The Acoustic Guitar Forum

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 11-30-2019, 01:54 PM
agfsteve agfsteve is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Northeast Tennessee, USA
Posts: 733
Default The History of String Bending?

I'm just guessing, but I would think string bending (as opposed to vibrato) was first done by somebody fumbling around, maybe with poor technique? And maybe someone thought that it actually sounded cool, especially if you bend to an actual note.

I'm guessing it was originally frowned upon, which reminds me of those warnings on old amps about not turning up too loud to avoid feedback / distortion

Any way, I have no idea what the actual history of string bending is: Who first did it? Who popularised it? How was it originally used in music? What genre(s) of music was it first used in? etc.
__________________
...Or something
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-01-2019, 02:47 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 4,994
Default

Good question! It's obviously a blues thing, and I'd guess it started with instrumentalists imitating blues singers. Blues is a vocal music, and employs a scale which naturally bends the fixed notes of western music (it's a combination of African and European folk practices, beginning probably in the late 19th century).
Obviously when instruments play the blues, they try to imitate the voice. Pianists obviously can't do it, but horns (trumpets, saxes, etc) can, and guitars certainly can. In the earliest jazz and blues recordings you hear it being done.

It's not breaking any rules - it's following the rules of blues - and I doubt very much that someone discovered it by mistake and thought "hey that's cool". They were trying to sound like blues singers.
__________________
"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-01-2019, 10:34 PM
Arthur Blake Arthur Blake is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 986
Default

Here's one from 1926.

Go to 1:50



https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...ature=emb_logo
__________________
Martin OM-18 Authentic 1933 VTS (2016)
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-01-2019, 11:02 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 1,708
Default

I suspect the "between notes" aspect is based on those folk scales which may not be tempered like keyboard instruments, use microtones which divide up the octave into more steps, or may be based on degrees of "out of tuneness" sourness used for effect.

B. B. King, a master of finger vibrato said he learned to do it to copy his relative Bukka White's bottleneck slide-guitar playing. Slide playing in blues is another way to get those microtones.

Of course vibrato wasn't invented by American blues players (though most of us guitarists sure owe them a debt). String players, many who play fretless instruments have been using it for years. And besides voice, other folk instruments around the world allow it (sitars with raised frets for example).
__________________
Parlando - Where Music and Words Meet
-----------------------------------
20th Century Seagull S6-12, S6 Folk, Seagull M6
'00 Guild JF30-12, '01 Martin 00-15, '07 Parkwood PW510
Epiphone Biscuit resonator, Merlin Dulcimer, and various electric guitars, basses....
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-02-2019, 09:39 AM
davidbeinct davidbeinct is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 121
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
I suspect the "between notes" aspect is based on those folk scales which may not be tempered like keyboard instruments, use microtones which divide up the octave into more steps, or may be based on degrees of "out of tuneness" sourness used for effect.

B. B. King, a master of finger vibrato said he learned to do it to copy his relative Bukka White's bottleneck slide-guitar playing. Slide playing in blues is another way to get those microtones.

Of course vibrato wasn't invented by American blues players (though most of us guitarists sure owe them a debt). String players, many who play fretless instruments have been using it for years. And besides voice, other folk instruments around the world allow it (sitars with raised frets for example).
Vibrato has a long history but that stinging vibrato that goes perpendicular to the strings is certainly from the blues. If BB didnít invent it he was huge in popularizing it.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-02-2019, 01:04 PM
jseth jseth is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Oregon... "Heart of the Valley"...
Posts: 8,899
Default

I believe that both Eddie Lang and Django Reinhardt were bending strings in the 20's... Django, famously not on a blues tune... I think that both of these men were the ones who popularized string bending in a jazz format...
__________________
"You're quoting figures and dropping names,
you're telling stories and playing games.
You're over-laughing when things ain't funny;
you're acting like you don't need money.
If talk was criminal, you'd lead a life of crime;
because your mind is on vacation
and your mouth is working overtime..."

"Your Mind is on Vacation" (Mose Allison)
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-02-2019, 03:12 PM
agfsteve agfsteve is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Northeast Tennessee, USA
Posts: 733
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jseth View Post
I believe that both Eddie Lang and Django Reinhardt were bending strings in the 20's... Django, famously not on a blues tune... I think that both of these men were the ones who popularized string bending in a jazz format...
Actually, it was a video of Django Reihardt that someone posted on AGF the other day that made me wonder about the origins of string bending.

I know the history of blues singing goes back a lot longer than anything played on the guitar, and when guitarists started playing blues I'm sure they would have imitated that blues singing sound in their music, as JonPR said.

So as far as popularisation goes, I guess the answer is the early blues players. It's fascinating to imagine something going from not existing (or not being widely known) to becoming popular.
__________________
...Or something
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 01:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=