Bending

Guitar Tricks Forum > Technique and Style > Bending

BrittanyL.O.

Registered User

Joined: 08/16/11

Posts: 3

After many long weeks of practice, I finally got Freebird down (or so I thought). I had been playing along with the performance at the end of the lesson and though it sounded pretty good. However when I played it for my mother, without listening to the song, it sucked. I've come to the conclusion that my bends are out of key. I tried to correct this problem by plugging my guitar into a tuner and practicing the bends over and over. Unfourtunally, my bends are still not great and Ive come to realize that the smallest movement really makes a difference in the pitch. So my question is how should one go about learning to bend properly? Should I just keep trying with my tuner until I develop an ear for it? By any chance are there any tricks or tips I missed out on?

#1

After many long weeks of practice, I finally got Freebird down (or so I thought). I had been playing along with the performance at the end of the lesson and though it sounded pretty good. However when I played it for my mother, without listening to the song, it sucked. I've come to the conclusion that my bends are out of key. I tried to correct this problem by plugging my guitar into a tuner and practicing the bends over and over. Unfourtunally, my bends are still not great and Ive come to realize that the smallest movement really makes a difference in the pitch. So my question is how should one go about learning to bend properly? Should I just keep trying with my tuner until I develop an ear for it? By any chance are there any tricks or tips I missed out on?

hunter1801

Registered User

Joined: 01/26/05

Posts: 1331

The way you are doing it is a actually a good way. Using a tuner to make sure you are going to the correct pitch is smart. HOWEVER, you should keep in mind that even the pros may not go exactly to pitch. Not because they can't, but because they just bend it to the sound they want. If it isn't 100% correct pitch, it doesn't matter, as long as it sounds good.

In Freebird, pay attention to that and see if he actually goes to an exact pitch, or slightly higher/lower. Your ears may be used to hearing a note that is technically "wrong" so when you play it "right", it will sound off. Either way, it is still a good idea to keep doing what you are doing and learning the correct pitches. It will not only help for bending, but for almost everything you do with guitar later on in terms of ear training.

Playing alone will give you a huge wake-up call if you are always used to playing with the song. If you have the song going, it is much easier to follow along in your head and it makes it easier in a way. Play a song by yourself and you are now in charge of keeping the rhythm, timing and pitches perfect. I got my wake-up call when I first started my band. Songs that I have been playing for years along with the CD all of a sudden SUCKED when we tried to jam with just ourselves.

#2

The way you are doing it is a actually a good way. Using a tuner to make sure you are going to the correct pitch is smart. HOWEVER, you should keep in mind that even the pros may not go exactly to pitch. Not because they can't, but because they just bend it to the sound they want. If it isn't 100% correct pitch, it doesn't matter, as long as it sounds good.

In Freebird, pay attention to that and see if he actually goes to an exact pitch, or slightly higher/lower. Your ears may be used to hearing a note that is technically "wrong" so when you play it "right", it will sound off. Either way, it is still a good idea to keep doing what you are doing and learning the correct pitches. It will not only help for bending, but for almost everything you do with guitar later on in terms of ear training.

Playing alone will give you a huge wake-up call if you are always used to playing with the song. If you have the song going, it is much easier to follow along in your head and it makes it easier in a way. Play a song by yourself and you are now in charge of keeping the rhythm, timing and pitches perfect. I got my wake-up call when I first started my band. Songs that I have been playing for years along with the CD all of a sudden SUCKED when we tried to jam with just ourselves.

