How to Bend Strings
From your Guitar Guide
Learning how to bend strings is a tough technique for novice guitarists. By practicing hard and following these instructions, you'll learn the basics quickly.
- Choose a note on the third, second, or first string to bend. For this demonstration, we'll choose 'A' on the second string (10th fret).
- Play the note two frets above the A, on the second string, 12th fret. Remember the sound of this pitch, as it will be the pitch you aim for in your bend.
- Fret the 'A' note with your third (ring) finger on the 10th fret. Your second finger should rest on the second string, ninth fret. Your first finger should rest on the second string, eighth fret.
- In an upwards motion (towards you), bend the note until it reaches the pitch of the 12th fret. Use all three fingers to bend the string, not just the third finger.
- Once you reach the correct pitch, hold the note momentarily. Then, release the upward-pressure on the string, returning the note to it's original pitch.
- Practice the above technique on various locations on the fretboard. Generally, the lower the fret, the harder the note will be to bend.
- Practice the above technique, instead aiming to bend the pitch of the string by only one fret (instead of two). If you are having trouble with the first technique, this will be easier.
- Be sure to push with all three fingers. If you are having trouble getting the pitch to change drastically enough, the problem is probably that you're pushing exclusively with your third finger.
- If the note is 'dying' before you've completed the bend, you've probably stopped exerting enough pressure against the fretboard to keep the note sounding.
- Be extremely patient. Muscles take time to develop. You may find yourself unable to play the exercise properly at first. Keep practicing, and be aware that it is easier to bend strings on an electric guitar.
More How To's from your Guide to Guitar