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Blues Bends


shartom

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Our city is hosting it's annual Blues Fest. Three days of great music.

We saw Gary Clarke Jr who had won an award in Austin for best, I think, new blues artist.

He was playing an Epiphone Casino. Once he dug in, both he and his guitar sounded great. His bass player was playing a matching bass.

I've tried for the longest time to learn how to do a string bend with a nice vibrato at the top of the bend. I hear a lot of guys doing this with what appears to be very little effort.

Any tips would be appreciated.

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I've tried for the longest time to learn how to do a string bend with a nice vibrato at the top of the bend. I hear a lot of guys doing this with what appears to be very little effort.

Any tips would be appreciated.

Hmmmm .... perhaps thinner strings ?? What strings are you currently using ? Stronger fingers, perhaps ??? (Exercise ???) And, needless to say - practice practice practice !!! I just bend to the note I'm seeking and get the vibrato the same way as I do on an unbent string ..."wiggle" the finger on the string using my whole hand/wrist motion (dunno if that makes sense, but it's the closest I could come to quickly explain it). If you're using really heavy strings, it'll be harder to do and require more strength to bend. Just my random thoughts and $0.02usd.
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I'm using 10-46 strings which may be a tad too heavy. I've watched some blues pickers and it seems their hand floats and is not anchored with the thumb.

I've ben playing light rock and jazz for a long time. On the rock side I can fake it pretty good with which is a good start at vibrato.

Thanks

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Our city is hosting it's annual Blues Fest. Three days of great music.

We saw Gary Clarke Jr who had won an award in Austin for best' date=' I think, new blues artist.

He was playing an Epiphone Casino. Once he dug in, both he and his guitar sounded great. His bass player was playing a matching bass.

I've tried for the longest time to learn how to do a string bend with a nice vibrato at the top of the bend. I hear a lot of guys doing this with what appears to be very little effort.

Any tips would be appreciated.

[/quote']

BB King shows how to do this on his blues instructional CD. He uses 10's for his high E, and he seems to have very strong fingers. He can bend the E up to an F. He gets his vibrato using a loose wrist.

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Takes a little practice...don't give up. Try using your first and second finger for support with the bends and concentrate on the vibrato with the third finger....same way as when not bending.

 

BTW...Jeffery,......E to F is not much of a bend distance wise, just a half a step...the very next fret. Maybe you meant something else...never mind, sorry.

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Speaking of standard packs of strings, you're good w/ .10s IMO. You don't want light strings for blues bends. I'm a .10 guy myself, and bend ALOT in my style. I found .09's too difficult to keep in tune, and much more likely to break. I think .11's are best, and have used them for years, and still do on one guitar, but as I have aged and a little bit of arthritis has come with it, I've converted to .10's. But for a really nice, authentic blues tone, I still say .11's , with a wound G is the way to go.

 

And then the way to get those bends is to do it enough that you can just dig right into it w/o thinking about it too much, and you'll naturally add the vibrato where it feels right for the music. So it's definitely a muscle memory thing that comes from repetition. That's what I think anyway...

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Takes a little practice...don't give up. Try using your first and second finger for support with the bends and concentrate on the vibrato with the third finger....same way as when not bending.

 

BTW...Jeffery' date='......E to F is not much of a bend distance wise, just a half a step...the very next fret. Maybe you meant something else...never mind, sorry.[/quote']

It might have been E to G. The high E was bent about 3/4 of the way across the fretboard! I wonder how he keeps the strings from popping out of the nut.

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I'd like to think of myslef as a blues player.

I love to sit and watch billy gibbons, clapton, beck, page, the king's, T-bone etc on any video and study the hands.

Clapton once said in a '67 Cream interview that the vibrato was one of the most important signatures in the blues.

They take practice to get them right.

In my oppinion, it's all in the wrists/

I use ernie ball super slinky on my dot.

Bends and vibrato's have never been a problem with them.

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It's takes practice, a lot. Check out youtube for some Hendrix videos, especially "Red House".

 

I use GHS strings and they do ok.

 

In the past I tried D'Angelico or D'Addario (forget which) and had a serious problem bending them. They wouldn't break while bending, but would become unraveled at the ball end and suddenly go limp. That can be prevented by soldering the wire where it's all twisted around itself, but I'd rather just buy strings from someone who knows how to make them.

 

poverty..."my mule don't like people laughin' "

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Clapton once said in a '67 Cream interview that the vibrato was one of the most important signatures in the blues.

They take practice to get them right.

In my oppinion' date=' it's all in the wrists[/quote']

 

The vibrato is like the signature of every great player. I never understood how to get wrist-vibrato, but I like to think I pull it off(sorry) somewhat adequately with my fingers. Sometimes I do bend-exercises. Play a scale and bend every note up to the next. The trick is to bend every subsequent note the other way. Pulling down, pushing up etc. Not very musical on the ear, but a really tough workout for the fingers.

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It might have been E to G. The high E was bent about 3/4 of the way across the fretboard! I wonder how he keeps the strings from popping out of the nut.

 

Now That do take some finger strengh, and as you noted a strong nut...guitar wise for some of yous 8-[ . I read a while back Buddy Guy saying he'll bend his high E into his low E. Granted he was referring from somewhere in the middle of the neck, but even so I think that still is strech.

LOL...I've tried it from like around the fith fret or so and the best I can get was to the D string, then again I got no finger strengh to begin with anyhow. I'd run nylon strings on my electrics if I could [-o< .

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I don't have the particular clip at my finger tips...but Joe Bonamassa has a clip where he takes you through some of the different vibrato styles from BB to Clapton etc...etc... Lets not forget SRV...one of the most powerful vibratos of all time IMHO.

 

Not to mention that Stevie Ray used extremely heavy (12's I think) strings. Seriously strong fingers ! I really fail to see what being able to bend a high E up to the other side of the fretboard has to do with bends while playing except to demostrate strength. Most of the greats only bend a whole note in most circumstances.

 

Vibrato is like anything else, a certain amount of general aptitude and alot of practice. Eventually you'll be doing it without even thinking about it. I catch myself doing it frequently when I don't want to, just because alot of the stuff I do, it fits.

 

Lighter strings obviously make it easier for bends but harder to control, IMHO. I personally use GHS boomers in 10s on my Strats, the same for the Sheraton except I add a wound G in .18, and GFS 10s on my other guitars. 9s are way too slinky for me. I can't imagine doing what SRV did with 12s!!!!!

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This may sound retarded' date=' but i've never in 33+ yrs playing been able to PUSH my bends.

I pull them, which makes it really easy to "flutter"(vibrato) right before or after the bend.

[/quote']

 

So how do you bend/pull the high E without flying off the fretboard?

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Not to mention that Stevie Ray used extremely heavy (12's I think) strings. Seriously strong fingers ! I really fail to see what being able to bend a high E up to the other side of the fretboard has to do with bends while playing except to demostrate strength. Most of the greats only bend a whole note in most circumstances.

 

Vibrato is like anything else' date=' a certain amount of general aptitude and alot of practice. Eventually you'll be doing it without even thinking about it. I catch myself doing it frequently when I don't want to, just because alot of the stuff I do, it fits.

 

Lighter strings obviously make it easier for bends but harder to control, IMHO. I personally use GHS boomers in 10s on my Strats, the same for the Sheraton except I add a wound G in .18, and GFS 10s on my other guitars. 9s are way too slinky for me. I can't imagine doing what SRV did with 12s!!!!!

 

[/quote']

 

I loved watching SRV play! He would just beat the snot out of his guitar and make love to it all at the same time......that sounds a little wierd but it's true. He was one of a kind in my book.

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Been bending blue notes for three decades. When you bend a note, don't try to introduce vibrato with the bending finger, do it with a wrist action, like BB. It's easier to control and sounds great. I bend the note with my 3rd or 4th finger and hold it bent while rotating the wrist.

 

10-46 strings are fine, you just need to practice bending until you develop the strength to do it easily. I practice on my acoustic with 12's to keep the finger strength up. If you practice on the acoustic a few days a week, the 10's on your electric will feel a lot slinkier.

 

Touch is critical, also. If you are pressing so hard that the fretboard introduces friction, it will affect your vibrato a bit. Once you develop the touch and the strength, you'll sound like BB and Clapton.

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