Bends slowing me down a bit, but moving forward

I’ve gone and done it again. I’ve fixated on a technique and focused on fine tuning it instead of memorizing the song. But, I guess that’s not really wrong, it just means I’ve overestimated how quickly I can learn this song properly.

I’ve worked with bends plenty on guitar, but hardly at all on ukulele, and while they’re not different exactly, the differences in string tension and action have made me feel a bit like I’m starting over. I’ve also never worked on the ‘release’ part of the bend, where you’re producing two distinct notes in one bend. It’s not that this is difficult in and of itself, but getting both of my hands on time with one another, consistently, for the duration of the bend and release, seems to require a bit more control.  It’s not that I can’t do it. It’s that doing it consistently without losing time or screwing up the pacing of the song, has proven that I’m going to have to plug away at that riff for a little while until I can do it without actively thinking about my hands.

I have a bad habit of plucking at the same time as I begin the bend. This isn’t quite right.  The pluck has to happen just a split second before the bend, or you end up with a clunky sort of…well, let’s just say it sounds pretty crap. Then, if you extend the bend too long, there’s not enough sustain for the release. Bend it too short, and you don’t notice the individual notes. So it’s not a complicated technique, but one that requires a bit of timing.

Right now, I’m working on getting it down without thinking about it too much. In my head, it’s still divided into steps. Sure, the steps happen in quick succession, but I am still telling myself, ‘this first, this second, this third’ to avoid things getting muddy. This works out pretty well on my Ibanez uke, but on my others, a bit more control is required. My Ibanez has remarkably low action for an ukulele. On the others, I tend to accidentally cause the string above to ring out a bit.

So, I haven’t JUST been doodling for the other blog. Things are coming along, little by little.

Until Next Time, not getting bent out of shape over bends.

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