When i play that old classic blues lick, ie: bending 9g up full step then 7b 7e, i always hit the open D string on the upward G bend. How do i avoid this? It makes my playing sound really sloppy. is this to be muted with the picking hand or fret hand?
Whichever is comfortable. I would first bend up with two fingers (the first and third in the 7th and 9th frets respectively) on the same string to allow for an easier bend. Assuming you're bending the G string up towards the D string, see if you can use your fretted index finger to mute the d string as well - or else mute your bass string with the left (kinda like you're palm muting) - and/or prepare the notes in the 7th fret on the higher strings with your index. Or try bending the string up the other way.
i find that most unwanted string noise can be alleviated by paying attention to how your fingers release the strings when they leave a note. in this case, the finger that does the upward G bend doesn't need to leave the string immediately after the bend, it can gently (but quickly) guide the two strings it's touching back to position without letting them ring.

you're probably doing it already to stop the G string, just be sure you manage to do it for the other string you're touching as well. you should be touching that other string with your fingertip and not your nail.
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