Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Basic Techniques, pt. 11: What is string-bending?

Whether you realize it or not, musicians who play different instruments employ a number of the same techniques. For example, violinists and trumpet players both use vibrato while pianist and flutist can both play a trill. However, there is one technique that seems to be unique to the guitar and that is string bending. 

Although no one is quite sure who invented or first started to bend strings as a technique, it does appear in the electric blues of the 1950's. B.B. King is said to have poplularized the technique in his attempt to imitate the sound of slide guitar. 

While there are a variety of ways or types of string bends players use, the technqiue will be defined as the act of pushing up or pulling down on string in order to change the pitch of a note.  

In next month's post I'll start to dig into how to teach students to bend!

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Basic Techniques, pt.10: Trills

Way back in July of 2021 I began an extended series of posts regarding basic techniques guitarists can employ in their soloing and rhythm playing. The most recent posts (parts, 6, 7, 8 and 9) revolve around hammer-on's and pull-off's. This month I'll be combining the two and discuss trills.

The trill uses a rapid series of continuous alternating hammer-on's and pull-off's. However, the first note is picked and the sound of all notes thereafter are produced with strictly the fingers of the fret hand. See these sample exercises.

There are two things to keep in mind as you are playing a trill: 

1) Fingering: As with hammer-on's and pull-off's practice trills using all fingering combinations (starting with a H.O. - 1,2 - 1,3 - 1,4 - 2,3 - 2,4 - 3,4 and starting with a P.O. - 2,1 - 3,1 - 4,1 - 3,2 - 4,2 - 4,3). 

2) Rhythmic Accuracy: Try to play trills in time, so practice with a metronome.  

See you next month!

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Basic Techniques, pt. 9: Pull-Off exercises

In  last month's I discussed pull-off's; another basic technique that all guitarists should have in their skill set and a technique which can be utilized effectively in both rhythm and lead playing. 

In the previous post I outlined how the how pull-off's are done and this month I'll offer exercises to help students develop their pull-off skills. 

The following exercises incorporate a variety of finger combinations in order to facilitate finger development using the technique. The student will find certain finger combinations easier than others. Whereas, the independence between fingers such as the 3rd, 4th (ring finger and pinky) have not been as developed as the 1st and 2nd (index and middle). 

Remember when working finger combinations, the goal is to have the note which is "pulled-off" come out as clear and similar in volume as the one which is picked. 

I hope you find these exercises helpful.