Bending the Strings in Rock & Blues Guitar
Who Bends? Some Classics
They all bend in all of their songs but here are some outstanding rock examples. Eric Clapton: Strange Brew, While My Guitar Gently Weeps on The Beatles White Album. David Gilmour (Pink Floyd): Comfortably Numb, Another Brick in the Wall, Jimi Hendrix: All Along The Watchtower, Manic Depression, The Eagles: I Can't Tell You Why, Don Felder and Joe Walsh on Hotel California, Jeff Beck: Cause We Ended As Lovers, Santana: Black Magic Woman, Stevie Ray Vaughn: Texas Flood, Jimmy Page: I Can't Quit You, Living Loving Maid
The #1 Bendy Blues Lick
- The most played blues guitar lick ever - YouTube
Used in virtually every single blues and rock guitar solo. Seriously!
- Vibrato Bending Notes Blues Guitar 1 Minute Guitar Lesson - YouTube
Ok I was challenged to be able to do a lesson in one minute or less...
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Bending to Make the Guitar Sing
One of the most recognizable sounds of blues and rock guitar is the bending of a string to produce a higher pitch. This technique allows a guitarist much expression and imparts a vocal quality to ones playing.
Bending allows the guitarist to emulate some of the "vocal-isms" inherent in blues singing, such as slurring between the pitches to produce among others the in-between "blue note" between the flatted 3rd and major 3rd.
Other examples include:
- bending the 4th to the flatted 5th
- bending the 4th to the 5th
- bending the flattened 5th to the natural 5th,
- bending the major 2nd to the flattened 3rd or major 3rd,
- bending the major 6th to the flattened 7th
- bending the flatted 7th to the tonic
- Bending the 5th to the 6th or flatted 7th
As mentioned previously, bends add a lot of emotion to guitarist's performance and help give solos a vocal-like quality. As electric guitars came more into prominence in the later years, guitarists were able to bend their strings to much higher pitches than the usual ½ step (or less) places found in earlier blues because of lighter gauge strings.
Any note can be bent, the rule of thumb is that you must bend to a note in the scale, usually the next one. The technique of over bending to a higher note past the next note is a great sound and many guitarists utilize this effect to create a soaring sound.
In this current day, it not unusual to hear in addition to the small slurs, whole step, minor 3rd and even major 3rd bends.
- BB King
- Albert King
- Buddy Guy
- Jimi Hendrix
- Freddie King
- Larry Carlton
- Eric Clapton
- Mike Bloomfield
- Jeff Beck
- David Gilmore
- Robben Ford
Check out my links to my articles on phrasing and improvising on one note.
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Watch The Bends in Action!
- Easy Blues Guitar Bend Lesson with minor pentatonic scale modifications. - YouTube
A demonstration on of classic blues guitar bends using collectively the E minor pentatonic scale, the E blues scale and the E Dorian scale.
Blues Guitar Bend 1
Blues Guitar Bend 2
Blues Guitar Bend 3
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Blues Guitar Bend 9
More Guitar Lessons
Bending the Strings Blues Guitar Demo
One Note Improvisation
- How to Improvise One Note at a Time
guitarists learn how to solo or improvise using a single note
Phrasing & Improvisation
- Phrasing in Improvisation
An overview on concepts applied to improvisation and composition.
Practice Your Bending
- Pro Band - Jamming Tracks Aap Review
iphone ipad itouch rhythm tracks jam tracks jamming tracks guitar blues rock backing tracks pro band review
- Blues: An Original American Music
An overview history of how the blues started and progressed in America.