Guitar strings – particularly the three treble strings – can be pushed up (and sometimes pulled down) in order 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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