Welcome, everyone, to Theory and Technique Tuesdays! I’m Jeff Scheetz, the Director of Education here at TrueFire, and each Tuesday I will be sharing lessons on an essential Theory or Technique focused topic to help you improve. Have fun and dig in!

Let’s Talk About Bending!

Bending is such an essential technique for guitar players! It is one of the guitar‘s unique and defining sounds. Often players think that just because they can do a simple bend, there is nothing more to do. But bending is such an expressive technique that if you really want to master it – you need to go deeper!

Here are two great lessons from educators Andy Timmons and David Grissom that show how bending has some common elements, but also is unique to each player. Great tips in each lesson to help develop YOUR own style with bends.

The third lesson by Chris Buono is a really good overview of bending technique and some of the things to watch out for. To really dig into your bending – check out these Practice Session courses from Chris and blues specialist Kid Andersen!

Example #1 – Andy Timmons

Let’s talk about bending. Along with vibrato it can be one of the most defining parts of a player’s identity and bending is something I love to do. It’s a major part of what I do. So let’s break it down a little bit and define some of those components that will help you improve your technique.

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Example #2 – David Grissom

Along with vibrato, string bending is one of the techniques that can really give the guitar a vocal quality. Take a look at the third finger, this ties in directly with the hand positioning I’ve been discussing previously. My thumb will be over the top of the neck and I’ll use my first and second fingers behind my third finger to give more strength to bend.

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Example #3 – Chris Buono

The first group of bending workouts will establish my time-tested method for developing solid technique with a focus on bending in tune. All three are based on what’s called unison bending. The basics of it rest on playing a fretted note (a reference pitch) and bending a lower adjacent string to that same note…in tune, of course!

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