I know that I’m usually the first person to say, “Don’t bend with your first finger, that just doesn’t feel good and it’s hard.”

That hasn’t really changed, but there *are* certain times when your first finger is going to be called upon to push some steel – and this is that time.

These are a couple of Albert King-ish moves that tend to require the first finger if you want them to sound just right.

So take a deep breath, say you’re sorry to your index finger… and let’s dig in 🙂


    10 replies to "First Finger Bends!"

    • Mike

      Bending with your second finger is just plain rude.

    • ken

      I WONDER IF YOU ARE AN AMP SALESMAN. THERE ARE NUFF BEHIND YOU. YOU ALWAYS HAVE SUCH NICE EXPENSIVE GUITARS.I’M POOR SO I HAVE HAD TO MAKE MY OWN SINCE 1956. NOW THAT I’VE PAST 77 THE FINGERS AND HANDS NO LONGER WORK AS THEY SHOULD.MY PLAYING IS LIMITED. I LIKE TO WATCH THE VIDEOS THOUGH. BOUGHT YOUR BLUES GUITAR UNLEASHED. INTERESTING NOTE I TOOK MUSIC WHEN BRAD PITT STUDIED AT SOUTH WEST MO. STATE U IN SPRINGFIELD MO. HE WAAS DOING PHOTO ADS FOR THE PAPERS SELLING CLOTHES. ASKED IF HE WAS THE GUY IN THE PAPERS HE JUST SMILED AND NODED. HE KNEW BOTH OF MY SONS.( THEY WERE MUSIC MAJORS AT THE TIME HE WAS THERE), PAMALA TIFFIN WAS A STUDENT AT BLUE ISLAND COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL, RODE THE SAME BUS WITH ME. SHE WAS KNOWN AS PEPPY WANSO.FUNNY NO PICTURES OF HER IN OUR YEAR BOOKS. SHE WAS MODELING IN NEW YORK AS A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT. SHE STILL LIVES THERE. SMALL WORLD

    • Adam Wilson

      Is there tab for all this if you will

    • Alexander Aliganga

      Great lesson it’s great to see the technique behind that move.
      Thanks Griff 🎸

    • Chris G

      I got a couple of things out of this video today. Firstly, Ernie Ball Regular Slinky’s – been using them since forever. On both acoustic and electric; heavy enough to get reasonably good sustain but not so light that they rattle, which I find that Super Slinky’s do. And secondly, thanks to having taken advantage of the cut-price deal that Griff set up with Song Surgeon, I’ve recently gone back to the 4-Note Solo, and therefore been doing a fair bit of half-step bending with the first finger. Maybe now I’ll get brave and try the whole-step bend, but I’m glad I don’t use those barbed-wire heavy strings that SRV used – man, he must have had calluses an inch thick.
      Thanks Griff.

    • Spencer Hall

      Albert King was a BIG man with BIG hands, and yes he was left handed and his guitar was strung right handed, so he’d pull the e string, not push it, as I noticed decades ago when I had the pleasure of seeing him live decades ago in a small club in St. Paul Minnesota. I pull my g string frequently and it’s much easier than pushing it!

    • tony

      Yup the first finger is tender as to the third. I will have to try this bending. Sounds cool and I like Animal .

    • Ian Richardson

      I can bend a half tone with the first finger quite easily in the middle neck positions. A whole tone i can get…sometimes, so I tend to avoid that one. More than that? No. There are some players can. But this is where Albert King using his upside down guitar made it easy for himself, because he only has to pull down on the strings. Which is far easier than pushing up. So his big bends weren’t an issue for him. Also as we know he had some odd tunings so some of his strings may well have been de-tuned and looser than standard, or even half a tone down. I’m de-tuned a half step most of the time because I likes it, and bending is a bit easier as well. As far as I know he never used the 6th string either. I did once restring a guitar “upside down” just to see what happened…total confusion..! And as for playing chords…..But I guess if you started out that way It’d just be normal to you.
      If you can learn to bend with the first finger though it does open some doors for you.

    • Robert Harry

      When taking that progression of bends up the chromatic scale, a la SRV, is there a reason you wouldn’t drop your 3rd finger down after using 1 and 2? As opposed to moving up the frets and bending with 2nd finger?

    • Darryl Manire

      Hi.. still not digging new video format,logo/words, makes pic. To small,as far as what you said,I like,but I would only do half step bends,baby finger never,ok!!going back to being invisible,bye

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