SunKing1

Registered User

Joined: 05/31/11

Posts: 36

I agree with hunter1801, usually it's not about getting the perfect pitch. Some guitar players just bend a quarter of the note and that creates a special sound, and a tuner that aims at perfect pitches cannot help in that case. Keep hearing yourself without any background song and you'll develop a "finer ear" for bending. Altough playing along music is great (and it certainly helped most of the musicians we admire today) playing alone, (or even better recording yourself playing alone) is also essential.
Rocksmith Review // Real Guitar Game
How to Start Playing Guitar

#3

I agree with hunter1801, usually it's not about getting the perfect pitch. Some guitar players just bend a quarter of the note and that creates a special sound, and a tuner that aims at perfect pitches cannot help in that case. Keep hearing yourself without any background song and you'll develop a "finer ear" for bending. Altough playing along music is great (and it certainly helped most of the musicians we admire today) playing alone, (or even better recording yourself playing alone) is also essential.
Rocksmith Review // Real Guitar Game
How to Start Playing Guitar

BrittanyL.O.

Registered User

Joined: 08/16/11

Posts: 3

It makes me feel better to know that even the professionals are off sometimes, I hadn't really considered that. I guess I'll keep on going with my tuner though, and take a closer look at Freebird. Hopefully I can make some improvements. Thanks for the help!

#4

It makes me feel better to know that even the professionals are off sometimes, I hadn't really considered that. I guess I'll keep on going with my tuner though, and take a closer look at Freebird. Hopefully I can make some improvements. Thanks for the help!

sixpicker

Telecastered Instructor

Joined: 03/12/04

Posts: 756

Hey all,
It's actually called a blue note, which is kind of in between. I have a tutorial on string bending, and explain the concept of it. It may help if you know more about it, instead of just doing it. This tutorial covers bending positions on the 2nd string, and there are also some useful tips.

http://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=628

Let me know if this helps, and then you can go to the bends on the 3rd string.

http://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=889

Then there is also part 2 of bending the 3rd string. String bending is one of my favorite things to do, and after I understood the concept it became much easier for me.

http://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=931

These lessons may seem more country than anything else, but everything in these tutorials can be used in any genre. Just check them out, and let me know if I can be of more help to you.
JD

Latest Tutorials
Bending The Flat 7 To The 1
Chicken Pickin'
Hybrid Picking Exercises: One Finger
Hybrid Picking Progression In A
Double Stop Progression In A
Crosspicking Combinations
Behind The Nut Bends On The G String
Behind The Nut Bends On The B String

My Lessons

http://www.youtube.com/jdfenderbender
myspace.com/jdjarrell
myspace.com/guitartrickscountry
twitter.com/jdfenderbender
facebook.com/jdjarrell

#5

Hey all,
It's actually called a blue note, which is kind of in between. I have a tutorial on string bending, and explain the concept of it. It may help if you know more about it, instead of just doing it. This tutorial covers bending positions on the 2nd string, and there are also some useful tips.

http://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=628

Let me know if this helps, and then you can go to the bends on the 3rd string.

http://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=889

Then there is also part 2 of bending the 3rd string. String bending is one of my favorite things to do, and after I understood the concept it became much easier for me.

http://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=931

These lessons may seem more country than anything else, but everything in these tutorials can be used in any genre. Just check them out, and let me know if I can be of more help to you.
JD

Latest Tutorials
Bending The Flat 7 To The 1
Chicken Pickin'
Hybrid Picking Exercises: One Finger
Hybrid Picking Progression In A
Double Stop Progression In A
Crosspicking Combinations
Behind The Nut Bends On The G String
Behind The Nut Bends On The B String

My Lessons

http://www.youtube.com/jdfenderbender
myspace.com/jdjarrell
myspace.com/guitartrickscountry
twitter.com/jdfenderbender
facebook.com/jdjarrell

BrittanyL.O.

Registered User

Joined: 08/16/11

Posts: 3

Thank you! Most of the bends in Freebird occur on the second and third strings, so this will be good practice. Also, I find bending the lower notes a bit difficult, so again this should help. And I like your finger popping trick in the last set of lessons. I'll have to find something to throw that into Smilie.

