#1
I've always wondered this. Are bends something forbidden in jazz guitar, or something? I'm excluding players like Al Di Meola, Connors, and some of the more fusion/rock based jazz guitarists (I know they're jazz, but I'm talking stricter, older styles). I'm watching a George Benson video right now, and he puts so much soul in his playing that it just seems odd to not throw in a bend every once in a while. Why do jazz guitarists seem to avoid bending so much?
#2
My theory is that early jazz originated on acoustic guitars and pianos where bends were not done, while blues and rock evolved once the electric guitar and more modern acoustic guitars (easier bends) were invented.

Feel free to bend in a jazz song.
#4
Quote by TisPyon
i think bandgoodcharlote pretty much got it right on the money



pretty much john scofield and BB King rolled up into one concise emopop package, exactly.
#5
yup, go ahead and bend though, nobodies going to bag on you for it...so long as you use it effectively and dont overdo it
#6
Jazz strings also tend to be much heavier gauge than typical electric guitar strings, making it harder to bend accurately and sustain the bend. My jazz teacher actually uses a set of .17's.
#7
Most jazzers tried to imitate the horn players, and they felt that sliding rather than bending was a better way, combined with the fact the boxes they played on were not made for string bending.
12 fret fury
#8
Ah, yeah. I never thought of that. Thanks for the replies guys, I was just curious. I still can't help but throw a few bends in every once in a while, but hey, as long as it sounds good, who cares?
#9
There's no reason not to


It's just that on a box with high action and very heavy strings, it was very difficult. Because of this, it was not a part of the traditional jazz guitar sound

Don't let THAT stop you.
#10
Quote by Punk Poser
Most jazzers tried to imitate the horn players, and they felt that sliding rather than bending was a better way, combined with the fact the boxes they played on were not made for string bending.
You win. Sliding is cleaner, so they slided. And sax, trumpet and clarinet players barely bend, although bending on a trumpet is possible (i think). Not sure about the other instruments.

To BGC
Jazz came from a combination of blues, black gospel music (think call and response), classical and carribean music (think about that jazzy syncopation rhthym). And before I get arguments, rich black musicians from aristocratic french families, who were classically trained, introduced classical to jazz. Actually, alot of jazzer right through until pre-bebop said they were playing blues and disliked calling their music jazz.
Early rock (think surfies) was very similar to bad swing jazz, except it was ridiculously diatonic and used guitars and less syncopation.
And jazz is barely a guitar style of music. They even stopped using guitars in their rhthym sections in the mid swing era. Sure there was a couple of good guitarist, charlie christian and wes montgomery, but guitars in jazz became rare.
#11
Reed players can bend. Brass certainly can, a lot. Heard much early Maynard? "shake" vibrato as wide as fifths, or more - all stolen from Louis, of course.

But bending is a very poor way to emulate the articulations of wind instruments, which are so complex as to be completely beyond strings.

And the strings were just so big.


For the record, contemporary jazz guitarists bend plenty, from my experience.
#12
Django bended. John Scofield bends all the time. It's mostly just a personal preference, as well as a technical limitation (try bending on a set of .012s or .013s!), so bend all you want, just keep it tasteful.
#14
Bends are interpretive not theoretical, and jazz is based on musical theory. A note (ideally) is one tone, a bend is an INFINITE number of tones...awfully hard to discuss theoretically since there is no constant. I (and MOST other players) can bend a string on an eighteenth century bass-violincello, so leave the instrument out of the discussion. Purists see bends as "cheating".
#15
^ Horse ****, smooth glides were written into strings long before jazz was somebody's pipe dream. On fretless instruments, those glides are straight up -- that probably has more to do with why you see relatively few bends in jazz more than anything else.

Jazz is more technical than it is theoretical, especially in improv, which is pretty much just a bunch of "Hey, look at what I can do." The problems with bends are that they're hard to get right, and they sound like **** if you're off even a little bit. And they're slow, or they sound like ****.

Different players and different styles are going to do different things though. Bends are definitely on if they fit what you're doing. (Hell, so is a whammy if you're not playing on a fixed bridge). A lot of it is about personal taste, and how annoying you can be to everyone else in the room without making a mistake (this is the formal definition of jazz).
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#16
Quote by Corwinoid
^ Horse ****, smooth glides were written into strings long before jazz was somebody's pipe dream. On fretless instruments, those glides are straight up -- that probably has more to do with why you see relatively few bends in jazz more than anything else.

