How to bend on a ukulele

Bending strings of a ukulele creates a soulful sliding effect and allow it to move seamlessly between two nearby notes. Playing bend is easy and enjoyable for professionals but it can be a bit difficult for beginners.

So, how to bend on a ukulele? The very first thing you have to learn is the perfect hand positioning for string bending.

Perfect Hand Positioning for String Bending:

Bending is simple to do but it could be difficult to perform if you are doing it with the wrong technique. To bend strings perfectly follow these instructions below:

  1. Put your thumb around the ukulele’s neck near the fret you want to play.
  2. Use your ring finger on the fret you want to play and then use your middle and index finger behind it on the same strings for getting leverage.
  3. Pluck the fretted string and rotate your wrist to bend the string. Using the wrist along with fingers helps to bend easily.
  4. Follow the tab instruction for perfect bending length and duration. 

How to Perform Bend on Ukulele with Tablature: 

There are a couple of different bends that can be performed on a ukulele. These are pre-bend, bend, and bend & release. Let’s know these individual ones.

Bend 

To perform bend with a tab, you have to bend the string that is shown on a tab but how much to bend? It actually depends on the number behind the bend symbol. For example 5b7. To perform this you have to pluck shown string and then bent the 5th fret to 2 strings upward. Here, the 5th fret’s 2 strings up sound alike the 7th fret note. 

Bend and Release 

Similar to the previous, to perform bend you have to do the exact same things but after bending the string, you must come back to the normal position for releasing. For example: If the tablature shows “5b7r5”, you have to bend the 5th fret to 2 strings up and come back to normal position instantly to get that releasing melody. 

Pre-Bend

To perform pre-bend, you have to bend the fret you want to play and then you have to pluck the strings. In tablature, the pre-bend is marked as ‘p’ and the release is symbolized as ‘r’. You have to bend the release number’s fret and bend it one or two strings up depend on instruction. For example, the tab shows to play “pb7r5”: you have to bend 5th string to 2 string up then pluck.  

Common Mistakes on Ukulele Bend

One finger bending

Most of the beginner’s ukulele players made a common mistake while performing the bend is “Bending with one finger”. To perform a perfect string bend you have to use the other two fingers at the back of the tapped finger so that you can support the tapped finger while bending.

Bending with finger pressure only 

Another common mistake on ukulele string bending is “Not using the wrist while bending”. It’s difficult to manage to bend using only finger pressure. Not only it’s difficult but also it tunes badly too. So, how to bend on a ukulele perfectly? Bending the wrist while bending strings gives additional force on fingers and that makes the process easier. Using wrist along with finger pressure helps to create more accurate bending notes.

Wrong Finger Positioning

Finger positioning is so important while performing string bending. The wrong finger positioning is so common in beginners. To know how to bend on a ukulele with right-hand positioning. Switch back to the top of this article. We discussed it before.

Using Less Pressure While Tapping

Most of the noobs put low pressure on fret while plucking strings and that’s why their tunes sound not so good. To perform the ukulele bend, you have to tap the indicated fret using suitable pressure and then lift up or down for bending effect in tunes.

Slow Finger Movement

If your finger is not prompt then it can be a problem while using a strings instrument. For playing the perfect bend notes on the ukulele you have to make sure your finger movement is fast enough. If not? Then practice moving your finger faster.

Bend on a ukulele with Other Articulation 

  • Bend up then vibrato 
  • Hammer-on then bend
  • Bend and pull-off
  • Bend with Artificial Harmonics
  • Slide strings then bend and more. 

Hope you get to know how to bend on a ukulele. Want to know more about tabs and playing methods? Read “How to Read Ukulele Tabs”.

Have any questions? Feel free to comment below!

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