94 - 96 Country Bends And Pedal Steel Guitar

Country Bends And Pedal Steel Guitar

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Country Bends For Great String Bending Technique

It's all about string bending this week with various combinations of bending and holding notes to produce some great sounds. Country guitar is full of these types of sounds and a great deal of fun and discovery can be had from analysing the masters of country guitar playing.

A telecaster is a perfect tool on which to play country guitar. If you try playing these licks on a guitar with a tremolo system, you will encounter problems when string bending and holding other notes. When bending a string, the pull on the string pulls the tremolo block and detunes the pitch of the other strings. This causes major problems as the licks will not be in tune. You can make adjustments by slightly bending the held note to compensate for this drop in pitch, but this is very difficult to do.

Not only does the lack of a whammy bar help with tuning, but the tone of a telecaster has also become synonymous with country guitar playing. As I have recorded all of the vertical videos using a telecaster, country licks are an obvious candidate for recording. I must record more as they are great fun to play!

What Is A Pedal Steel Guitar?

A lap steel guitar or Hawaiian guitar is played with a steel bar like a slide and sits in a horizontal position across the player's lap. In 1940, pedals were added to create the pedal steel guitar. The pedals allow the player to change the pitch of strings without moving the bar. This allows individual notes to change pitch within chords and gives a distinctive sound.
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Country Guitar String Bending Workout

This country lick is all about pre-bends. A pre-bend is when you bend the note to a higher pitch before picking the string, resulting in the bent note descending in pitch.

This reminds me of when a student proudly explained his discovery that when you bend a string towards the ceiling, it goes up in pitch and when you bend the string towards the floor, it also goes up in pitch. Not realising that you are simply stretching the string, he thought that the pitch would become lower when you bend the note towards the floor. A revelation!

Acoustic Guitar Country Lick

Yes, I know it says "acoustic guitar" and I am playing this lick on a telecaster. I recorded a batch of licks and it made no sense to completely change the recording set-up for this one lick, so you will need to hear an acoustic guitar tone in your head. The lick works well on electric guitar too, so win-win.

String bending is extremely difficult when playing acoustic guitar, so this lick demonstrates how to emulate pedal steel bending licks with no bends. Pull-off and hammers-on ideas have been used to replace the string bends and it works rather well.

Country Double Stops Bending Lick

An accurate string bending technique is required once again with this pedal steel idea. If your string bends are not controlled and you do not bend to the required pitch, this type of lick can sound very bad.

The classic technique of holding one or more notes whilst bending a note on another string is the main technique to practise if you want this lick to sound good. It takes a great deal of control and good finger strength to play these types of licks convincingly.

Free Ear Training Course

Whether playing country guitar, or any style of music, your ears are the most important tool which you must develop. My free ear training mini-course will allow you to train your ears for free.
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