Jazz is more technical than it is theoretical, especially in improv, which is pretty much just a bunch of "Hey, look at what I can do." The problems with bends are that they're hard to get right, and they sound like **** if you're off even a little bit. And they're slow, or they sound like ****.

Different players and different styles are going to do different things though. Bends are definitely on if they fit what you're doing. (Hell, so is a whammy if you're not playing on a fixed bridge). A lot of it is about personal taste, and how annoying you can be to everyone else in the room without making a mistake (this is the formal definition of jazz).

Now you're off topic. A glissando is not a bend. In musical theory a glissando is considered a series of notes. Fretted instruments, even pianos can glissand. The rest of what you say is your own lame opinion.
I also would like to add that the limitations of the early guitar relegated it to an accompaniement role, not a "lead" role.
#17
I'd like to add that not only do jazz guitarists use heavier gauges, they're also using flatwound strings, which makes bending even harder.

+1 to Nick_ on the brass section being able to bend...


As for whether you should or should not, does it sound good to you? If it does, do it, if it doesn't don't. It's you playing not the jazz police.
#18
Quote by demonofthenight
To BGC
I'm talking about the blues of the 50s and 60s that tried to be different than jazz. That's where bending became common.
#19
Quote by wildyoda2
Now you're off topic. A glissando is not a bend. In musical theory a glissando is considered a series of notes. Fretted instruments, even pianos can glissand. The rest of what you say is your own lame opinion.
I also would like to add that the limitations of the early guitar relegated it to an accompaniement role, not a "lead" role.

Hi! Thank you for your well though out response, unfortunately, the only reply I can come up with approaching its quality is something like... Reading comprehension for the ****ing fail.

Examine for me, exactly, if you will, where the hell in my post I said 'glissando'?

English mother****er, do you speak it?

I would also like to add, your well though out statements of fact are indeed, full of ****. The guitar, as a guitar, has first and foremost always been a solo instrument. It's application outside of that realm has either been exceedingly rare, or is a fairly "recent" development -- not counting transcriptions from other instruments. Thanks for playing.

Also, get your head out of your ass, even if I'm being abrasive (and I am, retards annoy me), I'm still responding to the thread in a productive and contributive manner. You do know what the **** "topic" means? It's a shame I can't report you for being just stupid enough too still make sense.

Jesus christ, seriously. No... really... WTF? Your post amounts to pretty much, "I acknowledge absolutely everything you just said, let me reply to it instead as if you said something completely different, thus proving that you don't know what you're not even talking about."

Protip: Removing your head from your ass is a 3 step process. First, place your hands upon your ass cheeks, second align your neck to be as straight as possible and reduce the change in radius of your jaw and skull. Finally, apply firm pressure until no longer full of ****.
Quote by les_kris
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#21
Corwinoid - I think that was an unnecessary response, but anyway I support him a bit: During the swing era, the guitar was a rhythm instrument.

Anyway the person who said that bends aren't use because they can't be explained well by theory, that's pretty stupid, perhaps more stupid than the assertion that jazz improv is a lot of "hey look what I cn do". While this is attitude is found in all styles of music, most musicians are beyond that. And jazz is, has been, and will be, mostly grounded in oral/aural tradition. You can't learn to swing properly from a book.
#22
in jazz band i always through in a couple bends in my solo's. Its just a way for me to think what im going to play for the next note.
#24
i love doing runs when im improving on say, Autumn leaves in E minor, and just bend up to the b5 and run back down pentatonically, gives it more of a blues feel, which is a cool contrast to jazz
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#25
they don't bend much in jazz since it's not needed? or bending is really a blues thing, jazz is talent and melody/harmony and interaction with how you can play a new path into the world, or jazz players don't learn how to bend, it's pretty hard to learn control over bends to apply them cleanly everytime. and heres the theory on bending: pushing the string tightens it while not changing its length, much like sharpening the string from the tuning gear, causing the note to vibrate faster due to an increased tightness of the string. control the push to hit semitones, whole tones, tritones, you name it.


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#26
Quote by Corwinoid
Hi! Thank you for your well though out response, unfortunately, the only reply I can come up with approaching its quality is something like... Reading comprehension for the ****ing fail.

Examine for me, exactly, if you will, where the hell in my post I said 'glissando'?

English mother****er, do you speak it?

I would also like to add, your well though out statements of fact are indeed, full of ****. The guitar, as a guitar, has first and foremost always been a solo instrument. It's application outside of that realm has either been exceedingly rare, or is a fairly "recent" development -- not counting transcriptions from other instruments. Thanks for playing.

