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9 Tips for Learning How to Bend on the Guitar

I’ve been playing mostly acoustic guitar lately and not much electric. Consequently, my bending hasn’t been in the best shape. This past week I was learning one of my favorite bendy solos of all time and man... were my fingers sore. That made me want to put this little video on bending together for you. It contains 9 tips for getting your bending in shape and keeping it as polished as possible. Below are the 9 bending tips. Go through them and leave your own tips below to help everyone.

1 PLAY A LOT! - The more you play, the more “in shape” your hands will be. That will make it much easier to accurately hit bends on a regular basis. 

2 Learn some go-to bending solos or songs - Having some great bending solos down will help keep your hand in shape and give you something to gauge what condition your bedding is in. 

3 Take a break if your fingers get sore - If you are just getting into bending, or if your fingers are just a little out of shape, practice for a day and then take a break. This can keep your fingers from getting overly sore. 

4 Take time to calibrate when switching between guitars - If you are switching back and forth between guitars that have different scale lengths, it can be tough to make your bends super-accurate. Just be aware of this and know that it will take some time to calibrate your ear, mind, and hands when you switch guitars. 

5 Use as many fingers as possible when bending notes - Make things easy on yourself. Don’t bend with just one finger. That can make things much tougher than they should be. If you are using your 3rd finger to bend a note, go ahead and use your 1st and 2nd fingers to help make that bend. 

6 Put your thumb over the fretboard - I like to call this move “The Clapton”. Some players consider putting your thumb over the fretboard to be “bad technique”, but I think that putting your thumb over the fretboard to get some leverage for bending is essential. 

7 Use a rotational movement for your bends - Don’t try to bend a note using only your fingers. Get some rotational movement in there with your forearm to make things easier. 

8 Double-check the pitch of your bends - Bends can sound awesome if they are spot on! Unfortunately, they can also sound pretty bad if they don’t quite get to the pitch you are shooting for. Take some time to work on the accuracy of your bends, and you will sound pro. 

9 Be aware of your own unique style - Experiment with how you use vibrato with your bends and how you use the timing of your bends to develop your own unique voice on the guitar. 

That’s a pretty big list but it all boils down to this… play a lot. The more you have your hands on the guitar, and are aware of your bending, the better your bending will be. There is no substitute for spending time with your instrument, so pick out a solo that uses some bending and get to work! If you need help learning any songs or ironing out a plan for your playing, you can schedule a private lesson with me here on the site. Have a great week and stay healthy. 

If you have any questions or need help ironing out some of your lead guitar technique, you can schedule a private lesson with me here. The first lesson is complimentary, so there is no risk or obligation.


If you need to get the basics of playing the guitar down, you should go through the Guitar Foundations course here. You can also invest in the accompanying Ebook here. Let us know how things are going for you and if you have any questions by leaving a comment below.

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