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Problem with bending strings quietly

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by zash, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. zash

    zash TDPRI Member

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    I'm focused on developing my blues and rock lead guitar skills but having problems keeping the adjacent string quiet during a bend.

    I was working on a few Led Zep licks last night ( slightly faster then I'm used to) and finding it hard to do a clean bend. As I push up and my finger hits the string above (ie. the next lower string) it rubs against it and sounds. If I keep my finger more vertical it helps but still not 100%. I have tried palm muting the next string but found it hard to be accurate with a fast lick.

    I guess it's a matter of practice but I'm open to any advice and tips.
     
  2. Donelson

    Donelson Tele-Afflicted

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    My suggestion, after playing a few "licks" myself to figure out what you might mean is, use your RH thumb to ensure that the lower notes are dampened.

    I even tried that again to make sure. It's true. The fat part of the thumb, can be used to dampen the string below. Sort of an intuitive technique.

    On the other hand, if you bend a string to such a degree that the two strings merge together under your finger, that's a "funky" bending sound. Dampening one will probably kill the other. That is a useful gimmick sound, that goes back as far as Eddie Lang. Or, even before. Bending strings on a guitar goes back 100 years or more; not invented anytime recently.
     
  3. 1955

    1955 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Working on this too. Arlen Roth has some great advice in his "Country String Bending" DVD,
     
  4. zash

    zash TDPRI Member

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    I just had a closer look at the problem. I noticed that as I bend the string up the the skin on my fingertip gets caught between the bent string and the string I'm bending towards. As I bend further the other string slides of the finger tip under the finger to join the bent string and this makes it sound. If I keep my bending finger flatter and other strings slides under right away and stays quiet. My finger tips are calloused and a little rough so I gues this is not helping.

    My thumb isn't near enough the string to use as a muting device.
     
  5. Donelson

    Donelson Tele-Afflicted

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    I meant the RH thumb, that you are holding the pick with.
     
  6. winny pooh

    winny pooh Friend of Leo's

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    Your LH nails can be a but longer if this enables the non bent string to ride up the nail.

    You have to mute the thicker strings with the edge of your right hand palm. Keep practicing.
     
  7. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I've been wondering about this. How would I go about learning more about early bending technique, or recordings that have bends?
     
  8. Donelson

    Donelson Tele-Afflicted

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    Eddie Lang is on a lot of recordings, from the late 20's & early 30's. He bent his strings quite often. Also his duo partner Lonnie Johnson, and his protege Django, can be heard bending strings on recordings from long-ago days. I can't imagine that any of them "invented" that sound; I assume it goes back a long way into the pre-Edison times.

    Good subject for a PHD dissertation, if it hasn't been done already!
     
  9. zash

    zash TDPRI Member

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    I was playing around last night practising my bending.

    I realised that my problem is more apparent on my strat which has the 9.5" radius fretboard. My other two guitars are a flatter fretboard and I get very little other string noise while bending.

    The action probably makes a difference. The other 2 guitars are lower action hence the adjacent string just slides under my bending finger.

    I'll keep practising my palm muting.
     
  10. paul74

    paul74 Tele-Meister

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    How much gain are you using? The more gain you have the more any little sound gets amplified.

    I tend not to mute with my right hand at all when bending but if I'm bending using my ring finger with index and middle providing support I tend to place my index finger tip slightly higher. e.g. if bending the B string it still frets that string but is closer to the G than my other fingers. This tends to guide the G out of the way. This enables me to do 2 tone bends on the G or B. Still struggling with the 2.5 tone bend on the G, twelfth fret up to C for Sleepwalking, though ;)

    I play a Strat standard, 9.5 radius with 11s or occasionally 10s, the action is medium, frets are quite low now approx 0.030 inch
     
  11. gtroates

    gtroates Tele-Holic

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    When I used to buy VHS tapes of lessons from Hotlicks Productions and others like "Starlicks" back in the 1980's, there was one by Jeff Watson from "Night Ranger" where he showed that he dampened the strings with his left hand first finger each time he bent with his other left hand fingers. His first finger lays flat over the strings (using the technique guitarists use to make left hand finger mutes between chords in funk playing) as he vibratos or bends above it. It is a fail safe way to reduce unwanted string plucking on bends if you can practice it until it feels natural.
     
  12. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    a) left hand damping with a spare finger.
    b) bend both strings together using two fingers
    c) both the above.
    d) right hand damping
    e) stop worrying about it
     
  13. Jegonzal

    Jegonzal TDPRI Member

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    +1. I also had a hard time bending until I figured out that my action was too low. My bending finger was catching the top of the other string.
     
  14. yellowbeard

    yellowbeard Tele-Holic

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    Bending is bad for your back, you're better off squatting and lifting with your legs.
     
  15. limbe

    limbe Tele-Afflicted

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    Read an interview with Jimmy Page last week.He said that all the real heavy riffs were done with very light strings.0.008s.He seemed surprised himself !Led Zep did a very early tour in Scandinavia billed as "The New Yardbirds".playing together for the first time in front of a live audience in Denmark 1968.
     
  16. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    If I squat and lift my legs, I fall over.

    If I lift with my legs, things keep slipping out of my grasp, you must have prehensile toes.
     
  17. telemenow

    telemenow Tele-Meister

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    And besides all his Hot Licks videos etc., Arlen Roth has some great lessons and advice (bending too) on Gibson.com.....
     
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