Lead Guitar Lesson 3 - String Bending and Song 3

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In this video

Welcome to day 3 of this free 10 day lead guitar challenge!

In this lesson, we'll look at how to do string bending on electric guitar with the correct technique. String bending is one of the coolest and most expressive techniques on guitar - but most people learn it wrong! This not only causes your bends to sound out of tune but can also lead to pain and even injury, so we need to check you're doing it right!

There are also different kinds of string bend techniques that we can learn. One of these is featured in Day 10 of this series, so be sure to get this basic technique correct using the video above!

Lead part neck diagrams

In the fretboard diagram below are all the notes featured in the solo. This is all played on string 3, with the whole tone bend of the E note to the F# note - fret 9 up to fret 11.

OR, this version with the B note moved to 9th fret of the 4th string instead, which is completely fine to do. This is more useful if the slide, as shown later on, needs some work or we want to have different positional options!

Firstly, these three notes on string 3 are repeated three times round. Pick with the first finger on the 4th fret and slide up to the 7th fret (and pick if needed for extra sustain) and then pick the 9th fret note.

We can now look at the bend. The video will be the best aid to getting the bend correct as it is easier to see than to read how to actually do it!

Then, we play the E note a second time to start the bend of the string up to the F# note. The order of which notes are picked and when, will help this solo be smooth and sound the same as in the video.

  • Pick 9th fret of the G string/string 3 (E note)

  • Bend up to 11th fret (F# note) without picking again at the top of the bend

  • Release back down and pick the 9th fret E note again

  • Then, back down to pick 7th fret (D note) and finish the phrase

String bending - key technique points

  • Thumb over the top of the neck, fingers on an angle

  • Support 3rd finger bends with fingers 1 and 2

  • Bend by twisting the wrist - keep your fingers STILL!

Guitar tone - key points

  • Try adding reverb - Hall, Cathedral, Plate and spring are common types

  • Also, some of a Chorus effect to the guitar, which is a key part of Kurt Cobain's solo sound


String bending is a really challenging technique when you first attempt it, but definitely give it time as it is the electric guitar's secret weapon for great lead guitar expression. Just remember:

  • Good technique is important! Thumb and fingers support, fingers on an angle and let the wrist help

  • If you struggle with the bends in any situation, remember you can slide up however many frets the bend would be to reach the same note!

If you have completed this lesson, then try Day 4 for more lead guitar challenges and a great song in store. See you there!

'Come As You Are' - learn the riff!

Want to learn the main riff of this song? Here's my full tutorial!

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More easy Nirvana solos

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Next Up: Lead Guitar Lesson 4 - G Major Scale and Song 4

Well done! Let's jump into the next lesson of the course.

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