Last month we grabbed a piece
of David Grissom’s open-string magic,
but that’s only one part of his multi-faceted
6-string chicanery. He’s also adept at
ridiculous multi-string bending licks that
can sound like pedal-steel, B-bender, or a
certain Beatles solo.
“I can trace this whole sound back to ‘Got
to Get You into My Life,’” he says, referring
to the D-string bend that caps the two-bar
break. “That’s what made me want to play
guitar—that lick right there. When I was in
high school, I heard ‘Sweet Little Lisa’ by
Dave Edmunds that had Albert Lee playing
the guitar solo. I didn’t know that he
was using a B-bender. I spent a year learning
how to play that solo, trying to emulate
what he was doing.”
That bending boot camp served Grissom
well, because he can bend his brains out on
a floating-trem guitar strung with .011s. He
gets us started with Ex. 1, a cool Gsus move.
Get that half-step bend from B to C in tune
and hold it steady until the release in the
next bar. “A lot of that has to do with finger
strength,” he explains, “to have the strength to
pull the bend off but at the same time relax.”
Grissom goes on to play Ex. 2, a “Honky
Tonk Women”-approved set of moves with
a twist on the ending.
“It’s hard to keep them in tune when you
bend on the lower strings” says Grissom as he
nails Ex. 3, a similar phrase to Ex. 1 but with
a decidedly different flavor due to the register
of the bends. “Those moves get easier as
you get to the higher frets,” he offers.
“I’ve always loved these,” he says before
dishing out Ex. 4, a gorgeous descending
phrase that, as I was working it out, drew
several editors and art directors into my office
demanding to know how to play it. It ain’t
easy to execute the full-step G-string bend
with your first finger without also pulling on
the A and D strings, but it is well worth the
Don’t be a hero, though: Use a fixed-bridge
guitar with extra-light strings. These
moves can hurt if you’re not used to them.
Start slowly and always be brutally honest
about your intonation. Bending rules!
This lesson was transcribed with a Godin Freeway SA, a Roland GI-20, and Sibelius 6 software.