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e-----------------
B--10--9b(10)-----
G-----------------
D-----------------
A-----------------
E-----------------
* If you don't know what this is, see how to read guitar tabs *
What is it?
Like the name implies, bending is a guitar technique which involves bending a string so as to get a different sound out of it.  When bending a string you change the pitch at which you were playing.  So for example when your plucking the 5th fret and bending the string upwards, the note may end of sounding like you're playing the 6th of 7th fret.

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Bending

Once you understand string bending,
proceed to the next lesson - Sliding


Return from Bending  to the Pluck and Play Homepage
This is what it should look and sound like:
e--------------------------------------------
B--------------------------------------------
G--------------------------------------------
D------------5-7b(8)b7-----5-----------------
A------5-7---------------7---7--5b(6)b5------
E--5-8-----------------------------------7-5-
Bending should only be done with the first three (index, middle and ring) fingers.  These fingers are your strongest.  Bending is usually easier on electric guitars, but is used by many acoustic guitar players as well.

You can also bend a full step.  In this case you'll bend the string so that it sounds as if you're playing 2 frets higher then you are.  In the example below you'll pluck the 9th fret and bend the string far enough so that the sound is the same as that of the 11th fret.
e-----------------
B----9b(11)-------
G-----------------
D-----------------
A-----------------
E-----------------
Sometimes you'll bend a string so that the two notes you're playing are heard as one (also called grace bending) and other times you'll play them so that they sound like two distinct notes (also called measured bending).

There's no real way to indicate the difference between these two forms of bending on guitar tablature, but with enough practise your ear will become accustomed to the sound of string bending and you'll be able to distinguish between different kinds of bending.

Bending is especially usefull to electric guitar players that use guitar effects.  By combining distortion effects and bending you get the 'weeping' or 'crying' effect which the electric guitar has become so famous for.


Let's heat it up a bit...
Try playing the following lick which involves some string bending.  Note that on both of the bends in this lick the string is bent up half a step and then back down again to the sound of the original fret.  If this is your first time bending strings, it'll take some practice, but keep at it.  Here's the tab:
This is what it should look and sound like:
Yep, it sounds pretty cool and it's not that difficult.  Try until you can manage it.

In the example below you'll pluck the 10th fret on the B-string, then pluck the 9th fret and bend the string upwards so that the sound is the same as that of the 10th fret.  This is called bending a half-step.
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