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Bending Licks for ‘Cascading’ Effect
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Bending Licks for ‘Cascading’ Effect

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.

This very hauntingly beautiful sound really captivated me, and these “cascading” licks are among the tougher of the “bender”-style licks to master. The reason for this is that most of the time the note must be “pre-bent” up to its proper pitch, and THEN released for that cascading effect.

This is a kind of bend that is perhaps more melodic then the usual bends that are intended to create a chord-like lick. The cascading runs are more single-note oriented, and often involve momentary dissonances that we normally would shy away from on the guitar.

Anyway, take it from me, it’s a great style, and I will show you the possibilities in more than a few interesting situations on the neck. The key to it all will be properly maintaining the bending pitches throughout all of the exercises. Good luck and have fun with it!—Arlen Roth

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Arlen Roth
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Arlen Roth

Music lesson pioneer Arlen Roth is the quintessential guitarist. An accomplished and brilliant musician — and one of the very few who can honestly say he’s done it all — Roth has, over the course of his celebrated 35-year career, played on the world’s grandest stages, accompanied many of the greatest figures in modern music and revolutionized the concept of teaching guitar. Read More...

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