Steel-style bends on regular guitars

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Occam, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. Occam

    Occam Member

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    I saw this guy at the store the other day do these great steel sounding country bends but I couldn't figure out the basic technique going on. Can someone help me out with this...maybe a video or explanation or link? Thanks.
     
  2. Swain

    Swain Member

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    Here's a way to get a couple of cool steel-type sounds:
    1. Bend the G string 7th. fret. While still holding that bend, play the B string, 8th. fret.
    2. Bend the B string 8th. fret. While still holding that bend, play the high E string, 8th. fret.
    3. Hold a SUS2 inversion.
    Say, a Csus2, (D string 5th. fret, G string 5th. fret, B string 3rd. fret.).
    Play the D, G, then B strings. While they all ring out, bend the B string 3rd. fret up a whole step. This will morph the sus2, into a C Major chord. This is a particularly cool lick, in my opinion.

    For more Steel type effects, try playing all of the notes simultaneously. Then bend the appropriate note(s).
    Or, Pre-Bend the selected note(s), and try with either the above licks, or the simultaneous picking idea.
    The pre-bend technique can also sound great, if you pre-bend, pick, and then slowly release the bend to mimic a steel's slide down.
    For a really sweet Steel effect, try all of the above, while you do a volume swell.
    A pre-bent, simultaneously picked, released, volume-swelled lick, is a sure ticket to Honky-Tonk smiles. :RoCkIn

    Let me know, how these work for you. Ciao.
     
  3. WaitForMe

    WaitForMe Member

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    The August 2002 issue of Guitar Player featured a fantastic article entitled "Steelworker" with Johnny Hiland that focuses on this very topic.

    It's apparently still available on Truefire.com, a site I've never used before.
     
  4. Poppa Stoppa

    Poppa Stoppa Member

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    Swain pretty much nailed it. Here are some cool variations, all in 'E'.

    Hold 5th string and 4th string at the 14th fret (notes = B and E). Bend G string at 11th fret up to G# (& release). Repeat the move 2 frets lower (D) and 5 frets below that (A).

    Hold high E string at 16th fret. Bend B string at 15th fret up to E (& release).

    Hold high E string at 12th fret. Bend B string 12th fret up to C# and release. Then hold high E and B strings at 12th fret and bend G string at 11th fret up to G# for a 3-note E triad.

    Finally a Roy Buchanan special: pre-bend the B and G strings at the 9th fret. The B string goes up a semitone from G# to A. The G string goes up a tone from E to F#. Volume swell and release to G# and E.
     
  5. teddy boy

    teddy boy Member

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    Those are some great licks poppa stoppa! More more!
     
  6. ES350

    ES350 Member

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    Arlen Roth, Clarence White (you can do most of it without a B-bender), Jerry Donahue...for starters.
     
  7. gennation

    gennation Member

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  8. Poppa Stoppa

    Poppa Stoppa Member

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    Thanks teddy boy - those are my best pedal steel licks! I was so pleased when I stole that last one from Roy Buchanan! He did it in 'Hey Joe' when I saw him in concert and it filled the hall with a celestial sound. The second one I also got from him.

    I only have a couple more (again in 'E'):

    Hold 5th string and 4th string at the 14th fret (notes = B and E). Bend G string at 13th fret up to A to give an Esus sound (& release).

    This one is harder to describe: bend B string at 7th fret up to G#, play high E string at 5th fret (A) followed by 7th fret (B) followed by bent B string, release G# to F#, resolve to E played on B string at 5th fret. Play with thumb & first finger, chicken pickin' style. The same principle can be applied to the whole of my third example above, so you get the 'A' sound followed by the 'E' sound.
     
  9. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    Also check out Danny Gatton & Greg Koch instructional DVDs. Both great, with a lot of that stuff, and much more.
     
  10. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    Like a lot of guys my age, I cut my teeth on blues and rock music. My introduction to anything resembling country or western swing music was delivered courtesy of Roy Buchanan; notably, Roy's covers of Merle Haggard's "(I am a) Lonesome Fugitive", and Hank Williams' "Hey Good Lookin' ". That did a good job of turning my ears around, and a bit later, I discovered Clarence White, Danny Gatton, Roy Nichols, Don Rich, Albert Lee, and others. The natural progression of curiosity led me back to listening to old school cats like Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys.

    At one of the locations at which I teach, I kept flippping through this book and CD set that was available for sale, called Country Guitar Jammin' (Hal Leonard - publisher), by Chris Amelar. There's a photo of the author included, and I couldn't help but think that this guy looks about as much like a country picker as I do like a hiphop cat... as always, you can't judge a book by its cover... one of the perks of my job is that I get merchandise at cost, so I gave it a whirl... I must say that there are some absolutely stellar fake pedal steel bend moves presented therein... I'm still having loads of fun stumbling through that guy's moves.

    ____________________________________________


    For the following examples, the bent target tones are indicated in parentheses ( ).

    A few of my current fave I7 to IV7(A) moves in E. The index fretting finger handles the bending here. If it's physically tough to get the A7 bit this close to the nut, try moving it an octave up the neck. If you're in a band with two guitarists that have pretty good intonation and bending skills, try using these two ideas in harmony; sorta cool.


    ----------------------------------------------------
    ----------------------------------------------------
    -------9---9-(11)-9--------------9---9-(11)-9------
    ----12--------------12--------11--------------11---
    -11-----11-------------11--10-----10------------10-
    -----------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------
    -----4---4-(6)-4----------2---2-(4)-2-----
    ---6-------------6------5-------------5---
    -5-----5-----------5--4-----4-----------4-
    -------------------------------------------



    The next bit is an absolute classic that I've heard since I was a little boy, although I don't recall exactly when, and from whom, that I first encountered it. It's basically a IV to I move (A to E, as indicated here), and it's particularly effective as an ending. I use the second finger for each of these bends.


    -17--------17------12-------12------
    -17--------17------14-------12------
    -16-(18)--(18)-16--13-(14)--11-(13)-
    -------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------


    The above passage works quite well against a IV to I progression that consists of: A - E/G# - F#-7 - E. The voicings that I've chosen here to compliment the bending passage all contain an 'E' on top, and the implied vibe of the voicing leading is influenced by the gospel music that I grew up with.

    -------------
    -5--5--5--5-
    -2--4--2--4-
    -2--2--2--6-
    -0----------
    ----4--2--0-
     
  11. Swain

    Swain Member

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    Hey, buddy! :crazy
     
  12. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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  13. beePee

    beePee Member

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    I get what you mean but this is almost and impossible lick to play on those strings.You have to pull the B string down but at least on my fret board I'd pull it off the neck before it reachs the pitch.

    I do this lick on those strings with a hammer on or on the 5-4-3 strings with the bend on the 3rd.(similar to Tims' examples).I never thought of it until I read this (duh!!)..I could see sliding the "D" up one fret then bending it a half step to E

    EX:
    "a Csus2, (D string 5th. fret, G string 5th. fret, B string 3rd. fret.).
    Play the D, G, then B strings. While they all ring out, ..slide the 1st finger up one fret to the 4th...then bend the B string 4th fret up a half step.


    Another important aspect is to bend as mechanically as possible to simulate the Steels pedal.I know sometimes i get a bit to "bluesy" and it lessens the effect...but hell they ain't no rules if it sounds good...!!

    I think a good solid rule is treat any bend like a slide, hammor or pull off and not as stock licks.There's a billion (give or take a few million)ways to it.

    BP
     

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