Bending strings

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Usul, Sep 1, 2000.

  1. I hear alot about guitarists "bending" the strings to get a quarter/half note higher(and/or lower?)out of the note they are fretting without having to actually play the note...Does this hold true for the bass?Is that a could/should be practicing?I have messed around with bass to see what it is like.Definately hear the differance but not sure how to control/direct it for playing a song.Just seems like an interesting concept to me(but hey I got all wiggly when I discovered vibrato!).


    p.s. keep all the great info flowing!
  2. furtim


    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    You can sure DO it on bass, but it doesn't work too well. The thicker strings are harder to bend far enough to get the proper effect, for one thing. For another, I think that this technique would be best reserved for solos if it worked well (but you could do some really killer solo stuff with it!). One interesting thing I used to do when just messing around is to pull the G-string off of the fretboard down near the octave. You get a kinda neat high-pitched metallic screech from that. If you can figure how to work that into a tune, more power to ya. =)
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Billy Sheehan of Mr. Big, Niacin, and formerly the David Lee Roth band, is a noted string bender. In fact he bends strings so often as part of his technique that his basses have grooves carved into the fretboard for the G and D strings down at the 17th through 22nd frets of his Yamaha Attitude basses.

    As you can see from that, the string bending he does is pretty much done on higher notes, so I'd say that he does it mostly for solos and for fills.

    Jason Oldsted
  4. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    All I know is...I do it and it is VERY much a part of my personal style. It can be extremely effective when used properly...and I do suppose that strong fingers would help....:)
  5. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I've been bending strings ever since I started playing. I find any number of nice places to either pull on the low end, or push on the high end. For songs like "Goin' Down", the bend is pretty much essential to the lick; I even use it for "Dazed and Confused". I'd call string bending the closest thing to a fretless slide, but you're limited in the range you can use. It's really handy to do this when the dymanics of a blues tune comes way down; instead of fingering a half-step accent, just pull it up and back for a very subtle phrase.
  6. I do it all the time in solos and fills. I love reverse bends.
  7. Licketysplit


    Mar 15, 2000
    I does work on bass, but doesn't sound as good as on a guitar. You can get plenty of Guitar Technique books about bending (a bassist can learn a lot from a guitarist, and likewise) that will provide you with anything you need to know.
  8. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    It works GREAT on MY bass...and I DIDN'T learn it from any stinkin' guitarist!...:D
  9. The first thing i did when i picked up a bass was bend. I had blisters on my middle finger from bending the E string at the 3rd fret all the way up to an A. it dosen't have to be just something to put in a solo or a fill. I think it would sound great on a line. something to try is this: in a slow song do something like this:

    It's pretty simple, plays around with the octave, and makes the octave suspend a second into it. fun.

    in short: Bend. Bend your pretty little heart out.
  10. phillesh71


    Sep 10, 2000
    yeah, John paul Jones does put a little tremolo on the descending chromatic scale in dazed and confused, which sounds really cool, and i find that bends sound really cool when you take a minor 3rd and bend up a half stap at the end of a chromatic descent and then follow that 3rd with a root note. for example the end of a rock/riffish song i made goes

  11. phillesh71


    Sep 10, 2000
    eww sorry i guess the aspect ratio messed up that riff, the last D is supposed to come after the bent minor third