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View Full Version : Bending a note in tune, and easy trick?



Dane
06-26-2014, 06:41 PM
I've never been much of a string bender, I give a little wobble for nice effect, but I never really bothered to learn to bend a note properly.

But having played around with it, it seems like there is a very basic and simple trick. If I want to bend a semi-tone, I pull the string down (or up) to the position that the string below it is resting at naturally. If I want to bend it a whole tone, I pull the string down until it passes 1 string and pull it into the location of the second string.

For example, if I was playing the C string, and I wanted to bend the 4th fret (Note E) to the 5th fret note (Note F) I could fret the 4th, and pull down until that string is sitting where the E string normally sits.

If I wanted to bend that same note to F# (a whole tone from E) I would pull the C string all the way down until it meets the location of the A string.

Is this fairly accurate? It sure seems to be working quite well, up and down the fretboard, but my ear DOES need fine training.

Brad Bordessa
06-26-2014, 07:40 PM
No, it's not accurate. (Straight up. :cool:) ...But it might be a good guideline for getting you close. Depending on what size 'ukulele you play, what type of strings, where you are on the fretboard, etc... the distance needed to bend in tune changes.

The only for sure way to know you're doing it right is to listen. Play the "destination" note first and then drop down to where you are bending from and try to match it. Do this over and over until you can hit it smoothly. So for example, you are bending your C string, 4th fret up to an F: play the 5th fret (an F) normal, listen, and then go back to the 4th fret and bend to the same pitch as the 5th fret. (Try to keep the destination pitch "in your ear.") This is old, but it might be helpful: http://youtu.be/IiMFScgIqyA. I think I knew what I was talking about back then... Haha!

It takes a lot of practice. But well worth your time. There's not much worse than an out-of-tune bend, IMHO. Best of luck!

Dane
06-26-2014, 07:53 PM
No, it's not accurate. (Straight up. :cool:) ...But it might be a good guideline for getting you close. Depending on what size 'ukulele you play, what type of strings, where you are on the fretboard, etc... the distance needed to bend in tune changes.

The only for sure way to know you're doing it right is to listen. Play the "destination" note first and then drop down to where you are bending from and try to match it. Do this over and over until you can hit it smoothly. So for example, you are bending your C string, 4th fret up to an F: play the 5th fret (an F) normal, listen, and then go back to the 4th fret and bend to the same pitch as the 5th fret. (Try to keep the destination pitch "in your ear.") This is old, but it might be helpful: http://youtu.be/IiMFScgIqyA. I think I knew what I was talking about back then... Haha!

It takes a lot of practice. But well worth your time. There's not much worse than an out-of-tune bend, IMHO. Best of luck!

I don't know what I was thinking, string spacing by design would be enough to make it inaccurate. Well, it works quite well on my D6, so good job KoAloha!

I have been putting off training my ear for a long time. I've been doing exactly what you suggested, playing the target note, then going back and bending it. I do notice improvement already.

Thanks for the info, I'll check out your video tomorrow. I know if I watch it, I'll go pick an instrument back up... but I need to sleep... jury duty bright and early tomorrow.

coolkayaker1
06-26-2014, 10:43 PM
Thought it then, think it again now...Brad's note bending video is essential viewing for all intermediate to advanced players. Vital!

His vibrato video is also mandatory viewing.
http://youtu.be/sW3ICGL27ek

Please keep these videos up forever. I go back to them often. Mahalo, Brad.

buddhuu
06-26-2014, 10:50 PM
Excellent advice, guys.

The tuner is definitely worth playing with. It's surprising how many people over- or under-bend, thinking that they've hit the right note. A good ear can take some training.

coolkayaker1
06-26-2014, 10:54 PM
Thanks, Bill and Rick. I had never considered bending while watching the tuner until this instant. I'm going to try that.

stevepetergal
06-27-2014, 04:28 AM
Here's my first rule of thumb. ALWAYS listen to Brad Bordessa.

Everything he says here makes perfect sense. Position on the fretboard is a huge factor. If you could bend a string to the next string position at the first or second fret, (first of all you'd break the string and the nut, but) the note would go far more than a whole step. At the 12th fret, you'll find it not only far easier to bend but you need to go a much shorter distance to get a whole step. So, (again as Brad says) the only way to get it right is to always listen. For most people, this is far more useful than using a tuner. Listening tunes you in to the music. The device will mostly distract you from it.

I remember someone asking Eric Clapton if he still practices. He said the only thing he practices is string bending.