Blues Bends

Difficulty: Medium | Guitar used: Fender Telecaster | Tuning: Standard

Accurate string bending is an essential technique for guitarists and one of the best ways to improve it is playing the blues. So much of the blues sound is in how you play each note with string bending and vibrato being crucial.

Example#1

|-11b13---8---------8---------------|
|-----------------8---11------------|
|-----------10b12--------8----------|
|------------------------------10---|
|-----------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------|

In this example we are using the C blues scale over a backing chord of C7. Both of the bends in this example are normal whole tone bends- play the note as shown then bend the string up (or down) two frets.

Example#2

|--------15---------------|--------------------|
|-15b17====17r15-13-------|--------------------|
|------------------14-----|-12h14-14b17--12----|
|-------------------------|--------------------|
|-------------------------|--------------------|
|-------------------------|--------------------|

This example is using the A pentatonic minor scale over an Am-G backing. The first bend needs to be held then released. To do this, bend up to the 17th fret on the 2nd string and hold it it there then pick the 15th fret on the 1st string. Finish by picking the 2nd string (still holding the bend to the 17th) and release the bend. The second bend in the example might take some time to get perfect as you will be bending the string from the 14th to the 17th fret.

A good way to practice harder bends is to play the fretted note (in this example the A on 14th fret) and then slide up to the target note. Then immediately try the bend and listen for the difference in the target note- with practice they will identical.

Example#3

|----------------------------------------|
|------------------------11b13r=11b13r===|
|-10pb12r=8-10-10-8----------------------|
|-------------------10-------------------|
|----------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------|

In the final example I’m using the C pentatonic minor scale over a Cm chord. The first bend is a pre-bend. Before playing the note on the 10th fret, bend the string 2 frets then strike the string and release it back to the 10th fret. The final bend consists of two quick bend and releases but you only actually pick the first note on the 11th fret.

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One Response to Blues Bends

  1. Pingback: Playing Lead Guitar: Part 2 « Nearlyarockstar

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