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Guitar Bends For Beginners

FavoriteLoadingBookmark this Lesson. This lesson is our first lesson concentrating on guitar bends. Bending is a technique that is unique to stringed instruments and is used in virtually every style of music.

We start by talking about basic hand positioning so you can see what exactly your fret hand should be doing during a bend. We then move on to a little exercise that you can practice that has you focus on bending the string in tune.

Start slow if you have never done any bending before, because it can be quite tough on your finger tips in the beginning. If you are practicing on an acoustic it will probably take a little longer and probably be more uncomfortable but it is worth it!!

Practice bends consistently but not constantly. You can blister up your finger tips pretty quick if you are not careful.

So have fun practicing one of the most important techniques that you will ever learn on the guitar, but don't hurt yourself. πŸ™‚

If these free lessons help you, please donate to keep new ones coming daily. Thanks!! πŸ™‚

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Guitar Bends For Beginners

21 Comments

  1. GlennO on September 14, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    By far the best instruction I’ve seen on string bending. Extremely helpful.

  2. TJ on September 23, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    i’m a beginner and i’ve been searching for a video like THIS for such a long time! thanks for posting it, very helpful. btw, great website!

    • Carl Brown on September 24, 2010 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks a lot TJ, I hope you can find a lot of other useful stuff here as well. πŸ˜€

      Carl..

  3. Mike on October 9, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Carl, Excellent lesson! I’m a relatively new guitar student (1 year into it), and being that I want to focus on the blues, I have to learn to bend strings. I have zero problem bending. I can bend the high E to the G string position or beyond – till it breaks. ALL of my problem is from unwanted noise. I’ve learned to palm mute fairly well but being that my biggest problem is from strings popping under my fingers while going up, or out from under my strings when going back down, I still get the click sound with the palm muting. My action is set pretty low. I see that a lot of guys saying to keep the unplayed string(s) anchored right at the tip of the finger when bending. But even if I raise the action, this NEVER works for me as the unplayed string(s) ALWAYS roll from the tips of my fingers and end up under my fingers on the way up. That’s when the problem starts…..unwanted noise as they roll and pop under my fingers going up, and unwanted noise as they pop back up on the way back down. Everybody says practice is the key, but hour after hour and day after day with no success, kinda makes one want to just give up. Nevertheless, thanks again for a great lesson. Mike in Memphis.

  4. Cuyahoga County Clerk of Courts on May 12, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    You have a real talent for putting your thoughts into clear, original content. Your article is easy to read and understand. You have brought forth some really good points that I agree with and appreciate.

  5. Dom on May 29, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Right at the end of the video, you mentioned that some people tend to bend downwards. I’m one of those people. So, is bending downwards not as good as bending upwards?

    Oh, and great tutorial!

    • Carl Brown on June 7, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      I don’t think it really matters at all. If it is comfortable to you than do it. Obviously you won’t be able to bend downwards on the 1st and 2nd strings because you will probably fall off the fretboard, but other than that you should be fine. The problem here is that most of the bends on the guitar happen on the 1st and 2nd strings so you may want to really work on your upwards bending technique as well. πŸ™‚

      Cheers! Carl..

  6. Your Name on November 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Taught myself the bends on a .12 acoustic stings πŸ™‚

  7. aditya on July 31, 2012 at 6:15 am

    thanks a bunch sir your lessons have been very helpful. learned everything from your lessons and am already better than most of my friends who go to classes
    thank u once again your lessons has helped me a lot

  8. Basel Khalil on July 13, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Hey ,Carl great lesson
    Do we do the muting (of the first finger )by the tip of the fingers or we could do it with its palm ! ?
    Thank you

    • Carl Brown on July 13, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Hey Basel, most of the time when bending you will mute the string that is above the string you are bending on with the tip of your first finger.

      For all the strings below the string you are bending on you would use the under side of your first finger.

      Any other strings are usually muted by the palm side of your picking hand, usually towards the pinky side.

      Hope this is clear. πŸ™‚

      Carl..

  9. Basel Khalil on July 15, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Hey Carl
    Yes ,this clear πŸ™‚
    Much appreciate it .

  10. Ann Louise on June 1, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks for showing the best way to bend. For years, I did bends without having my fingers in this angled position and couldn’t figure out why my nails were pulling away from my fingers or why I was gouging my fretboard when other people made it look so easy and didn’t damage their guitar.
    *side note for my peers: Don’t apply anti-aging/anti-wrinkle facial cream with your fret hand. You will never have callouses! Your finger tips will forever be grapes! OUCH! LOL πŸ˜€

  11. T on August 2, 2015 at 12:31 am

    Thanks for the lessons Carl! I am learning more every day!

  12. Robert Le Feve on April 12, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    WOW! I would consider myself and intermediate guitar player returning to the hobby after some time off and I am happy to say this lesson has some great info that I will apply to my playing. Bends were never explained in this level of detail to me before!

  13. Michael Schwaber on April 29, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Carl!

    I am having a problem with unwanted string noise when releasing bended strings. Specifically, after bending the B string a whole step in the direction of the thick E string, on the release I get string noise from the D string. It is not a lot of noise, but it is noticeable. This is because, the tip of my index finger pushes the D string toward the thick E string when bending, and on the release of the bend, the D string vibrates. The whole time, the G string is muted by my index finger. My index finger is actually pressing down on the G string while my middle and ring finger bend the B string. I’ve tried resting (as opposed to pressing) my index finger on the G and D strings simultaneously, but I don’t think I do this properly because I still get unwanted string noise. How do I bend the B string a whole step while avoiding getting vibration in the D string? When you do this bend, does your index finger push down on the G string or just rest above it?

    Thanks!

    Mike

    • Carl Brown on April 30, 2016 at 10:47 am

      Hey Michael, if your index finger muting the D string isn’t working for you, try placing your index finger over the top of the B string allowing the edge of the finger to stay in constant contact with the G string. From there your G string will stay muted.

      For all the lower strings (D A E), use the edge of your picking hand palm. Essentially the big muscle under your pinky that makes up with strong edge of the palm.

      So basically, use the index finger too mute any adjacent string over the string you are bending on, then use your picking hand palm to mute any strings that are 2 strings or lower than the string you are bending on. Both hands combine to do all the muting with the right technique. πŸ™‚

  14. Michael Schwaber on April 30, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks Carl!

    I will use your advise of muting the lower 3 strings with my picking hand palm. I was also getting some unwanted string noise from the A string, so this should solve that problem too.

  15. james stamp on February 8, 2017 at 4:48 am

    Hi Carl, I’ve been playing for a year now and have been really struggling with bending strings and getting feedback from the the other strings. After trying all sorts of different positions and even cutting my nails down to. nothing and still having the problem, I’d almost given up. In a last attempt I turned to the Internet. I found your tutorial, watched your video and all a can say is “brilliant ” . You have explained it perfectly and I’m now looking forward to taking your techniques and Advice and finally going forwards again. Thanks so much, I’ve signed up and will now be following your site closely. Thanks james

    • Carl Brown on February 9, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      Awesome James, thanks for the cool comment. I am looking forward to helping you solve even more of the guitar’s mysteries. πŸ™‚

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