Need help with bending technique.

Discussion in 'General Music & Guitar Learning' started by StephenSlotten, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. StephenSlotten

    StephenSlotten Blues Newbie

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    Hi everyone. I've been working on the songs in Blues Gig in a Box. As I'm working through the riffs I've noticed I'm blistering my third finger quickly each session with all the bends (feels like a blister beneath the callus, not on the surface), and it hurts so much that I have to stop playing :(

    I am not a beginner; I have calluses. I use 10 gauge strings, S-type guitar, jumbo frets, and the only thing I can think of is there's something in my bending technique that is causing my finger to "slide" over the string as I bend, causing blistering. I noticed as I sit I tilt the top of the guitar towards me, so I can slightly see the fretboard. If I angle the guitar more straight up, I notice my fingertip "catches" the string better and this helps, but does not cure the issue completely. I've checked my action, making sure the strings aren't too low.

    Any advice? Thanks!

    (Maybe I just don't have the strength and calluses I think I do. I had a major problem with bending and pushing my fingers under the strings above the one being bent. I've cured that; I try to watch Griff and bend the way he does, but it hurts, lol)

    Steve
     
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  2. MikeS

    MikeS Moderator... Another Man In Black.
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    Only things I can think of are:
    -you may be pressing down too hard instead of sliding up and just pressing enough to engage the fret.
    - if your callouses are old and from playing acoustic, the bending could put extra strain on the tissue and that might create a blister under your existing callouses.

    A tip (that comes too late) is that you should never practice so much that you blister. it just delays everything.
     
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  3. Elwood

    Elwood blues nut

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    Steve,

    My fingers get more sore from trying bends on a very nice tele than they do on my acoustics (I saw Griff on an AAP session saying he was sore from playing the acoustic and he bends like crazy on various electrics). One thing I'm trying is to use a nearby finger to help with the bend. Sort of doing a two finger bend. If I'm having a good day, I can also get a bit of muting to occur also, killing unwanted sounds from the nearby strings as I bend. I'm sure nobody to tout my success with bending, but I have observed players doing this, and that's what I'm working on. Especially with those full tone (or better) bends. Maybe one other thing would be to try to plan your note structure so the bend occurs in the most flexible area of the string on the neck.
    If you make a breakthough on this I would sure like to hear what works for you. Good luck!

    Steve
     
  4. david moon

    david moon Attempting the Blues

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    I've never had (or heard of) a "blister under a callus" so have no specific advice. There's nothing wrong with using a second finger to help with the bend.
     
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  5. luckylarry

    luckylarry Student Of The Blues

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    just guessing here but maybe it is over work on the finger. Perhaps using other fingers equally on the bends or as above, use 2 or 3 fingers so the bend isn't as difficult. No experience with this problem so i am just guessing.
     
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  6. Elwood

    Elwood blues nut

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    I don't know whether the chicken came first, or the egg. I have had the whole shootin match come off though. A fingertip that I thought was calloused come off enough to flap around and have to tear it off to keep going. Unpleasant. Leads to creative fingering and very conservative note selection to finish up, and continue playing until healed up. Might have started with some fluid under there? Nothing to do with bending though. Since Steve has options, I believe exploring them is vastly preferable.
    Bending those skinny strings stings for me, and I back off as need be. Hoping it will get better if I do.
    And Steve, I'm using 10s too. Tried 9s and 9.5s, didn't like the feel, and/or the balance (volume - tone - output) between the six strings, I know lots of great players use 9s, I just don't seem to like 'em. Even if I messed with pickup ht. adjustment I still would have the feel I don't like. Everybody's different though.
     
  7. Elio

    Elio Student Of The Blues

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    I have had the same finger tip become pretty sensitive and painful after many attempts to practice something with a lot of deep bends. Taking a break for a day or so before coming back to it seems to help.
     
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  8. StephenSlotten

    StephenSlotten Blues Newbie

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    Thank you for the replies!
     
  9. cowboy

    cowboy Blues & BBQ

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    the third finger (bending) and the first finger (vibratro) seem to take the brunt of playing...I'd give it a rest for a couple of days and then limit the amount of time spent on bending...and break it up into shorter sessions...I've had kinda the same problem when I geared up for a gig...my hands were killing me for a while but it slowly resolved itself...later.

    cowboy
     
  10. david moon

    david moon Attempting the Blues

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    Has anyone else had the problem- if you do have callusses, they become painful in cold weather.
     
  11. StephenSlotten

    StephenSlotten Blues Newbie

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    Thanks for all the advice.

    I had an epiphany this week. Remember when I said I felt like my fingers were "sliding" over the string when bending? Well, I was playing on another guitar of mine and I was having no problems. I realized that particular guitar had different strings than my others. I've been using Elixer strings on all my guitars for a long time; the strings that have a slick coating on them. I'm wondering if that's the issue! I'll report back.