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Electric Country Guitar Lessons: Intermediate String Bending

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This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Country Guitar with Guthrie Trapp. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Electric Country Guitar Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

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[MUSIC]
Okay we are back here intermediate country
guitar with ArtistWorks and you know what,
we're gonna get into some stuffs now,
we're gonna get into
some pretty fun stuff.
We're already starting to
kind of expand on what we've
learned as far as fundamentals.
We're starting to get into
a few kinda fun things here.
We're doing hammer ons and some pull
offs and some slides and getting into,
now we're gonna get ready to
get into some really fun stuff.
We're gonna start bending some strings,
which is a gonna be a huge part
of playing country guitar.
And it's a lot of fun.
It's exciting stuff that we're
getting ready to get into here,
so you know, it was bound to happen.
I know sooner or later after our working
on so many fundamentals that are very
important so thanks for
sticking with me through all that and
now we're going to move on to like I said,
so fun stuff here.
So we're gonna get into some
intermediate string bending and
do a few exercises with that.
What I wanna do is get out of
the pentatonic blues kinda pattern and
get back into more
[MUSIC]
like maybe a little bit more of a country
kinda feel here.
So we're gonna work down
here in you're A position.
[MUSIC]
Your full A kinda shape.
We're looking at this note,
[MUSIC]
the E note, and this four fret span here.
And then we're going to work on this
[MUSIC]
whole step from A to B as well.
So what I want to do now is I just want
to focus on, I want to stay smooth,
in tune, soulful,
focus on the muscle memory and
the mechanism terminology that I use for
string bending.
Which is like, I look at this, and I do
a lot of bending with this ring finger.
That's going to be your money finger for
string bending.
And the way I do it is, and
I've found that a lot of people,
I think I first heard this
concept from Robin Ford,
which I don't know if you know Robin Ford,
but I'm a big fan.
But I will reference some music
that's not country oriented,
because I'm affected by
a bunch of different styles.
But, he was the first guy that
I heard explain the fact that,
when you're bending a string, if you
try to just bend with just one finger,
and I've said this in
the beginning curriculum as well.
When you bend with just that one finger,
you're not getting any power behind it,
and it's extremely almost impossible,
extremely difficult,
almost impossible to do.
So you really want to make sure you're
focusing on having this at least one
finger, if not all three of these
on the fret board together,
bending up, and you're really
going to get that power from that.
And I look at this as a little mechanism,
I mean that's my kinda terminology for
this.
But it's almost like to bend in country
you really do wanna be in tune because
you're gonna start
incorporating multiple strings.
[MUSIC]
And when you do that,
you really wanna be in tune or
else It's not going to sound good and
you'll wonder why and just go,
man, what's wrong with my playing?
Well, it could be very possible
that you're bending out of tune,
which is something I learned
from an older guy early on.
He said look, man,
you're bending out of tune.
You've got to bend in tune.
So that was a huge lesson for
me that I learned, and trust me,
if you hear somebody else tell you that,
it affects you pretty strongly.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
So with that being said, like I said,
this becomes like a mechanism.
And it's like, what we're doing
in the beginning curriculum,
we worked on string bending a little bit.
And we're gonna fret the note
that you wanna bend to.
So if I'm gonna bend from here,
if I'm an A.
[MUSIC]
So
I'm bending.
[MUSIC]
That's really,
[MUSIC]
so I'm bending up to that note.
[MUSIC]
And what I'm doing there,
is I'm listening, in the beginning
when you're learning this,
you wanna fret the note,
get that in your head,
hear that tone, and
then remember it, and bend up to it.
[MUSIC]
And that's a great way to learn how
to play in tune as far as string bending.
The other thing is just kind of
noticing that little mechanism.
So I know right away when you do
bend up to the note that's in tune.
[MUSIC]
Really notice how much that takes for
that finger to get there.
[MUSIC]
And then that's your movement, I mean,
that's the movement from here on out.
I mean, that's never gonna change.
For that note to be bent in tune, if your
guitar's in tune, it's that movement.
