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Basically, every string on my guitar is kinda easy to do a full bend on, except for the high e string, where if I bend it as much as I can, it still sounds flat. I was wondering what I should do, whether I should get a new E string, should I lower/raise the action etc. I'd rather not get a new string, because I have to replace it so often, and I'm gonna change the pegs next time I switch strings.

  • What guitar is it? What gauge strings are on it? Why do you have to replace it so often? All important points that will help find answers. – Tim Nov 28 '15 at 8:35
  • Be sure there are no sharp edges on your bridge or saddle that could be causing your string to break. – Rockin Cowboy Nov 28 '15 at 18:43
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How hard a string is to bend depends on its tension. The only way to make the high E easier to bend is to use a lighter gauge. Raising or lowering the action will do nothing.

If you currently use a .010 try a 0.009. The downside is that it is more likely to snap and won't last as long.

The other option is just keep practicing, and your fingers will get stronger over time.

You did use one phrase which is puzzling, "bend it as much as I can, it still sounds flat." What does this mean? I typically can bend my E string up at least 3 semitones, so I can decide how sharp or flat I want it to be.

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  • I've used .008 for top string for many years, and yes, they're much more bendable. Can't remember the last one that broke through bending, though. And they seem to last well enough. – Tim Nov 27 '15 at 19:18
  • That's pretty good. I tried 8's but went through them way too fast (one a month or so) Now I use 9's and 10's as they last a lot longer. I do a lot of bends though. – Doktor Mayhem Nov 27 '15 at 19:22
  • At that time, I was changing strings about every 6-8 gigs, so the sound was always fresh. So maybe it's not a fair comparison. – Tim Nov 27 '15 at 20:12
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    Seems reasonable. To keep going higher, just push through the B – Doktor Mayhem Nov 27 '15 at 20:59
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    Yep - it's tension that is the issue. Remember, you can push the E right through the B and beyond. You just need the strength to push 2 or even 3 strings – Doktor Mayhem Nov 27 '15 at 21:12
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Adding to Dr Mayhem's answer, it's usually better to bend a string using more than one finger. Not always possible, but when you can, use the other fingers to help push or pull the string to be bent. On top string, it's going to be a push rather than a pull.

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The only reason I could think of that could stop you from doing a full bend is improper technique, such as:

  • Using your fingers instead of your wrist to bend: Your wrist has a lot more power than your fingers - to bend you should "lock" your fingers on the string, put your thumb over the neck (this will make it easier, but everybody should be able to do it without the thumb) and rotate your wrist.
  • Not using enough fingers to bend: The more fingers you have on the string, the stronger the grip and the easier it will be to bend the string.
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