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Prebending Strings

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The first time I heard this used was on a Merle Haggard record, back then I didn't even know how it was done. James Burton, and Roy Nichols played guitar on these recordings, and Roy played guitar for Merle on the road.

Prebending means you bend the string, before you pick it. Also the bend is usually released, before playing the next note. You can also hold the bend, and start a bending combination.

The two prebends I played in this video, work with an E chord since there were no other notes after releasing the bend.

I'm using a compressor, reverb, and this also sounds great with a chorus.

I used the pick with an upstroke in both of these positions. I also use my fingers sometimes, along with a pick.

In the first one play the 1st string in the 12th fret, and bend the 2nd string up a whole step before you pick it. Then just release the bend slowly, by dropping the ring finger. In the second one play the 2nd string in the 5th fret, and bend the 3rd string up a whole step. Then release the bend slowly by dropping the middle finger.

This is a useful trick to have in your bag, and you'll be glad you learned to do it. It will take some time to get used to it, since you're guessing how far to bend the string. It may help if you bend the string and hold it, so you can get a feel for bending up to pitch. Play the string, bend it, and hold it. Play the other string, and after you play the bent note again release it.

I'm going to show you how to do this in A, D, and E. Then I'll show you some ways to use this trick, that can really add a lot to your playing.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to be added to my mailing list, feel free to post a message for me in my forum.

Lesson Info
Instructor J.D. Jarrell
Prebending Strings