Get High With A Little Help…For Your BENDS! (Part 1)

Guitar bends are great.

They make the guitar one of the closest instruments to the human voice around.

This is because the notes you play can smoothly change from a low note to a high note and back, just like a singer.

This is SO much different that an instrument like the piano because, although notes can blend into each other if you press down the sustain pedal on the floor, they can never really transform into each other like on a guitar.

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That’s one of the reasons why guitar solos are so exciting and so expressive.

When the singer stops singing halfway through the song (usually after the 2nd Chorus), the guitarist takes over at full volume and plays a solo that gives the crowd goosebumps.

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin in Concert at Chicago Stadium - 1-20-1975 Chicago Stadium Chicago, Illinois USA January 20, 1975 Photo by Laurance Ratner/WireImage.com  To license this image (317516), contact WireImage.com

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin in Concert at Chicago Stadium – 1-20-1975 Chicago Stadium Chicago, Illinois USA January 20, 1975 Photo by Laurance Ratner/WireImage.com

And these solos usually include string bends.

It’s almost as if for that 30-60 seconds, the guitarist IS the lead singer.

And that’s kind of the point.

I mean, haven’t you ever noticed that some of the best solos are the ones you can sing along with?

Some guitarists even play the EXACT same vocal melody on the guitar (ex. Kurt Cobain does this on the solo of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”)

 

The Truth About Bending

Ok, I think I’ve sold you on what makes bends so great.

But if you’re like most Beginners and Struggling guitarists who have tried bends and failed, you’ve probably hit these problems at some point:

  1. You can’t get the string to bend
  2. You can’t get the string to sound any different when you bend it
  3. You can’t get the note to sustain throughout the up & down motion
  4. You can’t complete the bend without hitting other notes
  5. You can’t hold the bend for longer than a second
  6. You can’t bend to your target note and the note you play sounds out of tune
  7. You don’t know whether to bend the string up or down

Alright, that’s enough about what you can’t do, now let’s get to why this is happening and what you CAN do to fix it.

The Solution

Today’s post is going to focus on tackling the first problem (you can’t get the string to bend).

Because if you can’t bend at all, then we can’t even tackle #2-7.

Here’s a simple solution for bending strings:

 

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Conclusion

I hope that this post helped you play better bends!

More importantly, I hope it helped you understand what goes into a bend on the guitar and cleared up any confusion you may have had that was limiting your strength, range of movement, and quality of bending.

Please Like or Share this post if it helped you. 🙂

 

Band Member Extra

Access Jam Session #26 (called “Target Practice”) in your Band Member Dashboard.

Learn everything you need to know about playing bends perfectly in tune and instantly improving your solos!

Click here to access Jam Session #26 now

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Thanks for reading and talk soon,

signatureSteveakaVØID

About Steve (aka VØID)

Steve (aka VØID) is the owner and head Guitar Coach at Rockstar Mind. He is a self-taught guitarist for 20 years and a professional guitarist & Major label recording artist for 10 years (touring the world opening for and performing with big name acts such as KISS, Hinder, Finger Eleven, and Our Lady Peace). Most importantly, he has been coaching struggling guitarists for over 15 years to quickly overcome their playing obstacles and play their favourite songs on guitar. After his father was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer, Steve put his music career on hold to become his primary caregiver. He created a fundraising initiative called VØID Cancer where he uses proceeds from every sale to create new programs for patients and caregiver. All in his father's honour. Connect with Steve (aka VØID) on Facebook.
About The Author

Steve (aka VØID)

Steve (aka VØID) is the owner and head Guitar Coach at Rockstar Mind. He is a self-taught guitarist for 20 years and a professional guitarist & Major label recording artist for 10 years (touring the world opening for and performing with big name acts such as KISS, Hinder, Finger Eleven, and Our Lady Peace). Most importantly, he has been coaching struggling guitarists for over 15 years to quickly overcome their playing obstacles and play their favourite songs on guitar. After his father was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer, Steve put his music career on hold to become his primary caregiver. He created a fundraising initiative called VØID Cancer where he uses proceeds from every sale to create new programs for patients and caregiver. All in his father's honour. Connect with Steve (aka VØID) on Facebook.

  • Phil Higdon

    Hey Steve. Any specific tricks for us acoustic guitar players using 12s and even one guitar with 13s? Lighter strings don’t give me the overall sound I want from my concert size guitars. They aren’t cheap acoustic guitars either. All have a nice touch and are setup to my style of finger. ……Phil

  • steveakavoid

    Hey Phil…thanks for the comment buddy!

    I would recommend Silk & Steel strings from D’Addario.

    Bending is always tricky on acoustic, so maybe you can have a dedicated acoustic for playing leads? Regardless, I like the sound of Silk & Steel. 😀

    • Phil Higdon

      Good option. If I get into music that could really use bends I might set one up with silk and steel strings. I used to use them a lot but find that Elixir lights and mediums give me the sound I usually want. I’m planning on getting a set of the Elixirs made in a joint plan with Taylor guitars. I have a Taylor 712E and now the recommendation is the new HD string. It was 13 level strings for B and e with regular E A D strings with the G being a different size from either set. I use Martin Flex Core 12s on my Martin 000rsgt. I have different 12s on my Guild M120. This is the second set that I’m testing for Elixir and they sent 12s. I don’t know anything else about them. I just play them and give Elixir feedback. I think I want to try the new Elixir HD mixed set in phosphor bronze instead of the 80/20 bronze I’ve been using. I’ll keep trying to get enough bend on the Guild for now. Thanks.