String-Bends are Like Hills . . .

By Phil Ockelford

When attempting/practising/emulating string bends, I like to visualise the whole thing as the profile of a hill (stick with me here). The lefthand base at the bottom of the ‘peak’ represents your starting point; the upward slope is the upward bend; the ‘peak’ is your target note, and its height is determined by how big a bend it is; the downward slope is the release of the bend; the righthand base of the slope represents where the bend drops down to (typically, the same as your starting point). Although classically a bend would result in a symmetrical-looking hill, we know that bends come in all shapes and sizes; you might have a gentle upslope followed by a sharp plummet, for example. Don’t forget, you can have just upward and downward bends without their reciprocal ‘slope’, so this is also worth bearing in mind. In the end, how you visualise it is up to you, but I know this particular method has helped me (and many of my students), so I hope it is of use to you.

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