String Bending Guitar Lesson

How To Bend Strings Better – Guitar Lesson

Learn How To Master The Bending Technique So That You Can Make Your Guitar Sing!

The bending technique is one of the most expressive techniques that there is on guitar.

It’s also one of the hardest lead guitar techniques to get under control.

It’s one of the techniques that separate the men from the boys and the good guitar players from the truly great guitar players.

In this guitar lesson, I will give you my #1 exercise for developing the bending technique, so grab your guitar and lets get into it.

The #1 Lesson When It Comes To Bending The Guitar Strings

When it comes to bending on the guitar most people focus on the physical aspects of guitar playing.

While the bending technique is difficult because it is physically demanding and requires us to develop finder strength, it is actually the listening component that many guitar players overlook.

Bending is only 20% technique, the other 80% is listening.

If you want to be a great guitar player, you need to master the bending technique, and if you want to master the bending technique then you need to become a good listener.

Blues Guitar Lesson
Blues Guitar Legend SRV Bending on his Fender Stratocaster

How To Improve Your Bending Technique

When it comes to practising bending most guitar players just bend the string and hope for the best.

This usually results in the guitarist bending the note slightly lower or slightly higher than the target note resulting in the bends sounding out of tune.

If you walk into a guitar store on a Saturday afternoon and listen to people trying out guitars you’ll definitely hear this.

The trick to improving your bending is to listen so that you can identify the note you are bending to and then bend to it so that is you are bending in tune.

To do this you have to listen to the note you are playing when practising.

Gradually over time your ears will adjust to hearing the right pitch and your muscle memory will know how much to bend intuitively, but in the beginning you need to be very deliberate in how you bend.

The Best Exercise To Improve Bending On Guitar

When it comes to bending on the guitar the best lesson I can give you is my bending to a target note exercise.

To do this exercise you need only follow these three simple steps.

  • play the target note and listen to how it sounds (eg string 1 fret 12
  • move one fret lower and play that note (eg string 1 fret 11)
  • bend the lower note until it matches the pitch of the higher note
  • repeat this 5-10 times before selecting a new note.

The exercise might appear simple, but you really need to listen so that you are bending to the right pitch, otherwise you are just reinforcing a poor bending technique.

The tricky thing is that when you are a beginner guitarist you won’t have a well-developed ear so while it might sound correct to you, it may not be in tune.

Furthermore, because you are putting so much focus on the technical side of bending the guitar strings, it takes away from your ability to listen.

To counter this I recommend you record yourself and listen back so that you can ‘count the good ones’

Guitar Bending Lesson Examples
Bending Exercise 1

Watch My #1 Exercise For Bending The Guitar Strings – Video Guitar Lesson

I recorded a short video lesson on how to go through the bending exercise.

Take a minute to watch this video from my Youtube Channel (subscribe for free guitar lessons)

You’ll hopefully have better bending in no time at all from this simple 5-minute guitar exercise.

Additional Ways You Can Improve Your Bending Technique

I recommend you add the exercise above to your guitar practice routine and spend at least one week working on the exercise.

Once you get the hand of level one, you can move on to the second level of the exercise.

This involves bending the guitar string from two frets lower than the target pitch which will be a much more difficult bend to pull off.

You will need to get a feel for how much force to use in order to bend the strings to the right note, while doing this don’t forget to listen to what notes you are bending to.

I find that starting between fret 10-15 on strings 1-3 are best because there is less tension on the guitar. You can work your way further down or higher up the fretboard as you get comfortable.

Other Bending Tips For Guitar Players

When it comes to the bending technique it can be very physically demanding. Below are several ways that you can ensure your hands stay safe while you practice.

  • If your hands hurt, stop! – Don’t push through the pain
  • Set a time and practice this routine for the duration of the allocated time. 5 Minutes is plenty!
  • Record yourself and listen back – You can’t listen and focus at the same time when beginning, listen to your recordings and figure out what to improve next

Learn From A Great Guitar Teacher

The #1 Tip for improving your bending technique is none other than learning from a great guitar teacher!

A great guitar teacher will show you how to properly bend and fix any flaws in your technique. They can also show you how to improve your ear so that you know what to listen for and can self-correct.

If you’re looking for Guitar Lessons in Melbourne and need a guitar teacher who can help you improve your bending technique, look no further than guitar lessons at Melbourne Guitar Academy.

How Often To Practice Bending

As stated before I recommend you practise this exercise for 5 minutes at a time, and gradually extend towards 10 minutes as your hands improve.

You do not need to practice this for hours every day, this will likely be bad for your fingers, especially if you are a beginner.

Aim to do this exercise at least three times per week, but of course, every day is fine if you have the time in your guitar practice schedule.


So there you have it, my #1 exercise to improve bending on the guitar.

I hope you have enjoyed this guitar lesson on bending and continue to improve your guitar playing.

If you’re finding it hard to control your fingers using the bending technique then I highly recommend you check out this lesson on How To Develop Faster Fingers On Guitar so that you can strengthen your fingers and make bending the strings easier.

See you in the next lesson!

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