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Twang 101: Bending Through a Scale

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Once you've worked through the inversions, you can use these same inversions to suggest other chords. I took the same idea and transposed it to C Mixolydian (C–D–E–F–G–A–Bb) in Fig. 4.

Finally, in Fig. 5, we combine our implied inversions through both G and C chords—this is a great technique to use when accompanying a vocalist.

By using string bends, you'll be able to play through an entire scale and imply the appropriate harmony, and you'll be able to imply chords (or mini chords, as I like to call them). Remember to practice your bends in tune and with a metronome. Something that helped me was to plug my tuner into the bypass output. Most tuners are equipped with one. Basically, what this does is give you a way to visually see if you are in tune while maintaining your signal into your amp. Then, try to bend in tune without looking at the tuner. When you think it's correct, check your tuner. I've spent countless hours working to improve my bends, so if you don't get it right away, don't get discouraged—it takes time.

Strength is also a factor. To achieve whole-step bends on the 3rd fret of the 2nd string while fretting the G on the 1st string isn't easy! Don't only use your ring finger to bend. Let your index and middle finger help the bend by keeping them on the 2nd string too. Sometimes it's helpful to hold a bend for as long as you can. Definitely not easy on your hand, but there's only one way to build strength and that's through consistent practice.

Happy bending!

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