Bending into above strings?

When I try to bend the high E string, I always end up having trouble with hitting the B string. It’s very hard to get “under” the B string as I bend the E string upward. I sometimes have this same issue on lower strings as well but it’s most evident (and most frustrating) when bending the E.

Am I missing something obvious that would make this easier? Should I use my pointer finger to “dig” under the B string as I bend the E up with middle/ring fingers?

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This might not help, but there’s a bit of an art to this.
You have to know how much pressure to apply, to bend the string in a way that doesn’t make the string below sound. Bending under the string below doesn’t seem the right way to do it I always thought.

I still have trouble after 30 years of playing on and off, especially if I’ve got low action, with higher action you’ve got room to go under the B string and bending is achievable without worrying about it. With low action though, it’s a subtle thing that you have to develop in your finger to have the control to make the bend in a controlled way I would say.


Hey, I am a bit confused by the question!

Why would you want to go “under” the other string? Usually the other strings get grabbed together with the one you are bending, like so:


You will want to grab the two strings on either side of your bend to make sure they are muted or in the case of high E, the B and the G. I use my ring finger to bend at the fret and back it up with my middle finger. I drape my pointer finger across the DGBE group of strings so that only my bend rings out or whatever 3 strings are adjacent to whichever I’m bending.

It was a bit tricky to learn but now I get nice clean bends every time.


Assuming a bend with the ring finger, use the index behind to kind of “collect” the strings that you want muted that you are bending into usually the b and g. See Tommo’s pic. Trying to bend under the strings leads to unnecessary sting noise. This is actually what makes heavier strings harder to bend you aren’t just bending the high e but the b and g as well slightly. Bend from the wrist always, think rotational like opening a door knob. Finger bends have next to no control. Use the lightest gauge strings you need in accordance with tuning/tension that give you the best control. Clean/polished frets add in bending ease, nano coated strings as well ex: D’addario XT or Elixir nano/polyweb.

My basic form is a lot like @tommo’s photo, but I also like my action a little bit higher than many shredders do, specifically so that on bends the adjacent strings are pushed away by a part of my fingertip that’s only a couple of millimeters away from the crevice of the fingernail. Actually getting strings in the nail crevice would suck, but being a little close to the crevice reliably deadens the adjacent strings, and makes me feel like I have more leverage for pushing them away (and don’t have to worry about them “slipping” off the fingertip as the tension increases).

Edit, I couldn’t get quite close enough to really zoom in on what I meant about distance from the nail crevice, but maybe something still comes through in these photos. Note also that finding the most comfortable action height for this will vary depending on the size/shape of your fingers (and of course for any given setup, the action is lower as you get closer to the nut).

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that birdseye neck is a beaut!

Anything to distract people from my playing! :wink:

I do feel lucky to have snagged this one though. The lighting in those photos doesn’t even do it full justice. It’s a Peavey Wolfgang from the “Pat. Pend.” period, bought new in western Canada in 1998.

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I’m having issues with this at the moment.

I pick with forearm and wrist with the side of the palm resting on the bridge.
I feel with that resting point, it’s not enough to mute lower strings than the one I’m bending or using vibrato on.
I try using the index finger to mute strings higher and lower than the one I’m bending or using vibrato on but it doesn’t help with noise.

Should I just learn to move the picking hand forward at the end of phrases to mute the lower strings a bit more heavily?
Or use a combination of index finger muting higher and lower strings and moving the right hand forward?

Can you post a video demonstrating the problem?

Offhand, for noise involving strings “bassward” from the bend, my first instinct would be to look for solutions with the picking hand. Depending on the size of your hands, sometimes hooking the thumb over the top of the neck can provide some extra string damping as well.

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Thanks! I’m actually working on that now.

What I’m doing is moving the picking hand forward a bit when pausing for a bend or vibrato.
I find if I try use the index finger to help mute the strings lower in pitch, I lose the support of that finger and it doesn’t stop the noise from hitting off adjacent strings with wide vibrato or bends.

So seems it may just be a case of getting used to moving the hand forward and finding the sweet spot where I can get things as clean as I can.