TrueFire Educator Jeff McErlain has just launched his first installment of his new weekly video blog called Jeff McErlain’s Brooklyn Blues. Each week Jeff will share a free video guitar lesson, a lick, a concept, a tone tip, and more. You can check Jeff out at or see his courses here at TrueFire.

About the Guitar Lesson

In this free video guitar lesson, we will show you what I like to call quantized bends. A quantized bend is when bend the string to articulate more than one pitch clearly. To get started on this cool technique, I chose two prime places within an A minor blues scale. Am blues is spelled A C D Eb E G (R b3 4 b5 5 b7).

As guitar players our go-to bends are usually the 4 to the 5, in this case the D to the E and b7 to the root, or the G to A. These are great and it’s essential to get those two bends solidly in tune. Once we have done that, we can see that there is a note in-between those two bends we can also take advantage of.

Within the actual scale we have the b5 (Eb) between the 4th and 5th. This note is a prime candidate for a quantized bend. Try bending up a whole step from D to E, then release it down to the Eb. This requires some hand and ear strength so take your time with it. It’s a clever way to sound that blue note.

The other great note to introduce is the G# or natural 7th. As you can see the natural 7th note is not contained inside the blues scale, and that’s what makes it so cool! By using a quantized bend we can use that G#, which would usually be pretty funky sounding, as a very effective passing note. That passing note adds some nice tension and release to a lick.

I suggest practicing each bend individually by fretting the note you want to bend AND the note you want to bend to. This will lock the pitches into your head so you will know when you have nailed them. Like I said, take your time with these as they are tricky and require some practice, but it is well worth it!