Say in two different scenarios you want to bend a b up to a c# on the 3rd string but use strings of different tension. Do you have to bend different lengths on the fret board? Will it take the same amount of force?

Sorry if this sounds more like a physics question.

  • I don't know the math, but with heavier strings you need more force, though bend less distance - or it always feels that way to me. – Tetsujin May 10 '17 at 16:48
  • Wound strings have to be bent farther than plain strings. I don't know why, but I've played electric with both wound and plain G strings, and the wound one I could not at all play unison bends on because I had to bend it so far to get a full step that I couldn't keep my first finger on the B string. I switched to a plain string with about the same gauge (tension for the note) and it was just as easy to bend as any other plain string. – Todd Wilcox May 11 '17 at 0:04

To a first order of approximation, and assuming that the two different strings are the same material and construction (i.e. not one plain steel, the other wound), then they will require the same amount of deflection to bend the pitch same amount. As others have noted, heavier strings will require more force to get the same pitch change; but the length of deflection is (nominally) the same.


I've just increased the gauge of my strings (10s to 11s) and it is harder to bend a string. However your fingers will get stronger. That is why it is better to start of with a thin gauge such as 9s just to build the strength in fingers. Hope this helped! 😄😄


Not sure about the string length while bending, but you definitely need more force when bending heavier strings. This is one of the reasons why heavier strings are recommended for some tremolo systems - they hold the tuning more firmly.

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