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Help with Bends

sic0

Member
Messages
3
Hey gang, i'm having trouble with my bends. I'm using 3 fingers to push the string.. like my note is on the ring finger and i use the middle finger and index finger to help the bend.

My problem is my ring finger always hits the string above and you can hear it in my bend.

Is this a case i just need to keep bending, keep practicing etc... or is there a technique i could employ?

I tend to leave the action on my guitar pretty HIGH because i believe this will help the problem.. but maybe that's hurting me.

I've been trying different string gauge... 9's (i find too light). I'm floating between 10's and 11's now.
 

ocripes

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,319
Hard to do any detailed examination here. But a couple of suggestions:

First, pick one bend on one string to do some diagnostics. Say the B string: bend the G on 7th fret to A. Now, do it very slowly in one smooth motion. Does the ring finger hit the other string? If no, then continue this process and "feel it", that is just dig how your fingers are moving and do it till your muscles "know" what they're doing.

If yes, then pay attention where in the bend it is happening. Meaning: did you arrive at the A and then it happened or before you arrived at the target note? When you know this, then go back and go slow and smooth till it doesn't happen. Then, repeat as above.

Bending is one of those things that is pretty personalized to the player-meaning that of you watch a lot of guys play, you'll notice some idiosyncracies. Watching guys/gals who you strive to emulate bend strings is important.
 

sic0

Member
Messages
3
Yeah, i'll see if i can record a video of me doing it.

I feel like what i'm doing is when i bend up, i'm pushing down with my finger and i catch the string above it and push it down as well. i think i need to try maybe pushing and rolling my finger so the string above it gets pushed up (away from the fretboard)
 

Caladus

Member
Messages
20
I tend to roll my finger when I feel the next string and pick it up. So, if I was bending the B string, I have my finger pointing towards the fretboard, then as I bend up, I roll it parallel almost. This grabs the G string and picks it up on the meat of my finder so it doesn't ring. Just get up under it.
 

Swain

Member
Messages
2,407
I find that keeping the fingertip pointing directly into the fretboard keeps the fingertip from catching the other strings. Don't let your fingertips point towards the ceiling or floor at all. This has worked well for me.
 

Cary Chilton

Senior Member
Messages
4,472
I have small hands, not big like that photo, so I don't have the genetic luxury of wrapping my thumb around and index for additional muting... Answer? Practice, Practice, Practice with aim on timing and clean, noiseless playing. Developing strength helps. I can do 1, 1.5 and 2 step bends with my index or middle or ring finger from years and years of playing. Strength helps guys with small hands. :beer
 

Clifford-D

Senior Member
Messages
17,048
CFor me the main thing about a bend is how I meet the adjecent string.
I meet the adjecent string with the center of the top of my primary bending finger.
Next is very important, upon contact I slightly rotate my wrist backwards. This action lifts the adject string on the tip of the primary bender, this acts as a very good mute for those uplifted string. I say 'those' because when bending, say the 2nd string, the 3rd and 4th strings become the noise makers.

I got this technique from Jimi back in '68. He would bend much like I described. What's cool is you can allow adjecent strings to slip down onto the fret for multi string bends.

Never do I allow the adjecent string to ride on top of my nail.

And then the right hand muting is a 2nd check on doing all this noiseless.
 
Messages
1,716
When I bend my fingers are vertical enough that as the fingers move horizontally across the fretboard, it is the fingernail, not the pad, that first comes in contact with adjacent strings. If its a big bend I will change the angle of my fingers through the bend so the adjacent strings slide over my fingers. My right palm will mute.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
33,358
When I bend my fingers are vertical enough that as the fingers move horizontally across the fretboard, it is the fingernail, not the pad, that first comes in contact with adjacent strings. If its a big bend I will change the angle of my fingers through the bend so the adjacent strings slide over my fingers. My right palm will mute.
We are not all built the same way.:JAM
My fingernails never touch.
3 finger bend...3 fingers touch the adjacent string but will not push it into the fret. Sliding under a string is a sign that the action is way too high, for me.
I need fairly high frets or the string slips right out from under on bends.
 

guitfiddle

Member
Messages
2,916
You just need to find the right way for your fingers to push the string above the one bent out of the way without any noise. This is done by putting all the other parts of your hands to work as mutes. Your picking hand can mute all the strings above your target string, giving you options such as hitting only the target, or doing the SRV thing where he'd thwack all the strings he muted at the same time, giving the beginning of the bend a big punch.

The other fingers on your fretting hand can help to mute other strings as well, but most of it is in the picking hand.
 
Messages
1,716
We are not all built the same way.:JAM
My fingernails never touch.
3 finger bend...3 fingers touch the adjacent string but will not push it into the fret. Sliding under a string is a sign that the action is way too high, for me.
I need fairly high frets or the string slips right out from under on bends.
I have medium high action. I don't know that I prefer it, I guess I'm just lousy at setting up my guitar! I've always had guitars with moderately high action. I've never had one with big frets. I'd like to some time. I've played for a few minutes on that sort of thing and they felt good. It might require less force to fret, and reduce my hand RSI issues.
 

Jon@Home

Member
Messages
758
I too mute the "next" string with the finger doing the bending.
it took a little while to not let the string slip, but now it doesn't happen much.
I use med to low action using 10's. I used to have higher action and 11's but it was killing my fingers. 10's and med action work well for me, for bending. I don't HAVE to use 3 fingers to push a step and my bends have gotten a lot smoother and expressive.
 

bob-i

Member
Messages
8,766
Keeping bends clean and in tune is a challenge.

I typically use my right hand to mute the strings. For the bass strings I use the thumb flesh to mute, the treble strings ae muted with my fingertips, mostly the ring finger. Very early on in my playing (I've been playing over 50 years) I stopped trying to avoid catching other strings with my left hand fingers, it just didn't work for me.
 

anderson110

Member
Messages
478
Hey gang, i'm having trouble with my bends. I'm using 3 fingers to push the string.. like my note is on the ring finger and i use the middle finger and index finger to help the bend.

My problem is my ring finger always hits the string above and you can hear it in my bend.
This is absolutely normal. There's a trick to it.

Use the flesh of your *right* hand (heel and side of palm) to mute the strings that can get "hit" as you bend (and more importantly release) the note. It takes some practice to lay your hand only on the strings you are not playing, but after a time and some concentrated practice, you can do it without noticing you are doing it. It becomes automatic.
 

flavaham

Member
Messages
1,866
I use high action which makes me able to mute that string with the finger I'm bending with by getting under it while bending. It's an unconscious thing for me now. I struggle with it when I play someone else's guitar who likes low action. I'm a chronic bender and need high action because of it.

I don't play shred type licks so it's not an issue for me to use high action. In general, the faster you tend to play the lower you'd want the action. For me, I never play much faster than say, Jimmy Page or Trey Anastasio. If I was to play some Joe Satriani, Steve Vai or Eddie Van Halen type tunes I'd want lower action (and lighter strings) to accomadate the rolling legatto riffs and some of the other techniques that they employ. At the end of the day, I find bends and more deliberate note selection to be a bit more expressive. Try higher action.

One more note about high action. I use a bit higher gauge strings because you are going to be pulling the strings away from the pickups a touch. It makes it a bit more of a struggle to get the tone you want, but if you get used to it you can really make the guitar sing!
 




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