Today I have the first of hopefully many contributions from the very talented David Escobar, a lesson on Zakk Wylde style bends using the song “Mama I’m Coming Home” from Ozzy Osbourne’s 1991 release “No More Tears”. Below is a video performance by David of the full solo with on screen tabs of the entire Zakk Wylde solo and then below David breaks down Zakk’s technique with a couple of TAB examples.
Here we are now, ready to explore the bending techniques used by Zakk Wylde in the solo of Mama, I’m Coming Home, third song from the record No More Tears. Guitar Tuning down a half step, low to high (Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb)
But first let`s talk about support, when bending always support the finger that is doing the job, if you are bending with your second finger, place your first finger behind it grabbing the same string, so you have twice as much force to perform the bend; if you are using your third finger, stack fingers 1 and 2 behind it. The only finger that performs bends by itself is your first finger, since there aren`t fingers behind it to support it. This will not only help your bends be more accurate, you will be able to prevent injuries as well. This principle also applies to vibrato (especially if you’re going after a wide vibrato, like Mr. Wylde uses).
Fig. 1. 0:10
After a couple of fretted notes we get our first bend, (D string (16th fret) here the pitch goes up almost a whole step (2 frets) but when F# is almost bent all the way up to G# the right hand mutes all the strings. It`s very important not to released the bend before the right hand mutes everything so that the pitch only goes up.
In the second part you perform what is called a double stop bend. With your pinky fixed on the second string 17th fret, you’re going to bend with your third finger on the third string 16th a whole step (remember first and second fingers should be placed on the third string as well, giving support to the bend).
Fig. 2 0:29
These two bends on the second string have a couple of things that make them “cry” a little louder, first, they both have a rake before, in order to perform this rake your right hand should be muting strings G through low E, second, they are not both bends, the first is a quick bend and release, but the second is actually a pre-bend and release (In a pre-bend you bend the note before plucking the string, so the pitch only goes down) so while your right hand is sweeping through the muted strings you bend up on the 19th fret.
Fig 2 0:34
The final part of the solo is a clever way to use bends, here you bend up the first string with your third finger one whole step and then you grab the next string with the same finger releasing the bend, so basically you’re going up one string and down another one. I find one key for this technique is the way you mute the string you initially bent up, as soon as you grab the second string you can use your right hand fingers to dampen the first string and preventing it from (I use my middle finger for this).
To check out more of David Escobar’s solo transcriptions head over to his YouTube channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/DavidIEscobar