[MUSIC]
So with that being said, I'm gonna move on
to this other little thing
that I was just noticing,
that I was doing when I bent up.
[MUSIC]
I kind of dropped down a little
bit to give this a little
bit of an accent.
What I'm doing is,
is I'm just using this pentatonic shape,
[MUSIC]
And I'm doing a couple little pick up
notes into that bend.
I'm just going,
[MUSIC].
So that's like my little
melody right there.
[MUSIC]
You could use two notes, and
I'll show you that those two notes.
[MUSIC]
Or
right out of that chord I might as well
start introducing some of this stuff.
And we're gonna really elaborate on that,
cuz that's a huge part of my
playing is the way stuff is
related to the chord shapes.
And I'm kind of starting
to lay that framework.
So not to get off track, but
that's our little melody,
[MUSIC]
or
[MUSIC].
So leading up to that note, that's like
the melody note that we're getting to.
So leading up to that,
[MUSIC]
we're hitting a couple little like kind of
pick up notes or like preview notes.
Like, hey, this is leading us to
this other note that's gonna be like
the keynote in our melody.
So that's just an example.
[MUSIC]
So what I did there was I dropped down.
[MUSIC]
And then I bent back up again, and
I'm getting more notes again by just
hitting one pluck on the string, so
[MUSIC].
So what I did there was, and
this is gonna take a little muscle.
So just make sure,
and when I bend,
[MUSIC].
My thumb is going up over
the top here pretty good.
I'm getting a good,
[MUSIC]
I don't know if you can see the back.
Can you see the back of
my finger board here?
So,
[MUSIC]
and I'm really just using
those muscles to bend.
I mean, that's kind of the whole thing.
Bending takes some strength.
So with the fingers behind to reinforce,
and
your wrist kind of
grabbing that guitar and
getting a good, solid hold on the neck
to where you can really bend nice.
That's all part of this stuff too.
And in addition to that, even though
you're kind of having to muscle
this a little bit, still should be
relaxed, still should be smooth.
Don't mistake getting a good hold on
the neck with really pressing too hard on
the string, cuz that will cause
you to go out of tune too.
And you don't wanna play out of tune,
that won't be any fun for anybody.
So with that being said,
let's get back to this little thing.
So I'm bending up.
[MUSIC]
And
I am just tweaking that note a little bit
to give it a little bit of character.
So almost like a Vince Gill type bend.
He would do
something like,
[MUSIC].
And that's all very major,
like right out of the A cord.
[MUSIC]
And
that's just playing something
that's really soulful.
You want this to sound like
an extension of your body,
not like you're forcing this
instrument to do this things.
It should be a soulful pleasant sound.
Nice movement, nice,
I kind of equate it to like,
when I'm doing something like this,
[MUSIC].
It's almost like a nice wave in the ocean,
like a nice long swell versus a lot
of choppy, disconnected stuff.
So I don't know,
that's a little weird, but
it should be this nice,
smooth motion rather than anything jerky.
Just all the fundamentals
we've put into this stuff,
the pick attack,
getting a nice warm sound.
This should almost be
like it's not even there.
You don't wanna have a lot of
pick noise and stuff like that.
You just want a nice,
[MUSIC].
And a lot of times when I'm bending
up on these higher strings,
I'll hit an upstroke with my pick.
So if I go down,
down strokes with the pickup notes.
[MUSIC]
I'll bend up a lot of times.
[MUSIC]
So,
[MUSIC]
That's another little
exercise you can do.
[MUSIC]
So that's like our melody.
[MUSIC]
So that bent
is,
[MUSIC].
So there's some exercises you can do.
And feel free, of course,
to send me videos and
ask me questions about this stuff.
I'm blowing through a lot of exercises and
a lot of stuff with this curriculum.
So the whole point of this is
to do the video exchange, so
you can really hone in on some
things that you might be,
I wish he would have spent
a little bit more time on that.
Well, we can.
So that's the whole point and
the beauty of this entire program.
So feel free to ask me any questions,
of course.
So we're gonna move on.
[MUSIC]