Oblique bends are played with two notes simultaneously: one string is bent up whilst another stays where it is, un-bent. Often heard in rock ‘n’ roll, blues-rock and country music, players such as Brent Mason (opens in new tab)and Brad Paisley (opens in new tab) often play oblique bends and Slash makes use of their lazy, drawling sound in solos from Sweet Child O’ Mine and Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.
The usual way to play these bends is to fret the upper note with your fourth finger and execute the bend with your third. However, it is difficult to bend the string with your third finger alone, so try adding your free fingers to the string for a heftier push.
1. Fret away
Fret two notes on adjacent strings.
Bend the string
Use either your second and third or third and fourth fingers to make the bend easier.
Southern rock bends
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Use your fourth finger to play the 15th fret and your third finger to play the 14th fret. As this will force your hand into quite a straight position on the neck, it is important to keep your first three fingers on the third string to spread the load of the bend across the hand.
Bend it like Brent Mason
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This pedal steel-inspired lick is inspired by country players like Brent Mason and is played in three positions on the neck, which will get you used to the various string tensions higher and lower on the guitar. Pay attention to bending the string in tune, which should be exactly a tone each time.