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Tighten Up Your Blues: #3 Bends

Video Guitar Lesson

Bends, like vibrato, can make the player. They can be a signature in our playing, express emotion like a human voice, and save our butts when we hit a wrong note. The key to good bending is control over your instrument and our ears in tune.

Like all things on the guitar we need to practice them. We need to practice them with intent, work on half step bends, whole step bends, minor third bends, microtone bends. They don’t come by chance as most technique related things don’t. We need to know that we can rely on our technique when performing and this is only done through practice.

It seems strange to me but it took awhile for me to realize I needed to give bends, vibrato, slurs, etc as much attention as I did to learning scales and chords. No one ever told me that, I didn’t figure it out until after college! It never struck me that Hendrix, Page, The 3 Kings, Van Halen, Beck, Gilmour, you name them, practiced bending. Now maybe someone like Jimi didn’t have to think about it but I have heard Beck discuss working on it and perfecting it. If Jeff Beck needs to work on it, the so do I!

I want to stress that practice can be a ton of fun especially when working on bends. You will stumble across some very cool stuff that very well may make it into your playing. That of course is the point. So in this video I show you some fun ways to work on your bends and to get control over the instrument. Have fun!

Tighten Up Your Blues is a weekly video guitar lesson series Jeff is doing for TrueFire. In this series, Jeff focuses on nuance and all the finer points of touch, feel, and inflection in blues guitar playing. Be sure to subscribe!

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Comments

  • ed on said:

    hello,

    Much apprecited lesson! Just a musical question because it made me think. The vamp is Am – F. Based on my chart this could be the Key of F (III, I), or the key of C (VI, IV). Now I’m thinking since the notes in Am Pent are in the key of C and NOT in the key of F, this must be in the key of C. Am I correct? Just curious no big deal….

    Thanks again for the lessson, I really need a looper!

    • admin on said:

      Yup. You are in the key of A minor which contains an F natural.

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