Albert Lee on chord bends

A video on country bends that emulate the sound of a lap steel guitar

Image 1 of 3 Albert Lee on chord bends
Albert Lee creates a lap-steel type effect from bending strings within chords
Image 2 of 3 Albert Lee on chord bends
Example 1 – Bending on the third string: This is a great example to play over static chords when you need to add some country embellishment. Try moving it around the neck so you can fit it over other chords.
Image 3 of 3 Albert Lee on chord bends
Example 2 – First finger bending: In between the bends, Albert sticks to easy B major pentatonic shapes that use fingers one and three. This means he can quickly and easily slide between shapes without having to make any awkward finger changes.
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Although Albert prefers not to do as many bends these days because of his thicker gauge strings, he still manages to run through a few of his select favourites.

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The idea behind a lot of country bends is to mimic the sound of a lap steel or B bender guitar (Albert explains the B bender in the video), where chords seem to fly up and down effortlessly.

The first example bends the third string from perfect 5th to major 6th. The fourth string bend also creates a sus4 sound by moving from major 3rd to perfect 4th. The difficulty is keeping the chord completely in tune while the bend is being executed. If you have a hard tail guitar, you'll need to make sure the other strings in the chord are completely still whilst bending.

However, if your guitar has a vibrato bridge you may find that when bending, the increased tension of the bent string will pull on the springs of the vibrato unit and make the rest of the chord slightly flat. The real skill is being able to be able to compensate for this by bending the chordal strings very, very slightly as well. Use your ears and make sure that every note is spot on.

The second example starts off with a lick that should be familiar to Zakk Wylde fans. The main difficulty here is bending with your first finger, since you'll need to slide down with this finger for the next part of the lick.

It does require strength and control, which will only come from repeated practice. It's worth persevering with the first finger though, as it can help you get into more inaccessible areas of the neck.

To start with, you might like to try it a whole octave higher, to make the bend a little easier.

For more information visit Albert Lee's official website.