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How to play bends

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How to play bends

Basics required for this lesson : None
Practice this lesson : None

The bend

The technique of the bend consists in changing the pitch of a note with your left hand, pulling the string vertically up (or down).

On a tab, the "bend" is indicated by an up arrow as follows:
 

D|----7^----|


Now that you know the theory, let's practice:
 

  1. Place one finger (preferably the middle or ring finger) on a fret of the string of your choice.
  2. With the right hand, scrape the string to produce the corresponding sound
  3. While the note vibrates and while your left hand still frets, pull the string up
  4. Depending on how far you pull, the pitch of the new note can vary from a quarter-tone to a tone and a half (the height of the "bend" to achieve is indicated above the tablature).

Note: a "bend" of one tone is traditionally called a "full"

The bend-release

Behind this rather barbaric name lies a simple extension of the classic oebend” technique. The idea is to release the "bend" made to go back to the original note.

On a tab, the "bend-release 'is indicated by a double arrow up / down as follows:
 

D|----7^v----|


To achieve this, use the technique of "bend" described above and add the step below:

5- Release the "bend" (leaving your finger on the string) to return to the original note,


Note :
The duration of a "bend" / "bend-release" may vary. It is also common to insert a set of notes on different strings between the "bend" and the "release" of the latter.

Eg during the solo of "patience" of the "Guns N'Roses"

e|----------------------|
B|----------------------|
G|-----4---7------------|
D|--7^-------7v-----5---|
A|----------------------|
A|----------------------|

(Notes 4 & 7 are performed while the 7 of the upper string is in "bend")
 

The Release-bend

It consists in making the reverse movement of a "bend": we start from the highest note and first pull the string upward without playing it, then we simultaneously produce the note by releasing the string vertically

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