend.
Fingers (seem to me) to have more control when releasing a bend from pushing compared to releasing after pulling.
 

paradice

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This isn’t really what you’re asking(although he does mention he uses push for only the high e, and b strings
He does mention using the rotation of the wrist rather than finger movements to get the bend tho...which evens up the difficulty of push vs pull a bit since it’s the wrist doing (most of) the work in both cases rather than different finger muscles

I use push more often...for e, b and g strings prob because much more likely to be doing bends on those strings vs the top strings

 
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Brek

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ha i just mastered that technique by accident. it was after watching a few vids of guitar players and i noticed the movement was very precise and fast looking. so i started to try and get my bends to match what i saw, and I realised i was using the wrist to do it. i have stepped up a notch with bending as a result.
 

Thundergod

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Just play the way you feel more comfortable... I don't even remember thinking in what direction to bend the strings, but I think I do push most of the time. As for fingers, the finger that hits that note does the bend, never thought about it much either.
 

dasherf17

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When you guys bend, do you push/pull with your fret fingers, or do you do a little of both? If you push, what combination of fingers do you prefer to use? I used to always pull, then a guy in a previous band told me I should push instead of pull so I started pushing more. However I'm trying to play solo's with really fast bending and for fast bending, I think it's much easier to pull assuming you're not on the first 2 strings. I typical only bend a full step max, maybe 1.5 steps if my fingers are feeling strong.
I'm always amazed by Paul Kossoff's stretch at the end of The Stealer...that's finger bending for sure...
By the by, feeling knows no rules...do what comes to you.
 

MichaelAndrew3435

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Great question. Until I saw the thread I honestly didn't know. So I went and played a bit. Obviously you don't pull the top E string or push the bottom E string, but otherwise try both and see what works best for you. If you are like me it won't be the same for all songs or solos.

I bend with just one finger most of the time, but after playing and checking today I realised that sometimes I am supporting the bend with another finger. It's completely subconscious.

Sorry if this doesn't give a definitive answer, but I guess my point is that I don't think there is one.

You don't mention which guitar(s) you play or string gauge. That could also make a difference, particularly to whether bending with one finger.
Les Paul's, usually .9 - .46 or something very similar. Action on one of my LP's is moderate - higher. The other is super low :]
 


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