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Help with bending

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Call Me Al, Jan 9, 2021.

  1. Toast

    Toast Tele-Afflicted

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    Another bending video. It assumes you know the minor pentatonic. Also, it focuses on bending specific notes in the scale rather than entirely on bending technique.

     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
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  2. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Holic

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    As a beginner myself, I have found that getting the string height right was key to learning how to bend. Too low, and the adjacent string slides under my fingers getting in the way of the string being bent. I now set my action based on bends. I want the string to catch right in the middle of my finger, so adjacent strings are pushed out of the way without interfering with the one being bent. The action ends up being a bit higher, but it is well worth it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
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  3. Terrygh1949

    Terrygh1949 Tele-Meister

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    Lighter guage strings much easier to bend. Ring finger is the one you'll use more than any other. Played a Tele with 10-46 for many years before I went to 9-42 much easier bending. Probably will stay there. 10-46 on a Lester would be my choice though.
     
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  4. Spooky88

    Spooky88 TDPRI Member

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    10-46 is the gauge I use. Not sure I've ever broken a string on my Warmoth telecaster since using them. As far as hand strength goes,I've driven tractor trailer for 30+ years and holding that wheel does eventually give you a leg up on bending strings. You might consider some dumbbell exercises to improve your hand/wrist strength. on a side note as I started playing keyboards a few years ago ( in addition to playing guitar live, because every town should have a decent doors tribute band) my forearms were killing me with tendonitis as I improved. No pain, No gain
     
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  5. Rowdyman

    Rowdyman Tele-Meister

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    What helped me the most was taking a few minutes, everytime I practiced, to pick a random note, somewhere between about the 9th fret and the 15th, and while backing up my fretting finger, (often the third), with as many other fingers as possible,,,
    play a melody, starting with the 'random' note,, (I use to use Amazing Grace),, while trying to bend into as many of the notes as possible. (wow, long sentence:confused:)
    If you do this for a couple of weeks/months, your bends will get better, more accurate, and easier. Try to apply an even vibrato to every bent note,,,,
    This will help to develop 'your sound', and your ear too,,,,

    Have fun, keep at it,,, it gets easier and better!!!!! RM
     
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  6. Addnine

    Addnine Tele-Meister

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    Not an unexpected point: keep at it!

    That ring finger is nicely positioned to bend stuff. It'll learn. (It occurs to me I rarely bend with my index finger: hmm.)

    Let the cobbler stick to his last. lol

    I use 10's on my roundwound guitars, but 9's do sound nice on a Strat, and bend easy.
     
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  7. Oren89

    Oren89 TDPRI Member

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    Place your middle finger behind your ring to help give it a little extra strength. Remember, it is an exercise. You will get better and string with practice. Also, what guitar are you playing? Fenders have a longer scale than Gibson. I use 10.5 on fender, I would use 9, 9.5 for Gibsons
     
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  8. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    think ahead=practice this simple but logical application-think of the finished bent note first....then proceed to [bend]..aim for it[the goal note].the ear steers everything whilst applying bends etc.
    its no good if your '' head is ''empty''=nothing 'musical' to compare to=the importance of the note aimed for etc.. ,the specific target note, the goal note.
    thus thinking of the 'goal' note......the 'target[ed] ' note 1st ...[steers the ear accordingly etc]=gives a logical musical direction that mentally steers the ear in a 'musical' way.=ear training magnified.

    =think musically=play musically. if you don't the end result is guesswork, errors, wrong noteapplied.

    practicing this simple application[applies not only to perfecting bends etc] but can [through constant practice of etc]...eradicate 'imprecise' bends.
    bends should be applied 'with deliberation'=practice the deliberation of,.. nailing the specific target note...is the perfect lesson in ear training=listening to what you play. The difference 'between' those that 'do' and those that 'don't' is audibly apparent.
    perfecting 'bends' won't happen unless you practice them...or anything...without deliberation etc.=nothing is for free...
     
