This is assuming that you're right-handed and are playing a right handed guitar. For lefties, you'll want to reverse this. Push on the front of the body of the guitar firmly with your right hand a bit below where you'd be plucking the strings. Simultaneously, leaving your left hand still fretting the note or chord you'd like to bend down, push forward gently with your left hand until the tones dip to the level desired and release. Now don't overdo this, there's a chance that it might break your guitar's neck. Oh yeah, and this does not work well with an acoustic guitar.

In order to bend a note on a guitar with a fixed bridge, you can merely push the fretted string towards the center of the neck with your fretting finger(s). In order to bend an open note, the player can push on the string from behind the nut. In both cases, the string is stretched by the player. This has the same effect as turning a tuning peg up. That is, the pitch of the note rises.

Most times that a player bends, they usually bend the note up either 1/2 step or a full step. The bending of the body and neck of the guitar away from the player would lessen the string tension and lower the note, but possibly wreck the instrument. It might be advisable to get a similar yet less damaging effect by sliding down a few frets and either using a vibrato technique or bending.

As a fellow guitar player I would recommend that you do not use this technique too often! In case you weren't clear on exactly what Patch was saying, the idea is to physically bend the wooden neck out away from the body of the guitar, thus slackening the strings and lowering the pitch of all the strings being played. While this will have a similar effect to the tremolo arm (whammy bar) on an electric guitar, it is likely to put your strings out of tune very quickly, will put unnecessary strain on the guitar's neck and body, and could affect the guitar's action and cause permanent damage to the neck, body, or the joint between the two. And as waterhouse reminded me, there is probably a metal rod, called the truss rod, running through the neck of your guitar, which is adjusted to raise the action of the guitar up or down by bending the neck in relation to the body. Bend the neck too much on your own, and you're likely to thow things out of whack in that respect.

The technique described works in reverse, too: If you pull back with your left hand, the strings will be pulled tighter, raising the pitch. But the same caveats apply. You might be better off trying a pitch bend the normal way: By pushing the fingers fretting the strings you want to bend up towards your nose. Of course you can't bend open strings this way, and this kind of bend is usually only done on one string at a time, when playing lead or soloing, when you can use three or more fingers on one string to get the maximum effect. You can only bend the pitch up this way, but if you need to do a fall, pre-bend the note above where you want to land, and then do a careful release.

So if you're playing a guitar without a whammy bar and absolutely must have a whammy-like pitch bend on all your strings, you can try it, but don't expect any Van Halen-like dive bombs, and definitely don't try it on your favorite axe!

In addition to the methods of bending described elsewhere in this node it is also posssible to bend natural harmonics without a whammy bar.

After playing a harmonic at the 3rd, 5th, 7th or 9th fret hammer on to the note you just played the harmonic on (This works best with a healthy dose of distortion) The note you just hammered onto contains the harmonic you just played (look up a more detailed description of harmonics to find out why) so the ear hears the harmonic more prominantly than it hears the other frequencies in the note. Then you can just bend it the same you would any other note.

Play harmonic, hammer on, then bend. Sometimes due to the curiosities of harmonics it even sounds like two notes being bent slightly out of tune with each other.

Not exactly usable in every situation, but its a cool little lick to know. Sounds great with delay too.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.