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Why Bending Matters

Effective blues guitar is all about expression. It is about trying to convey emotion and feeling through your playing. At a macro level, the way to do this is to break out of the rigid structure of the fretboard.

If you just play notes at different frets without manipulating them in any way, you will struggle to solo in an expressive and bluesy style. This is because the most expressive blues guitar solos are those that mimic the human voice. And the human voice does not move in fixed tones and steps like the frets on your guitar. It undulates and moves across a broad range of micro tones.

This is why bending is so widely used in the blues. It targets all of the micro tones that exist between the frets on your guitar. And this makes your playing sound more expressive.

Bending is a fundamental technique you need to learn if you want to play lead blues guitar. It is a technique that you can hear in the vast majority of famous blues guitar solos. And it is at the centre of the playing style.

Listen to the lead guitar playing from the blues greats, and you will hear them bending extensively. As such, it is worth focusing on and really understanding how the technique works and the various ways that you can utilise it in your playing.

In the first half of this ‘Ultimate Guide’ to bending, we will cover the fundamentals of bending. And so by the end of this course you will:

  • Understand exactly what you are trying to do when you bend your strings

  • Appreciate the different pitches of bends that you will target most commonly in the blues

  • Learn a variety of ways you can vary your bending to create more interesting solos and get more mileage from your playing

This will instantly improve the quality of your lead guitar playing. It will also help you to avoid some of the common pitfalls that hamper blues guitar players and make their solos much less effective.

Lastly, the material that we will cover in this course will put you into a brilliant position to start looking at the more advanced bending techniques covered in the second part of this guide. Those will really help to push your solos to the next level, and provide you with a whole new set of techniques to use in your improvisations.

So with that in mind, let’s get into it! I’ll see you over in the next lesson 😁