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When first hearing the term “tenth” in music, it may seem baffling, but it’s simply a way to tell you that we have now jumped an octave over the initial eight notes of the scale. It’s really an interval in 3rd that now contains a note that is substituted by a higher or lower note, octave-wise. This is how a 2nd can become a 9th, for example. In this case, a 3rd becomes a 10th. This is just some basic theory dealing with the mathematical relationships of notes.
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This bending technique is often misunderstood due to the fact that some folks think an “overbend” is just that … a bend that goes too far! Well, actually, it’s almost always a step and a half, or three frets in length, and has been used for years by such legendary blues benders such as Eric Clapton, Otis Rush and Buddy Guy.
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This is a style and sound I first encountered while following the great Clarence White of The Byrds in the mid-to late ‘Sixties. Clarence, along with Gene Parsons, had invented the B-string bender. I did not realize that this was how he was getting his bending licks, so I simply started doing it with my fingers, emulating the more “mechanical” sound of the bender, and of pedal steel guitar, which is an instrument I was also starting to play at the time.
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The single most important aspect of all slide guitar playing is the ability with the right hand to block and damp successfully to cut out the unwanted notes and noises.
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As I’m sure you’ve been able to tell, standard tuning slide offers its own set of challenges and rules. Best of all, it also has some of the more unusual licks and positions to be achieved within slide guitar, and in this lesson we will address some of those ideas.
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