Unusial Bending Techniques

author: UG Team date: 07/31/2003 category: guitar techniques

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Hey all, this lesson is on some different sounding ways to bend notes. Some of these examples will require a whammy bar that can be pulled up; If you have one that normally only works one way, email me and I'll tell you how to mod it so it bends up, if you want. Ok, this first example is reasonably well known. You bend a note up, and then then reach over with your right hand and push down on the string behind the nut. This won't work with locking nut systems where the nut is locked, but on those you can generally bend up with the whammy bar anyway. You can use this to perform very wide bends or add heavy vibrato to bent notes. It's also handy for bending open strings or harmonics. bn = bend behind nut ~n~ = vibrato behind nut Ex1: e|---------------------------------------------------| B|---------------------------------------------------| G|--2b(4)bn(5)rbn(4)rb(2)------2b(4)~n~rb(2)---------| D|---------------------------------------------------| A|---------------------------------------------------| E|---------------------------------------------------| This next one uses an adaptation of the classical vibrato technique - the one where you push the string towards the bridge and pull it back towards the nut in quick little horizontal movements. In this case, you exaggerate the "pushing forward" movement to push the string towards the bridge and actually bend the pitch down. This is very tough unless you have a low action and light strings. Ex2: e|---------------------------------------------------| B|--9b(8)--------------------------------------------| G|---------------------------------------------------| D|---------------------------------------------------| A|---------------------------------------------------| E|---------------------------------------------------| Note that it's very tough to use this to bend down by even as little as a semitone, you're more likely to get about a quarter tone. This one is also known well, amongst whammy bar users. Here, you hit the whammy bar lightly (or heavily) as you fret each note, rather than picking the notes. This causes an effect known as 'scooping', because you scoop the pitch of the note from below its original pitch back up to the original pitch. You can also turn the bar around and 'reverse scoop'. V = scoop Ex3: e|---------------------------------------------------| B|---------------------------------------------------| G|---------------------------------------------------| D|--2-/-3-/-5-/-7-/-9-/-10-/-12ZYABLA~HUYABLA--------------------| A|--V---V---V---V---V----V----V----------------------| E|---------------------------------------------------| A cool variation on this is to slide up the fretboard while applying heavy whammy vibrato in either direction. Steve Vai uses this one a bit. VVVVVVVVVV = whammy bar vibrato Ex4: e|---------------------------------------------------| B|---------------------------------------------------| G|---------------------------------------------------| D|-VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV---| A|-1////////////////////////////////////////15-------| E|--(this is a gradual slide)------------------------| While we're on the whammy bar theme, this one is cool, but requires practise to get right, and it also requires a whammy bar that bends up. What you do is grab the whammy bar in your right hand's last two fingers, pick the 7th fret on the G string, pull the whammy bar up one tone, then push it back to it's normal pitch, and quickly hammer on the 9th fret. This effect sounds great when done really fast! Of course, it can be done on any string and all over the fretboard, and using any interval that can be bent with the whammy bar. wb = bend with whammy bar Ex5: e|---------------------------------------------------| B|---------------------------------------------------| G|--7wb(9)rwb(7)h9--7wb(9)rwb(7)h9-------------------| D|---------------------------------------------------| A|---------------------------------------------------| E|---------------------------------------------------| Ever heard some of those Jimi Hendrix solos that were taped backwards? You can approximate a 'true' 'reverse bend' effect using your fingers and your guitar's volume control, or a volume pedal. Or, if you're really lucky, you can use the Snarling Dogs Erogenous Moan Tape Reverse pedal. Ok, what you do is, set up your guitar and amp for a long sustaining distorted lead tone and turn the volume on your guitar (or pedal) to 0. Pre-bend a note, pick it, and as soon as you do, start simultaneously releasing the bend and turning the volume back up to 10. Sounds great when you get it right! <<<<<<<<< = fade volume in. pb = prebend Ex6: e|-<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<------------------------| B|-7pb(9) grad release--rb(7)------------------------| G|---------------------------------------------------| D|---------------------------------------------------| A|---------------------------------------------------| E|---------------------------------------------------| Have you ever accidentally bent a string off the fretboard? I have, but I've also done it deliberately, cause it sounds good! Steve Vai is a master of this. Check out the 'sitar' bends in the outro to "The Boy From Seattle". You can do this on any string, provided you use a low enough gauge, but most people will only get the high E, B, low E and A. Simply bend the string so far it goes off the fretboard, for some very wide interval bends! This works differently in different areas of the fretboard, so experiment! Ex7: e|-----12b(20)---------------------------------------| B|-------(bend string downwards and off fretboard)---| G|---------------------------------------------------| D|---------------------------------------------------| A|---------------------------------------------------| E|---------------------------------------------------| This next technique is one of my favourites. Bend a note up normally, then tap a higher fret with your right hand, pull off, release the bend, and pull off to a lower note. Or, hold the bend with your left hand, tap the note and bend it up as well while holding the first bend, and finish the same way. It tends to look more confusing than it is. Ex8: e|---------T--------------------------------------------------| B|--15b(17)19p(17)rb(15)p12-----------------------------------| G|---------------------------------T--------------------------| D|-------------------------12b(14)22b(23)rb(22)p(14)rb(12)p10-| A|------------------------------------------------------------| E|------------------------------------------------------------| This one is known as the "Joe Satriani lizard-down-the-throat effect". You slowly slide a note up the fretboard, which ordinarily would mean that the pitch of the note would rise, but at the same time, you push the whammy bar down so that the pitch never changes throughout the slide. This is a great sounding effect which can be heard in Joe's song Ice 9. Ex9: e|---------------------------------------------------| B|---------------------------------------------------| G|---------------------------------------------------| D|----(gradually push bar down so pitch stays same)--| A|--5///////////////////////////////////////////12---| E|--(grad slide)-------------------------------------|

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