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The Guitar Principles  
The TRUTH about Learning Guitar
Improve Your Skills > Blues/Rock > 2 Bends In A Row On Electric Guitar

2 Bends In A Row On Electric Guitar

 There is nothing like teaching the guitar to make you realize how incredibly complex it is to actually play one. This is especially true when it comes to playing the electric guitar. Working with students and getting their playing to really sound professional is often quite a challenge, especially when a student is having trouble with something that you, as a player, never experienced a problem with.

In such a circumstance, the real difficulties are often invisible, and unknown to both teacher and student. The student usually doesn't even know it doesn't sound quite right, let alone know why! The teacher will know something is wrong, but often doesn't know what to do about it.

Here is a real candidate for such a circumstance. It is an action required when bending a string, an action that gives the bend exactly the right sound and shape it needs, and because it is not understood by the student, and easily taken for granted by the teacher, it is often missing in the playing and the sound.

The action takes place when doing successive bends. We will very often see two bends that come one after another written like this.........


What is missing in the notation is any indication that there is a VERY quick downward motion that must take place right before the second bend. This is taken for granted by players, but I have met many students who try to nail a lick, and completely miss the right sound because this action is not taking place.

It is also very common that even after having it explained, many students, especially those still developing basic skills, will be unable to do it effectively. And there is a very good reason for this--it's hard to do! Many students are approaching bends wrongly, attempting to bend the string with finger strength only, instead of powering it through forearm rotation. That will pretty much make the required action impossible!

Here is a simple lick using this move. It is the first lick of the solo from Judas Priest "Livin' After Midnight". This would be considered a "simple" lick and solo, but making it like it is supposed to is something many students will find difficult, because the will not be doing the the quick "down and back up" motion before each bend. In fact, it was while working on this solo with a student, and trying to figure out why she wasn't getting the right sound, that I began to analyze this important action sequence.




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