#6

Thank you! Most of the bends in Freebird occur on the second and third strings, so this will be good practice. Also, I find bending the lower notes a bit difficult, so again this should help. And I like your finger popping trick in the last set of lessons. I'll have to find something to throw that into Smilie.

sixpicker

Telecastered Instructor

Joined: 03/12/04

Posts: 756

Thanks BrittanyL.O.,
Bendin' and poppin' strings are definitely two of my faves. I'm also working on the sequels to those tutorials, and will use some other concepts on the 4th and 5th string bends. Then I'll show how to bend those E strings in another tutorial, and these are just the whole step bends.

I'm so glad my lessons helped you, and I hope you'll let me know how it's going. Learning those positions, and how they work is kind of like having a map, and it's great that the musical alphabet can be applied to any lick. Big Grin
JD

Latest Tutorials
Bending The Flat 7 To The 1
Chicken Pickin'
Hybrid Picking Exercises: One Finger
Hybrid Picking Progression In A
Double Stop Progression In A
Crosspicking Combinations
Behind The Nut Bends On The G String
Behind The Nut Bends On The B String

My Lessons

http://www.youtube.com/jdfenderbender
myspace.com/jdjarrell
myspace.com/guitartrickscountry
twitter.com/jdfenderbender
facebook.com/jdjarrell

#7

Thanks BrittanyL.O.,
Bendin' and poppin' strings are definitely two of my faves. I'm also working on the sequels to those tutorials, and will use some other concepts on the 4th and 5th string bends. Then I'll show how to bend those E strings in another tutorial, and these are just the whole step bends.

I'm so glad my lessons helped you, and I hope you'll let me know how it's going. Learning those positions, and how they work is kind of like having a map, and it's great that the musical alphabet can be applied to any lick. Big Grin
JD

Latest Tutorials
Bending The Flat 7 To The 1
Chicken Pickin'
Hybrid Picking Exercises: One Finger
Hybrid Picking Progression In A
Double Stop Progression In A
Crosspicking Combinations
Behind The Nut Bends On The G String
Behind The Nut Bends On The B String

My Lessons

http://www.youtube.com/jdfenderbender
myspace.com/jdjarrell
myspace.com/guitartrickscountry
twitter.com/jdfenderbender
facebook.com/jdjarrell

James.Erickson

Registered User

Joined: 04/06/09

Posts: 19

Another suggestion

Originally Posted by: BrittanyL.O.
After many long weeks of practice, I finally got Freebird down (or so I thought). I had been playing along with the performance at the end of the lesson and though it sounded pretty good. However when I played it for my mother, without listening to the song, it sucked. I've come to the conclusion that my bends are out of key. I tried to correct this problem by plugging my guitar into a tuner and practicing the bends over and over. Unfourtunally, my bends are still not great and Ive come to realize that the smallest movement really makes a difference in the pitch. So my question is how should one go about learning to bend properly? Should I just keep trying with my tuner until I develop an ear for it? By any chance are there any tricks or tips I missed out on?


Everyone has some really good suggestions on this. Another thing that you can practice doing, is a Joe Satriani and Steve Vai exercise. They suggest playing a scale up the string and each note you bend up to the next note of the scale, and then play the next note of the scale to see how close you got it. This helps you in multiple ways: scale memorization, playing bends in all positions, control, and bending in pitch. This can even be done with your pentatonics with some really big bends.


www.jamesericksonmusic.com

#8

Another suggestion

Originally Posted by: BrittanyL.O.
After many long weeks of practice, I finally got Freebird down (or so I thought). I had been playing along with the performance at the end of the lesson and though it sounded pretty good. However when I played it for my mother, without listening to the song, it sucked. I've come to the conclusion that my bends are out of key. I tried to correct this problem by plugging my guitar into a tuner and practicing the bends over and over. Unfourtunally, my bends are still not great and Ive come to realize that the smallest movement really makes a difference in the pitch. So my question is how should one go about learning to bend properly? Should I just keep trying with my tuner until I develop an ear for it? By any chance are there any tricks or tips I missed out on?


