Bending a guitar string is one of the best ways to musically express yourself. It’s a unique sound where you push against the tension to glide between pitches. Piano players WISH they could do something that cool. This video guitar lesson will show you 45 fun ways to bend guitar strings. Tab available HERE:
How To Bend Guitar Strings in Country Music
Country guitar is known for it’s wacky, creative bends. Usually country bending involves multiple fingers. You might bend one note and hold another note steady. You might bend one note and hold two notes steady. You might be bending, releasing, and holding steady all at once while picking and plucking in between.
How To Bend Guitar Strings in Blues Music
Blues guitar is also known for its bends. Blues bends are much more dynamic. They can range from a soft, tiny half step bend picked up by the neck pickup, all the way to a loud, step-and-a-half crying bend where you drag your pick across 5 muted strings to get there.
How To Bend Guitar Strings in Rock Music
And rock guitar has always had its bends. Big, loud, unison smears with tons of wide vibrato at the top have been a staple of rock playing from Jimi Hendrix all the way through the modern progressive shredders like Guthrie Govan.
Why It’s Important To Learn How To Bend Guitar Strings
String bending is far too important a guitar technique to ignore. This video is a kick starter for your brain and your hands. It’ll give you some ideas of what can be done when it comes to pushing and pulling guitar strings all over the neck. You can even use this as a checklist to build up your hand strength and precision!
How I Learned How To Bend Guitar Strings
Three of my favorite creative benders are Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, and JT Corenflos. You’ll see a lot of their influence in this video, and I’ll tell you why:
Brad Paisley is a bending machine. He comes up with some of the most creative sounding bends out there. And part of the reason is because he literally has a bending machine. His guitars are equipped with McVay G-Benders, so when he tugs down on his guitar, the strap pulls a lever that tugs the G string trough the bridge saddle and raises the pitch by a whole step. This makes for some weird, silly, beautiful sounds. I’ve never owned a bender guitar, but I’ve had a really good time figuring out G bender licks without one!
Here is one of my favorite Brad Paisley songs with some great string bending:
Keith Urban is one of the most melodic players in music today. You won’t catch him playing Paul Gilbert or Yngwie Malmsteen licks, because Keith’s aim is to inject pure emotion into the listener’s heart while maintaining his own distinct style. He’ll bend notes too far, not far enough, cut them off, hold them out, and do whatever it takes to make the guitar sing.
This outro solo is an amazing example of how Keith can make you cry with string bends:
And JT Corenflos is a session player that has played on a lot of my favorite music. I don’t know much about him, but I know a lot about his playing because it’s everywhere on country radio and it’s brilliant. He has a must-have instrumental record called “Under The Radar”, and if you want to get a glimpse of his playing then this video is for you: