Rockschool


Free Guitar Lesson: How to use target notes for great sounding string bends

Wednesday, 12 June 2013



Bending in tune requires a combination of good listening skills, muscle memory and finger strength. This lesson – with TAB, video and backing tracks – will help develop all three.

String bends are a big part of rock and pop guitar playing, so it’s important that they are done well. You bend a string by pushing or pulling it with your finger until it reaches a pitch known as the target note, which is shown in brackets in TAB. The string is kept in contact with the fret throughout the bend. To bend in tune consistently requires a combination of good listening skills, muscle memory and finger strength. This lesson will help develop all three.

We'll start by focusing on target notes. Bending in tune can be difficult, especially while practising without any accompaniment. You can overcome this by training your ear to recognise the correct pitch. A good exercise for this is to play and hold the target note and then play the bend. Having the target note fresh in your memory will help you bend to the correct pitch.

 
(Download every part of this tutorial including,
video lesson, backing track audio and free TAB).   

  On Record



       'Icarus Lives’ –  Periphery

 'Highway To Hell’ –  AC/DC

 'Ice 9’ – Joe Satriani

 'Smooth’ – Santana

 'Badge’ – Cream




Fig. 1 | Using a target note to bend to the correct pitch

Play and hold the target note and then play the bend. 



Fig. 2 | Phrase with target notes played as fretted notes

You might even find it useful to play a phrase with a fretted note instead of a string bend so you can hear how the note should sound.



Fig. 3 | Semitone bend

Our last example has a semitone bend, which is a change in pitch equivalent to one fret.



Fig. 4 | Extra string bend tips

Play faster bends slowly and repeatedly, playing close attention to the tuning.
 


Do you know anyone who needs help with their string bends? Share with friends using the links at the top of the page.

Related Links

Download Tutorial
Graded Music Exams In Guitar
Download Rockschool tunes online