Intermediate String Bends

This is a staple blues / rock / metal trick that you will have heard at some point as a listener. If you need to, refresh your memory on the Bm scale and the ideas outlined in my first String Bending lesson.

For the first bend you’ll want your first finger fretting the target pitch, which is at the 9th fret of the B string. Your second or third finger will start on the 7th fret of the G string.

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In the example below, notice that the letter “b” is used to indicate a string bend, and the number that appears in brackets next to it is the location of the pitch you’re aiming for. This is what we call a Full-Tone Bend.

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Here you’ll want your first finger fretting the target pitch again, which is the 9th fret of the E string. This time your third or fourth finger will start on the 8th fret of the B string.

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This is the same deal as the previous bend, it’s just taking place on a different fret. You can also apply some vibrato once you’ve hit your target pitch, as indicated by the “v”.

tumblr_mx1q7ykHDY1rvyc2jo3_400 Remember, when you bend a note, usually the listener will hear the target pitch as the one that’s been affected rather than the starting note, which is pretty much the opposite of what we’re experiencing as the performer. It’s important to get around this idea early on as it can hold you back later.

That being the case, you shouldn’t worry too much about the starting pitch of your bend – provided the target pitch is solid and you’ve got good intonation, no one will really mind where the note started.

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Once you’ve got solid intonation and your fingers are getting used to the idea of doing a silly amount of bending work, try playing around with slackening-off the bend here and there, or really slowing it down you to get a very tense pitch raise. Add vibrato here and there as well for a bit more flavour.

The next step would be the advanced bending techniques of Over Bending and Pre-Bending.

Memorizing The Fretboard

(I’ve stolen an image from www.CortGuitars.com for this. So there.)

These are some tips and tricks to help you memorize the fretboard. Memorizing the fretboard will help you to instinctively know where to go in order to voice different chords.

The first step is to remember the order of the open strings, which is as follows, (from deepest pitch to highest), E A D g b e. Quite often the thinnest three strings, (the ones which aren’t coiled), are written as lower-case letters. This helps to avoid confusion, being as there are two strings pitched to E.

Secondly, you need to remember that any note on the 12th fret is the same as it’s open string, only an octave higher.

The next sensible thing to do is to learn the notes on the deeper E string. Start by learning the notes on the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th frets, which are shown below. I have yet to see a guitar that doesn’t mark these frets on the freeboard or at least on the side of the neck. Be aware that a few guitars mark the first fret as well, mostly for aesthetics, so the 3rd fret is not always the first inlay on your guitar neck.

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The fourth step is remembering that the 1st fret on the E string is an F, the 8th fret is a C, and the 10th fret is a D. It is about this point that you will also need to learn that there are no Cb, B#, Fb or E# notes. If you are playing an E, (open E string), and sharpen the note by a half step, you will be playing F. Similarly, if you sharpen a B by a half step you will be playing C. In reverse, flattening a C will give you a B, and flattening a F will give you an E.

The next step is to memorize the highlighted notes on the A string, which are as follows. Also, remember that the 2nd fret on the A string is a B note.

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Once you have these down, you’ve certainly done the majority of the work. Learning the notes on the D and G strings is comparatively very easy. All you need to know now, is that if you play a note on the E or A strings, you can play that note’s octave, by skipping a string and playing 2 frets above. For instance, the following pairs are the same notes, but an octave apart:

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A similar rule is true when your first note is played on the G or D string. You need to take account of the tuning discrepancy for the B string. You’ll need to skip a string, but then play three frets higher, like this:

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Once you have these seven steps down, it’s only a case of filling in the gaps, which is usually as simple as placing a b or # symbol next to the adjacent note. And there you have it, fretboard memorized.