This lesson will teach you how to bend your strings like Roy Buchanan used to. The first thing you have to know is that a true bend is just taking a note from the scale and stretching your string up to the next note in the scale. This is why it is imperative to know your scales, because you can miss the proper pitch very easily if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. So find the pitch you’re looking for, then strike the string and let it down.
You can use more than one finger – if you have to hold the string there for any length of time, it’s much easier if you get your other fingers behind the finger doing the bend. You can do this on any string, by the way.
So here is how you play that riff. First of all, it’s taken out of the C pentatonic minor scale. Start with your D on the second string, fifteenth fret. Your reference point is the E that is on the twelfth fret, first string. Don’t play this note, just use it to learn the sound you’re looking for in the stretch. So stretch your D up until it is the same pitch as the E string. Start your riff on the stretched E, and as your string comes back, let it ring out to a D. Now drop in your scale to the B note. Take your A note on the third string, fourteenth fret, and stretch it to the B note. Strike it, and let it come down to the A, then play G. The riff ends on an E which is the fourteenth fret, fourth string.
So the trick is that you have to plan a little ahead because you have to stretch that string before you strike the note. It requires you to be a little ahead of the game, and it makes the guitar sound like it’s crying!
Have a look at Roy Buchanan’s “Guitar on Fire” album, and the song Messiah. It’s a great song, and you’ll hear some of those bends.
Watch on Youtube