View Full Version : Bending Notes
Are there any string brands that I can get that will make it easier for me to bend notes? What might they be?
Usually the smaller the guage the easier it is to bend. And then for the wound strings I like to use the silk because it sounds a little smoother when bending but that is just personal pref.
Just go as light as you can in string gauge, without losing decent tone. I don't bend strings on my mandolin because I like the tone of strings that are too heavy to bend easily. I just substitute slides where I'd use a bend on guitar.
I do sometimes bend strings on my 4 string acoustic-electric mandola, where I'm not fighting double course strings. The slightly longer scale probably helps there too.
True, I suppose, that lighter gauge strings are easier to bend, but listen to a guy like Alan Bibey, the late John Duffey or Tim O'Brien. They bend often, and I know that Alan uses the J-74 type string. There's a knack to do it, and once you get it, it's easy.
Grisman uses string bending to get a very nice vibrato effect. It's quite clear on a number of cuts from "Tone Poems". It's pretty subtle, not like bending a note a couple of half tones on electric guitar. Far as I know, he uses fairly heavy strings on his mandolins (J-74's?). If you're looking for string bending that's more guitaristic, go with lighter strings as recommended and consider using a 4or 5 string elelctric mandolin. Single strings are much easier on the fingers.
I bend whatever's on the instrument, Lighter gauges bend more easily but, It's not like I'm trying to get a 2 note stretch out of them. J-75 are on right now and they are a bit stiff but, again, how far do you want to bend?
I've never been able to apply bends of more than 1/2 step with mandolin, as it whacks the unison strings out of tune. The most I'll do is pull a note a little sharp and release it back, or maybe a little vibrato to extend a note a bit. To be honest I don't miss bends, and can do most of what I want to do with slides. :mandosmiley: . I couldn't imagine changing strings for one effect, although I did switch back to round wounds so pull offs and hammer ons would be easier. I do miss slides on flats though.
I like to bend the note at the end of a some solos (for comic effect), usually something fast, like "Rawhide"
After 20 years of playing, wear in frets under the plain strings, they don't bend so well ,
uphill from those notches.
Yep, Im a chronic bender and can attest to the fact that anything more than a tad will result in one of the strings sounding outta tune. I bend up on all but the G which I bend down. For me its something I mostly do without thinking "bend those notes". How to make it easier...hummm...keep at it I guess. Lights are easier but its not by much and easier to over do it also.