The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY and Write

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 02-14-2019, 07:24 AM
Rocky Dijohn Rocky Dijohn is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 49
Default Challenging (for me) String Bend

I am working on John Fahey's "On Doing and Evil Deed Blues" and there comes a measure with a string bend that I cannot quite pull off.

The idea is to use the first finger to fret the 1st string at the 5th fret, while using the second finger to fret the 2nd string at the 6th fret BUT also bend it up a half tone (i.e. sound as if it were the note at the 7th fret).

I can do bends elsewhere on the neck that work out just fine, for example when I might use the third finger to bend a note, but I can give it an "assist" by also deploying the second finger along with it.

No such "support" option in the situation I have described.

I use light gauge strings already and do not want to change to extra light (someone might pull my Man-Card).

Suggestions please on what to do. Just hang in there until my second finger had enough strength to pull if off? Drink a beer beforehand?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 02-14-2019, 08:59 AM
Dino Silone Dino Silone is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Northern New Jersey, NYC Metro Area
Posts: 204
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Dijohn View Post
I am working on John Fahey's "On Doing and Evil Deed Blues" and there comes a measure with a string bend that I cannot quite pull off.

The idea is to use the first finger to fret the 1st string at the 5th fret, while using the second finger to fret the 2nd string at the 6th fret BUT also bend it up a half tone (i.e. sound as if it were the note at the 7th fret).

I can do bends elsewhere on the neck that work out just fine, for example when I might use the third finger to bend a note, but I can give it an "assist" by also deploying the second finger along with it.

No such "support" option in the situation I have described.

I use light gauge strings already and do not want to change to extra light (someone might pull my Man-Card).

Suggestions please on what to do. Just hang in there until my second finger had enough strength to pull if off? Drink a beer beforehand?
This is a really common bend in blues, like when playing in E, doing what you described, but just moving it up two frets (fretting the b on the first string, and bending from g to g# on the second string). What makes this even more challenging is, again when playing in E, you want to use your index finger on the 5th string (to get the octave E and do an alternating bass), and also do what you described using the middle and ring fingers - so now it’s the ring finger that has to do that bend. (Another John Fahey example would be “Last Steam Engine Train”, where this is pretty much the defining lick for the song, and is repeated many times.)

There are no tricks here. Practice is the only way to get this. And yes, it will hurt until you get the callouses and strength to do it. Another possibility is that you could look at lowering tension by tuning down or by going to lighter strings. This is done so much in blues that it’s worthwhile having a guitar (or two) set up to support it.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-14-2019, 10:02 AM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 12,461
Default

Extra light strings not unusually used among guitarists that do a lot of string bending. You might try that until that goes smoothly and then see if you can work up to a higher gauge.
__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-14-2019, 10:18 AM
Dino Silone Dino Silone is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Northern New Jersey, NYC Metro Area
Posts: 204
Default

Two things to add to what I posted a couple of posts up:

1) I don’t really recommend doing this, but what you could do is NOT do the bend. You can avoid it by either sliding up to the note on the 5th string instead of bending, or by picking either the flat or natural third in that interval and playing that. It won’t sound as “authentic”, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do...

2) I did mention this above, but to emphasize: You can tune down. Stevie Ray Vaughn (and plenty of others) routinely tuned down a half or even a full step. I’m not in SRV’s league, but I keep one full-scale, 14-fret guitar tuned down to D-d, and then capo up two frets. Kind of instant conversion to a short-scale 12-fret. I think it sounds fine, and I can do all my bends on a guitar that I wouldn’t normally be able to except by going to much lighter strings. Others might disagree about the “sounds fine” bit...
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-14-2019, 10:45 AM
dkstott dkstott is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Middletown, Connecticut
Posts: 1,171
Default

Do it mind numbingly slow when you practice.

Don't worry about tempo or the exact sound. Just keep working on it a little at a time and you'll train your left hand fingers on what they're supposed to be doing. You'll know you've got it down, when you can play it correctly 5 times in a row without error.

