What can we do to remedy this? Well there are 2 key elements to great string bending. Your fingers and your ears. Training these 2 things should come as a package, you need your fingers to be strong enough to make those all-important bends but you also need your ears to be listening, so you know where your pitch is heading.
An exercise I think is highly beneficial for string bending and ear training is to take the notes of the A Natural Minor Scale (A B C D E F G) and play them in ascending groups of 3 from the 2nd fret of the G string (Ex. 1). This first part is not to get your bending strength but it’s to get the notes into your ears and the pitches of every note of the scale familiar to you. The first 2 notes of each bar are played as ¼ notes while the third note is played as a ½ note (This extra length is what you should be listening to – get that pitch in your mind).
- 4th fret from a B to a C (1/2 tone)
- 5th fret from a C to a D (Whole tone)
- 7th fret from a D to an E (Whole tone)
- 9th fret from an E to an F (1/2 tone)
- 10th fret from an F to a G (Whole tone)
- 12th fret from a G to an A (Whole tone)
- 14th fret from an A to a B (1/2 tone)
This will help you hear what you’re aiming for with your bend.
Leigh Fuge is an experienced guitar tutor and professional musician from Wales, UK. He has taught hundreds of students in both face to face and via online guitar lessons.
He has a passion for sharing information and practise routines to help students develop their own voice with the instrument and achieve their full potential.