Straight into some more bends this month. Let’s continue on where we left off with a couple of typical A Minor Pentatonic licks.
Figure A starts and finishes with minim whole tone bends. These take strength to ensure the correct pitch is reached, and held for two beats. These would usually be played as ‘reinforced’ bends also using the third and second fingers on your left hand to add strength. Hold the first bend for two beats, then we have semi quavers (counted 3e+a, 4e+a) leading to a phrase in the last bar of 1e+ tied to beat 2 before then holding the last bend for another two beats (3 4).
Figure B again utilises A Minor Pentatonic starting with a repeated 3 note phrase. A reinforced whole tone bend from D in the 7th fret on the 3rd string is followed by E and A across the second and first strings (you can barre your first finger for these). The second bar features a descending phrase before jumping back up to G on the second string for two more tone bends. Think Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton etc for these first two examples but of course they could be applied to a range of styles (not just rock/blues).
Figure C uses the G Minor Pentatonic scale (G-Bb-C-D-F) ascending up the high e string. Again taking a repeating 3 note grouping the phrase starts with a bend from a tone below the target note (F in bar one) on the second string. The F note is bent up to G followed by two fretted G notes on the first string. This group of three is then repeated with a group of two (just a bend and one fretted note) at the end of the bar. Whilst it is in 4/4 this phrase can also be heard and felt as 123-123-12. The lick then continues up this pattern through the rest of the notes of G Minor Pentatonic (Bb-C-D-F) before finishing with a single whole tone bend from F up to G in the last bar.
It’s important to add that the starting note we bend from for Bars two and five (Ab and Eb) don’t actually belong to G Minor Pentatonic but as they are bent so quickly the initial pitch we are bending from is barely heard. This keeps the lick consistent but of course if the bends were slower or the sound more prominent we’d rework these to fit.
The premise of this lick is then that it sounds like a repeated quaver sound moving through G Minor Pentatonic and gives us the sound of three of the same pitch in a row – but, it is broken up by the first of each group being a bend.
We’ll get into some more bends and variations next month but remember to listen to yourself when practicing these. Pitch is super important and typically needs to be precise. Reinforcing bends with your third finger in these examples helps with control and speed, especially with faster phrases or having to hold bends for longer durations.
Revisit last month's guitar lesson here.