Also, get your head out of your ass, even if I'm being abrasive (and I am, retards annoy me), I'm still responding to the thread in a productive and contributive manner. You do know what the **** "topic" means? It's a shame I can't report you for being just stupid enough too still make sense.

Jesus christ, seriously. No... really... WTF? Your post amounts to pretty much, "I acknowledge absolutely everything you just said, let me reply to it instead as if you said something completely different, thus proving that you don't know what you're not even talking about."

Protip: Removing your head from your ass is a 3 step process. First, place your hands upon your ass cheeks, second align your neck to be as straight as possible and reduce the change in radius of your jaw and skull. Finally, apply firm pressure until no longer full of ****.

You are obviously more well versed in pulling your head out of your ass than in communicating in the English language. Your argument is not strengthened by insults. My only acknowledgement of what you said is how lame your opinions are on jazz and on my response to the post. Please forgive me for not understanding your incorrect usage of musical terminology. What do you mean by "glide"? It is apparent you should be asking the questions, not responding to them. As amused as I am by your incomprehensible tirades, do not expect more discussion from me on this subject...unless I get REALLY bored.
#27
Would it be less confusing for you if I used 'portamento' instead?

Also, my 'lame' opinions, since you started throwing out the insults first (pot, meet kettle), would be shared by most of the performers that you respect, and are universal among composers and song writers (those of us who actually live off of doing it, and not the kids trying to make it happen in their basement).

Look, the appeal to authority there doesn't strengthen my argument either, but I do want to put it out where I'm coming from with that. The bit about jazz improv was a joke -- for those of you who don't get it, there are two competing definitions of jazz. The one given above, or alternatively "Making as many mistakes as quickly as possible before people realize how bad you are."

Saying I'm off topic (which is completely baseless), giving a wildly inaccurate "fact", throwing out an insult, and giving a second even more wildly incorrect assertion isn't "arguing", it's not "responding", it's not much of anything. Frankly, I was pretty damned spot on with my evaluation that your comments as a whole can be summarily dismissed as worthless. It was both blatantly wrong, and misleading. It's pretty hard coming up with a response to a post that bad with anything more than "Hey, this guy's completely wrong, ignore everything he just said." I figured I'd take the opportunity to make the rest of the people here who get it have a little chuckle at your expense. You earned it -- please, don't back down now.

This is a good time to point out that people like you are a big reason why a lot of us "old timers" don't bother posting here anymore. You know, why 90% of the people in the "who to listen to" list that you never actually bothered to read aren't around helping out anymore. It gets really ****ing old having people come up with some different way to say "I have no clue what I'm actually talking about, but I came by to say you're wrong anyway."

You know, I may be, sometimes, and I'll readily admit that. If that's the case, please point it out with information that's grounded in reality, and not just your rose-tinted view of it.
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#28
Quote by Nick_
Corwinoid - I think that was an unnecessary response, but anyway I support him a bit: During the swing era, the guitar was a rhythm instrument.

Anyway the person who said that bends aren't use because they can't be explained well by theory, that's pretty stupid, perhaps more stupid than the assertion that jazz improv is a lot of "hey look what I cn do". While this is attitude is found in all styles of music, most musicians are beyond that. And jazz is, has been, and will be, mostly grounded in oral/aural tradition. You can't learn to swing properly from a book.

As much as I am "grateful" for your double-edged support of my "stupid" argument, musical theory is about communicating musical ideas without music or instruments. It does not have to be a conscious effort to be apparent. If music theory is to be effectively universal than it must be able to be played on all instruments. Since not all instruments are capable of micro-tones, there is no place for "bends" in musical theory. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be used in performance or can't be discussed, but adding it to musical theory pretty much wipes out ALL musical theory. It would overwhelmingly eliminate any standardization. Half steps would immediately become infinite steps. There would be no reason to tune your instrument. In effect micro-tones are the direct OPPOSITE of musical theory.
#29
^ This can summarily be dismissed as flat out wrong. I'm not even going to bother justifying the argument.
Quote by les_kris
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Click here to worship me.

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#30
Bending/not bending in jazz is dependent on the style and on the individual playing in that style.

If you want to work on it, then work on hitting your target note with your bends.

Who was the first and why?

I don't care because this is useless knowledge to me. I'd rather fill my brain up with things that either bring happiness or an eventual paycheck. Impressing others is not on my list because impressing others does not bring happiness, and it certainly does not bring a paycheck unless you join the Carnival in support of the Porpoise Lady.
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