Pushing a string up or pulling it down in order to manipulate the pitch

Sam Blakelock avatar
Written by Sam Blakelock
Updated over a week ago

Guitar strings – particularly the three treble strings – can be pushed up (and sometimes pulled down) to alter the pitch of a fretted note. Bends give the guitar an expressive vocal quality and allow us to explore microtones in between standard fretted notes.

This means you can bend a note to a pitch that’s less than a half step up (a quarter tone, for example,) or as high as a major third.

Bending is common in blues and rock music, often associated with players like Albert King, Freddie King, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Mayer.

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