Everyone has some really good suggestions on this. Another thing that you can practice doing, is a Joe Satriani and Steve Vai exercise. They suggest playing a scale up the string and each note you bend up to the next note of the scale, and then play the next note of the scale to see how close you got it. This helps you in multiple ways: scale memorization, playing bends in all positions, control, and bending in pitch. This can even be done with your pentatonics with some really big bends.


www.jamesericksonmusic.com

gdengelbrecht

Registered User

Joined: 07/07/09

Posts: 34

Originally Posted by: BrittanyL.O.
After many long weeks of practice, I finally got Freebird down (or so I thought). I had been playing along with the performance at the end of the lesson and though it sounded pretty good. However when I played it for my mother, without listening to the song, it sucked. I've come to the conclusion that my bends are out of key. I tried to correct this problem by plugging my guitar into a tuner and practicing the bends over and over. Unfourtunally, my bends are still not great and Ive come to realize that the smallest movement really makes a difference in the pitch. So my question is how should one go about learning to bend properly? Should I just keep trying with my tuner until I develop an ear for it? By any chance are there any tricks or tips I missed out on?

Maybe you can practice standard bends but make sure you do it like vibrato. Play the note, bend it up (be it half steps or full steps - do both and do it on different places) and then bring it back down to the exact starting position. Do that against a metronome to get it evenly.

Also pick an easy lick and make the rue that you have to end it off by using a bend and maybe even a bent note vibrato. This way you will aply this bending skills you have immediately improving it further and making the process fun.
http://www.georgeshredking.com/

http://guitarlessonsinvredenburg.com/

#9

Originally Posted by: BrittanyL.O.
After many long weeks of practice, I finally got Freebird down (or so I thought). I had been playing along with the performance at the end of the lesson and though it sounded pretty good. However when I played it for my mother, without listening to the song, it sucked. I've come to the conclusion that my bends are out of key. I tried to correct this problem by plugging my guitar into a tuner and practicing the bends over and over. Unfourtunally, my bends are still not great and Ive come to realize that the smallest movement really makes a difference in the pitch. So my question is how should one go about learning to bend properly? Should I just keep trying with my tuner until I develop an ear for it? By any chance are there any tricks or tips I missed out on?

Maybe you can practice standard bends but make sure you do it like vibrato. Play the note, bend it up (be it half steps or full steps - do both and do it on different places) and then bring it back down to the exact starting position. Do that against a metronome to get it evenly.

Also pick an easy lick and make the rue that you have to end it off by using a bend and maybe even a bent note vibrato. This way you will aply this bending skills you have immediately improving it further and making the process fun.
http://www.georgeshredking.com/

http://guitarlessonsinvredenburg.com/

James.Erickson

Registered User

Joined: 04/06/09

Posts: 19

Originally Posted by: gdengelbrecht
Maybe you can practice standard bends but make sure you do it like vibrato. Play the note, bend it up (be it half steps or full steps - do both and do it on different places) and then bring it back down to the exact starting position. Do that against a metronome to get it evenly.

Also pick an easy lick and make the rue that you have to end it off by using a bend and maybe even a bent note vibrato. This way you will aply this bending skills you have immediately improving it further and making the process fun.


Agreed.

One thing that many students also forget to do is apply it in a large context. If you only work something in isolation you are going to have a very difficult time ever using it in a musical situation.

Good luck and keep working hard!

www.jamesericksonmusic.com

#10

Originally Posted by: gdengelbrecht
Maybe you can practice standard bends but make sure you do it like vibrato. Play the note, bend it up (be it half steps or full steps - do both and do it on different places) and then bring it back down to the exact starting position. Do that against a metronome to get it evenly.

Also pick an easy lick and make the rue that you have to end it off by using a bend and maybe even a bent note vibrato. This way you will aply this bending skills you have immediately improving it further and making the process fun.


Agreed.

One thing that many students also forget to do is apply it in a large context. If you only work something in isolation you are going to have a very difficult time ever using it in a musical situation.

Good luck and keep working hard!

www.jamesericksonmusic.com