First finger string bending
Many of the phases in this month’s track make use of the first finger of the fretting hand to bend notes. String bending with the first finger is challenging from both a physical and technical standpoint. If you are new to this concept then you need to take care not to damage yourself. At first, bending notes with the first finger may feel a little uncomfortable; so practice slowly, and use time to gradually build up the skin and finger strength required. You will find that it is best to lock the finger in position, and then use the power of the hand to bend the string. As with all string bending practice you can use a target tone to make sure you are bending to pitch. It will be easiest to work on semitone (one fret) bends first and then build up to a whole tone (two fret) bend. If you’re feeling brave you can try some tone and half (three fret) bends, as SRV did use these. When you consider that Stevie performed these techniques on gauge .012 strings on a Fender 25.5-inch scale length, you begin to realise that he was not only a supreme musician, but also an athlete!