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How to Overbend Notes on Heavy Metal Guitar

Let musician Alex Skolnick teach you how to play overbend notes on guitar in this heavy metal guitar lesson from Howcast.


Let's talk about over bending. Any time you bend a whole note it's a two fret bend. Any time you bend a half step it's a one fret bend. An over bend is a little less defined. With an over bend you want to go pretty much as high as you can go. The final pitch is not as defined as the one fret or two fret bend. The note is rarely held. We can't really hold onto the note that long. You have to be careful, because you can break strings. Probably more string breakage occurs with over bend than anything else.

There are several guitar players that come to mind when I think of over bends. One of the first over benders I heard, if I can say over bender, was Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin. So, I'm going to do an over bend based on Jimmy Page. The note is here. This is the G. Normally, if you're on this fret you're going to do a whole note bend which is going to be here, alright, or here. But, the bend I'm doing right now I'm actually going for this note. Alright, so that's two scale tones higher. I may not actually get there, but for a fraction of a second I'm going to be close enough, so it sounds like I'm getting there.

OK. So, very quickly, I was close enough to that note to make it work.

Van Halen would do a lot of bends like that as well. Another guy that comes to mind with over bends is Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd. So, here I'm going to do a bend where I go up to the tenth fret. I'm starting from this note, I'm starting on the thirteenth fret. Normally that's a typical two fret bend. But, I'm going to reach up to the next scale tone. Check it out.

Alright. So, just for a split second I'm way up there in the stratosphere. The same basic idea. Let me try moving that around. I'm going to play that on different strings and on different frets.

Luckily, I didn't break any strings. And that's our lesson on over bending. Enjoy.

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