I had a similar problem with playing a hammer on followed by a pull off using same finger. The song required that I then move down 2 two frets and do it again. It took me a while before I could consistently do it & now it's easy.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Dijohn View Post
I am working on John Fahey's "On Doing and Evil Deed Blues" and there comes a measure with a string bend that I cannot quite pull off.

The idea is to use the first finger to fret the 1st string at the 5th fret, while using the second finger to fret the 2nd string at the 6th fret BUT also bend it up a half tone (i.e. sound as if it were the note at the 7th fret).

I can do bends elsewhere on the neck that work out just fine, for example when I might use the third finger to bend a note, but I can give it an "assist" by also deploying the second finger along with it.

No such "support" option in the situation I have described.

I use light gauge strings already and do not want to change to extra light (someone might pull my Man-Card).

Suggestions please on what to do. Just hang in there until my second finger had enough strength to pull if off? Drink a beer beforehand?
__________________
2003 Froggy Bottom H-12 Deluxe
2017 Cordoba C-10 Cedar
2015 Cordoba GK Pro Negra
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-14-2019, 11:24 AM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 12,461
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Dijohn View Post
The idea is to use the first finger to fret the 1st string at the 5th fret, while using the second finger to fret the 2nd string at the 6th fret BUT also bend it up a half tone (i.e. sound as if it were the note at the 7th fret).
Very unlikely you would need (or should) bend the 2nd string while at the same time be holding down the 1st string stationary.
Either bend (it's just a half note bend) the 2nd string without the 1st string being fretted (that is probably the best way) or bend
both the 1st and 2nd string (just picking the 1st string of course). Problem doing it the second way is you will probably hear the
2nd string drop down in pitch as you pick the 1st string (not a clean sound that way).


Don't know what tab you are going off of but I found this interactive tab with midi play along:

https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab...tar_pro_249093
__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-14-2019, 12:24 PM
Dino Silone Dino Silone is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Northern New Jersey, NYC Metro Area
Posts: 204
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Very unlikely you would need (or should) bend the 2nd string while at the same time be holding down the 1st string stationary.
Either bend (it's just a half note bend) the 2nd string without the 1st string being fretted (that is probably the best way) or bend
both the 1st and 2nd string (just picking the 1st string of course). Problem doing it the second way is you will probably hear the
2nd string drop down in pitch as you pick the 1st string (not a clean sound that way).


Don't know what tab you are going off of but I found this interactive tab with midi play along:

https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/tab...tar_pro_249093
Those songs (the John Fahey stuff) really sound better if you’re sounding both strings, with the second string bent.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-14-2019, 02:15 PM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 12,461
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino Silone View Post
Those songs (the John Fahey stuff) really sound better if you’re sounding both strings, with the second string bent.
He does double stop bends, but not a single note bend while fretting and holding an adjacent string steady (at least not in this tune).
__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-18-2019, 12:45 PM
MC5C MC5C is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Tatamagouche Nova Scotia
Posts: 771
Default

That's a hard bend with .012 strings, which I am guessing you have. You have to want it. At least it's only F - F#, not G. The hard part is keeping the A still and stable. No harm going to lighter strings, gaining technique, and then deciding that if you want heavier gauges you can go for it. I remember reading the words of an old New York studio great when a young guy came in "why you working so hard, lad, get you a plain G string like the rest of us", or some such thing.
__________________
Brian Evans
1935 Dobro model 25 resonator
1943 Paramount (made by Kay) mandolin
1946 Epiphone Zephyr electric archtop
1957 Hofner Senator archtop
1962 Gibson Melody Maker electric
1963 National Dynamic lap steel
1996 Landola jumbo
1998 Godin Artisan TC electric
1998 Epiphone SG electric
2010 GoldTone PBR-CA resonator
2015 Evans electric archtop
2016 Evans archtop
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-19-2019, 09:27 AM
Dino Silone Dino Silone is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Northern New Jersey, NYC Metro Area
Posts: 204
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
He does double stop bends, but not a single note bend while fretting and holding an adjacent string steady (at least not in this tune).
I just listened to an online YouTube lesson, and you’re right - the teacher kept it simple. But I then listened to Fahey do the song, and he’s definitely letting the bent note ring out while he sounds the note on the adjacent string. Not a double-stop, (since the two notes are not plucked at the same time), but you still have to hold the bent note while sounding the other.

