It is definitely easier to bend strings on electric guitars than acoustic guitars, but it is an essential technique to learn on both the instruments if you want to make your guitar sound as expressive and soulful as a human voice. This article will shed some light on the factors that make it difficult to bend strings on acoustic guitars compared to electric guitars and share some tips to aid your learning process.

What are Guitar Bends?

Guitar bends are a series of guitar playing techniques that help in transitioning a note to a higher pitch while maintaining the continuity of the sound. The technique increases the pitch of a guitar without any spaces or gaps, just like singers do when they sing various notes without any intervals in between. A smooth transition is achieved between notes by pressing down on a string and pushing it up against the neck of the guitar while it is still sounding the initial note. This method of pushing the string above its normal position after it is plucked joins two notes and changes the root sound of a note to a higher pitch.1

Electric Guitar Bends vs Acoustic Guitar Bends

Thinner strings are easier to bend and thus make electric guitar string bending considerably easier. String gauge is the thickness of a string based on its diameter. The string gauges for guitars range between extra super light and heavy. The heavier the gauge, the thicker the string and vice versa. Strings with a heavier gauge are more difficult to bend as they are thicker and take a toll on the fingers during the learning stages and also require more finger and wrist strength.2

This makes acoustic guitar string bending more difficult compared to electric guitar bends as the former is usually fitted with strings that have a heavier gauge, making it harder to perform this technique on the instruments. It also means that it may not be possible to bend acoustic guitar strings as far as the lighter electric guitar strings.

Guitar Bending Tips for Learners 

Bending strings requires a certain degree of skill that can be easily cultivated through practice. Depending on finger strength and wrist mobility, the technique can be applied to all the strings using any finger.3 It is common for beginners to experience some blistering on the fingers when they learn how to do these techniques initially, but the skin gradually develops callouses and gets tougher, making it easier to push and bend the strings. So, it’s better to go slow initially to avoid injuring your fingers from over-practicing the techniques.

Here are some tips to help you get this technique on point faster.

  • Practice bending strings with the skin of your fingertip. Trim your nails to make sure you are able to make contact with the string with the tip of your fingers.2
  • Grip the neck of the guitar firmly with your thumb curling on top and around the neck when you bend a string. The support and control this grip provides initially is essential to be able to execute acoustic and electric guitar bending techniques effectively later on.
  • Push the string with more than one finger to add support. Use your index, second, and third fingers on the same string while practicing both electric and acoustic guitar bending techniques.
  • Remember to engage your wrist to push the strings as the majority of the force is applied from the wrist.4
  • Position your fingers at an angle with a slight curl to push the strings without letting them slip over your fingers.
  • Perfecting the techniques on an electric guitar first may reduce the difficulty when trying acoustic guitar bends.
  • Use a guitar tuner to assess the accuracy of the notes while practicing to determine your progress and skill.5

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1. Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH. (n.d.). Guitar bends. Steinberg.Help. Retrieved May 16, 2022, from,produces%20the%20characteristic%20pitch%20fluctuation.
2. Sandy, D. (2021, December 1). Why Are Electric Guitar Strings Easier To Bend? Sandy Music Lab. Retrieved May 16, 2022, from
3. Guitar Bend Technique Overview | Hub Guitar. (n.d.). Hub Guitar. Retrieved May 16, 2022, from
4. GuitarLessons365. (2010, January 29). Guitar Bends – Beginner Guitar Lesson [Video]. YouTube.
5. Using A Chromatic Tuner To Practice | Super Guitar Licks. (n.d.). Super Guitar Licks. Retrieved May 16, 2022, from