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  9. hmemerson

    hmemerson Tele-Meister Vendor Member

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    Al,
    You can either switch back to lighter strings, or get bigger frets put in.

    Larger wire makes for less fingerboard contact, as in Friction. It also allows your fingertip to contact the string higher up towards the nail. This way the string is less prone to sliding underneath the fingertip, and you’re able to apply more pressure, more efficiently.

    Regards,
    Howard Emerson
     
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  10. oldunc

    oldunc Tele-Meister

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    As with anything on the guitar, strength shouldn't be an issue. Try bending a string without doing anything with the rest of your hand; it takes little more strength than pushing a string down (how many of your favorite electric guitarists could punch their way out of a soap bubble?). The secret is to get your hand on balance- the main quest of a student guitarist. That and some practice will allow you to move your fingers without pulling the rest of your hand along and bends will become easy. You should NEVER try to overpower a guitar; it doesn't work, and you're likely to end up doing permanent damage to your hands.
     
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  11. va3dg

    va3dg TDPRI Member

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    I get the bends just reading some of the replies !
     
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  12. tattypicker

    tattypicker TDPRI Member

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    Sorry to hear that, but "no pain, no gain" is a great way to acquire tendonitis. A little burn comes with any new skill or activity, but practicing through the pain barrier is something different, IMO.

    So far as string gauge goes, I'm not a new player and I'm not an infrequent player. I don't think hand strength is an issue for me either. But I find a world of difference between 9s and 10s when it comes to bending strings. 9s are comfortable for me, whereas 10s tear strips off my finger tips, which are already calloused from years of playing - and no amount of practice with heavier strings really changed that. If anything, my experience has been that the heavier strings actually limit the amount of time that I can play.
     
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  13. tattypicker

    tattypicker TDPRI Member

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    I don't have any Gibsons, but I'm curious why you would use lighter strings on a shorter scale length. Won't the shorter length mean less tension for a given pitch?
     
  14. oooogie

    oooogie TDPRI Member

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    Try learning to bend with more than one finger. If you are bend a note with your middle finger add your ring finger behind it. Index finger add the middle behind that ETC. Push the E, B and G strings up(usually) and the D, A and E strings pull down. Two finger are better than one.
     
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  15. Call Me Al

    Call Me Al Tele-Meister

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    I’ve been taking a lick with a bend in it, and rewriting it to the intended fretted pitch. Then I’ll alternate those , trying to match the bend to that pitch.
     
  16. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    bending to the 'required pitch' is an audible exercise=pitch recognition.,...one can only 'perfect' it by specific audible application.[ practice of ,and by repetition etc...]=ear training.
    writing it is a visual aid but the audible training of etc. is more paramount.=ear training[pitch recognition] ... learning to 'play' by ear.
    bending [to any pitch 'musically' correctly] relies upon the ears etc =ear training.[pitch recognition]

    lighter gauge strings [can]help attain it [string bending technique application etc] but...lighter gauge is more 'sensitive' to errors because of applied fret finger pressure when 'executing 'bends etc and more specifically 'lack of,/weakness in' pitch recognition' at the onset.
     
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  17. Call Me Al

    Call Me Al Tele-Meister

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    Ah yes, I didn’t mean literally writing it on paper. I meant I’ll adapt the lick, and play it (and listen!)

    for example, if there’s a half bend on the 5th fret, I’ll play that note on the 6th fret; then alternate playing that lick, reaching the note via the fret, and then via the bend.

    Ive also started practicing with a tuner as suggested which is very helpful
     
  18. H. Mac

    H. Mac Friend of Leo's

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    I’d experiment with set up before changing string gauge. And it may be wise to develop good vibrato techniques (both parallel with and 90 degrees to the strings) before deciding on bending techniques. The physiology of bending can be varied so that the number of muscles used can be increased: palm, wrist, and even arm muscles can be used.
     
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