In general, playing this interval with the 5th on top and slurring the minor to major 3rd on the bottom is a good thing to learn to do, since it happens a lot in the blues. It does take practice, particularly if you want to do the bend on the 2nd string with the 3rd finger. (You have to do that to play “The Last Steam Engine Train”, for example.) It hurts until you get used to it. But, as they say, “You gotta suffer if you want to play The Blues”. (Or is that “Put down the duckie!”?)
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-19-2019, 10:00 AM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 12,461
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino Silone View Post
I just listened to an online YouTube lesson, and you’re right - the teacher kept it simple. But I then listened to Fahey do the song, and he’s definitely letting the bent note ring out while he sounds the note on the adjacent string. Not a double-stop, (since the two notes are not plucked at the same time), but you still have to hold the bent note while sounding the other.

In general, playing this interval with the 5th on top and slurring the minor to major 3rd on the bottom is a good thing to learn to do, since it happens a lot in the blues. It does take practice, particularly if you want to do the bend on the 2nd string with the 3rd finger. (You have to do that to play “The Last Steam Engine Train”, for example.) It hurts until you get used to it. But, as they say, “You gotta suffer if you want to play The Blues”. (Or is that “Put down the duckie!”?)

Before I had commented I had listened to Fahey's original recording and did not hear that. If you want to point out the time(s) it occurs in that I will take another listen.
Now it's not that hard to fret a string and bend the adjacent string a half or full step, but to keep that string from bending somewhat along with the target bent string and
not have that audible is more tricky.


__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs

Last edited by rick-slo; 02-19-2019 at 10:07 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-19-2019, 02:09 PM
Dino Silone Dino Silone is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Northern New Jersey, NYC Metro Area
Posts: 204
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Before I had commented I had listened to Fahey's original recording and did not hear that. If you want to point out the time(s) it occurs in that I will take another listen.
Now it's not that hard to fret a string and bend the adjacent string a half or full step, but to keep that string from bending somewhat along with the target bent string and
not have that audible is more tricky.


That’s the same recording I listened to, and I believe the f-f# (the bent note) on the 2nd string is still ringing when he plucks the a on the 1st string.

But have a listen to “Last Steam Engine Train”. He slides up to the 7th fret while sounding the 5th string (sliding from B to E), and at the same time, on the 2nd string slides into that bend on the 8th fret (g-g#) and the 7th fret on the 1st string (b). While he’s doing that lick on the 5th and 6th strings, he’s doing the alternating bass between the open 6th string and the 7th fret 5th string (E-e), which means you have to be able to do and hold the bend on the 2nd string with your ring finger.

I think, to get the right sound on this, you have to bend the 5th string and NOT bend the 6th, and you have to let the 5th string keep ringing with that bent g# while you sound the b (Not bent) on the 1st string. (You’re basically bending part of a minor 3rd into a major 3rd interval, or close...)

As I said, this is a really common thing to do in blues. Think about Big Bill Broonzy’s “Hey, Baby, Hey”, or the intro to Stevie Ray Vaughn doing “Pride and Joy” - they both use that lick, as do many others. I dunno - IMHO, it’s really worth practicing to get to be able to do it - it’s a great trick to have in your bag.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 02-19-2019, 02:44 PM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 12,461
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino Silone View Post
That’s the same recording I listened to, and I believe the f-f# (the bent note) on the 2nd string is still ringing when he plucks the a on the 1st string.
Yes clearly. Does the bend, holds it while then fretting and picking the 1st string. Sequence is unclear without a video however below at 6:40 is a case where he simultaneous hold and bend without issue.


__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs

Last edited by rick-slo; 02-19-2019 at 04:02 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY and Write

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:48 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=