Rock Guitar Lesson 4

Basics of string bending  technique

Guitar bend is a very testy component of solo guitar playing.

example of string bending


Bending note simply changes its pitch.

Bend note can change the pitch to one tone (called full bend), half of a tone (½ bend) and etc...

attention: taking a bend higher than one tone can be damaging to your strings.

In order to perform a bend I recommend to use your 3rd finger of a left hand with assistance of a 2nd finger.

Pick any note you wish to bend, and begin to push the string upward up to one tone (full bend).

After try to bend a note to semi-tone higher.

Watch couple of bending examples


In this example first I took a full bend at 7th fret on 3rd string and lifted it up to one tone higher

(to two frets higher, as note at 9th fret).

Second I took a half-tone bend at the same position but lifted it up to half tone higher

(to one fret higher, as note at 8th fret).

Pay attention where my thumb is in the video, this position helps to get more stability while performing a bend.



Note: If you bend 4th, 5th, or 6th string push the string downward

instead of upward because you'll have more space for bending.




In guitar tabs bend has curved arrow designation
Bend in Tablature Notation Bend in Tablature Notation (half-tone)


the number in the brackets means how much of a bend to play (where the real pitch should be).

In this example the bend note shifts the pitch one tone higher (reaching pitch of a note at 10th fret),

but you won't be playing note at10th fret.

Bend also can be marked without number in the brackets, instead of it used signs like:full bend, ½, ¼.

Or characters BU (bend up) instead of an arrow.

In simple tablatures made in notepad the bend looks like:




(the 'b' character denotes a bend).

You also will encounter BD (bend down) characters or downward arrow in guitar tabs.

It means that you return already bent string back to normal position.

Watch video

performing a bend (BU) and returning a bend (BD)


You need to learn to feel how long to push the string in order to arrive to necessary tone.

To easily check the bend note take simultaneously two notes, the bending note,

and the same note on higher string (stable note) when the bend is correctly up you'll hear unison.


Unison Bend Example in Tab



Exercise over any single bends you wish and begin to play fallowing exercises and guitar licks containing bend notes.


Guitar bend exercise lick 1

Bend Exercise Lick 1 (guitar tab)


Watch video example of bend exercise lick 1




Guitar bend exercise lick 2

Bend Exercise Lick 2 (guitar tab)


Watch video example of bend exercise lick 2



Guitar bend exercise lick 3


Bend Exercise Lick 3 (guitar tab)


Watch video example of bend exercise lick 3



Guitar bend exercise lick 4


Bend Exercise Lick 4 (guitar tab)


Watch video example of bend exercise lick 4



Guitar bend exercise lick 5


Bend Exercise Lick 5 (guitar tab)


Watch video example of bend exercise lick 5

Guitar bend exercise lick 6


Bend Exercise Lick 6 (guitar tab)

Watch video example of bend exercise lick 6

In this lick I played micro bend note. Micro bends are frequently used in blues guitar solos.

The micro bend has been pushed just a little bit (for about quarter of a tone).

Here I did it only with the 1st finger because only tiny pressure is necessary.

If you encounter bend arrow sign and ¼ number in guitar tabs, it'll simply mean that the

string should be pushed to quarter of a tone.


Guitar bend exercise lick 7


Bend Exercise Lick 7 (guitar tab)

Watch video example of bend exercise lick 7

Guitar solo

Now combining all the skills from current and previous lessons we will play guitar solo.

At this time it's pure electric guitar sounding without any backing tracks on background.


Video example of guitar solo



Guitar Solo Tab  - guitar bend technique

Noisy effect in the end of the solo performed by taking two simultaneous notes by one downstroke

and sliding the left hand towards guitar head with the fingers slightly pushed on the strings.




When you're fine with the basics of guitar bending

Check out following rock guitar lick - Easy Fast Legato Lick

and move on to the next lesson