Lesson 15.1 – Introduction to Bending

Bending refers to the act of stretching a fretted string with the fretting hand to force greater
tension, which in turn raises the pitch. By bending strings, we can create any pitch we want
within the range of two whole tones (four frets) higher; however, on most acoustics and many
electrics, you may only be able to raise the pitch one tone. Bending will be difficult in the
beginning because you can achieve any sub-semitone you want, like quarter tones. Since
bending allows you to play any pitch, it will take practice to get the bend to the exact pitch
you want.

There are many varieties of bend, each giving a unique sound quality.

Regular Bends

A regular bend is simply sounding the note before bending the string or while simultaneously
plucking the string, and while the note is ringing you’ll bend the string to raise the pitch to
whatever degree you want.

Gradual Bends

A gradual bend is the same as a regular bend, except you can take more time in the bend to
get to the 2nd tone. If you are playing on an acoustic guitar, or an electric with no overdrive,
you may find that the note dies out before finishing the bend.

Bend and Release

A bend and release is when you perform a regular bend or a gradual bend, then unbend the
string so that it goes back to its original pitch. Switching notes in this way, as opposed to
picking the individual notes, gives you all the in-between sounds, creating a different effect.

Prebend

A prebend is when you don’t sound the string until you’ve already bent it. It is useful for the
next type of bend, which is the reverse bend.

Reverse Bend

A reverse bend is a combination of a prebend and a bend and release. To do this, you prebend
a string, sound it and then release the string.

Unison Bend

In a unison bend two notes are struck simultaneously and the lower note is bent up to the pitch of the other.

Coming soon.

+ Lesson Info

Lesson 15.1 – Introduction to Bending

Bending refers to the act of stretching a fretted string with the fretting hand to force greater
tension, which in turn raises the pitch. By bending strings, we can create any pitch we want
within the range of two whole tones (four frets) higher; however, on most acoustics and many
electrics, you may only be able to raise the pitch one tone. Bending will be difficult in the
beginning because you can achieve any sub-semitone you want, like quarter tones. Since
bending allows you to play any pitch, it will take practice to get the bend to the exact pitch
you want.

There are many varieties of bend, each giving a unique sound quality.

Regular Bends

A regular bend is simply sounding the note before bending the string or while simultaneously
plucking the string, and while the note is ringing you’ll bend the string to raise the pitch to
whatever degree you want.

Gradual Bends

A gradual bend is the same as a regular bend, except you can take more time in the bend to
get to the 2nd tone. If you are playing on an acoustic guitar, or an electric with no overdrive,
you may find that the note dies out before finishing the bend.

Bend and Release

A bend and release is when you perform a regular bend or a gradual bend, then unbend the
string so that it goes back to its original pitch. Switching notes in this way, as opposed to
picking the individual notes, gives you all the in-between sounds, creating a different effect.

Prebend

A prebend is when you don’t sound the string until you’ve already bent it. It is useful for the
next type of bend, which is the reverse bend.

Reverse Bend

A reverse bend is a combination of a prebend and a bend and release. To do this, you prebend
a string, sound it and then release the string.

Unison Bend

In a unison bend two notes are struck simultaneously and the lower note is bent up to the pitch of the other.

+ Transcription

Coming soon.