Tech­nique Fo­cus

First fin­ger string bend­ing

Guitar Techniques - - Play: Blues -

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!

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